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How to Cook a Steak on Your Charcoal Grill

by Staff Writer

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A delicious steak cooked on a charcoal grill

Things You Need:

  • Charcoal grill
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Grilling tongs
  • Lighter fluid
  • Salt, pepper and olive oil

A charcoal grill may take a bit more effort than a gas grill, but for fans of the charcoal flavor, the work is worth it. Follow these steps to consistently cook delicious steaks on your charcoal grill.

Charcoal-grilled Steaks:

  1. Get everything ready first. It's best to have all the meat, BBQ accessories and seasonings ready and near your BBQ grill, so you don't have to run back to the kitchen for anything. Leaving an outdoor grill unattended can be dangerous, so make sure you're ready to cook before you start.

  2. Heat the charcoal. Pile charcoal briquettes in your charcoal grill and light them using lighter fluid and matches or a lighter. Close the lid, open the vent and let the coals heat up. While the charcoal grill is heating up, get your steaks out and allow them warm up to room temperature. They will cook much more evenly when the internal temperature of the meat is even.

  3. Prepare the steaks for grilling. Pat them dry with a paper towel and brush some olive oil on each side. Season them with salt and pepper.

  4. Place the steaks on the grate. Once the coals are a grey-ish white color and covered with ash, use your tongs to move the coals slightly over to one side, leaving a small cool spot on the other side. Lay the steak on the grill away from direct flames. As the steak cooks, fat will drip down and cause the flames to flare-up. Move the steaks out of the flames when they flare up. Cook the steak for 2 to 3 minutes depending on how well-done you like it and then rotate the steak 45 degrees and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to give the steak diamond-patterned sear marks. Flip the steak and repeat the process on the other side.

  5. Keep the steak juicy. To preserve the natural juices of the meat, don't poke it or stab it with a fork or a knife while it's cooking. Always use tongs to turn your steak. You can usually tell how done a steak is by pressing down on the meat with your tongs. Rarer steaks are softer than well-done ones. Steak meant to be more done should be placed on the grill ten or fifteen minutes before meat meant to be rare. Don't turn your meat too often; constantly lifting the lid will cool off your grill and cause your steaks to cook more slowly, and it will be harder to maintain a steady temperature.

  6. Rest the steaks. To make sure the juices don't run onto your cutting board, let the steak rest for five minutes before serving.

Cooking Times:

  1. Rare: 8-10 minutes for a 1-inch steak or 10-12 minutes for a 1 1/2-inch steak.

  2. Medium: 12-14 minutes for a 1-inch steak or 16-20 minutes for a 1 1/2-inch steak.

  3. Well-done: 16-20 minutes for a 1-inch steak or 22-26 minutes for a 1 1/2-inch steak.

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