When you learn how to grill steak on a gas grill or grill pan, you’ll find out how easy it is to have juicy, perfectly cooked steak.
It’s so much simpler than you might think and this post will walk you through all the steps, from choosing the right steak to the correct cooking times and temperatures.
You’ll get so good at it that pretty soon you won’t even need a recipe!
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how to grill steak
It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. You don’t have to be some BBQ “master” or have a lot of fancy tools or ingredients.
You start with a gas grill or grill pan.
Gas grill – Whether it hooks up to a natural gas line or uses a gas tank, a gas grill is a perfectly good option for outdoor grilling. I use this Weber Spirit II E-210. (To learn more about why I chose it, and to learn more about other options, check out this article of 26 food bloggers’ favorite grills.)
If you think you’ll miss the smoky flavor you get from a charcoal grill, trying soaking your favorite wood chips for 30 minutes. Wrap them in foil or place in a foil container that seals. Carefully place under the grates per your grill’s instructions.
Grill pan – Cast iron like this one is the classic choice, and for good reason. It distributes and retains heat very well. Plus it’s sturdy and can last for generations.
Keep in mind that the larger the pan is, the heavier it’ll be. And cast iron pans can get really heavy.
The best steak for a gas grill or grill pan
There are a lot of options for what type of steak to use for a gas grill or grill pan.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on steaks that do not need a marinade.
So that means I won’t be including tough cuts like flank, skirt, flap, hanger, rump or London broil (technically a cooking method, but some butchers use this as a name for top round steaks).
I also won’t be including the enormous cuts like T-bone, porterhouse and tomahawks. These often need additional cooking, either over indirect heat on a gas grill or in the oven with a grill pan.
I also won’t include cube steak here as that doesn’t take well to plain grilling.
We’re focusing on simple cuts that just need one flip and they’re done:
- Ribeye – Cut from the center of the rib section; sold as bone-in or boneless; juicy and well-marbled
- Filet mignon – Cut from the tenderloin running along the spine; very lean and incredibly tender; expensive
- Sirloin – Cut from the rear of the cow; very lean; inexpensive
- Strip – a.k.a New York strip, cut from the short loin; only somewhat marbled but still flavorful
- Flat iron – cut from the upper shoulder blade area; tender, flavorful but with a center strand of tough sinew that should be avoided
Temperature for cooking steaks
Generally, the temperature of a steak will continue to rise a bit even after you take it off the grill.
- Rare – Remove from the grill at 130° so it reaches 135-140°
- Medium rare – Remove at 140° so it reaches 145°
- Medium – Remove at 155° so it reaches 160°
- Medium well – Remove at 165° so it reaches 170°
But the more often you cook them, the better you’ll get at telling how long they need just by looking at their thickness.
how long to grill a steak
What temperature to cook steak to on a gas grill or grill pan depends on its thickness.
In general, for the cuts listed above, they’ll take the following amount of time over very high heat per inch of thickness:
- Rare – 2-3 minutes per side
- Medium rare – 4-5 minutes per side
- Medium – 7-10 minutes per side
- Medium well – 10-12 minutes per side
grilling steak tips
So let’s get to the fun party – grilling our steaks!
Prepping the steak:
Pat the steaks dry.
Some cuts have a layer of fat running along the side. It adds flavor and juiciness. However, you can trim it or cut it off entirely, if you prefer.
It’s hard to give an amount as it depends on how much surface area you’re working with. You’re looking for an even, single layer of salt. Sprinkling from farther up helps distribute the crystals more evenly.
Let the steak rest. Ideally it will rest at room temperature for at least one hour. This will give the salt time to work its way into the meat to tenderize and flavor it.
If you’re salting the steaks any longer than an hour before cooking, keep them covered in the fridge.
But the great part is, you can do this part up to 2 days in advance. Yep, even days later it’s not too salty or broken down. You’ll still end up with juicy, tender meat.
Do not apply black pepper yet. It won’t help to use it at this stage and the peppercorns will either fall off through the grates or burn when you grill the steak.
Once you’re ready to cook:
If you’ve refrigerated your steaks, take them out to bring to room temperature. This can take 30-60 minutes, depending on their thickness.
Pat the steak dry again. Salt draws out moisture and moisture is the enemy of a good sear.
Prepping a gas grill:
Heat the gas grill on high heat. It doesn’t have to be the highest heat possible, but the grates should get very hot.
If necessary, scrub the hot, dry grates with a grill brush to clean them.
Next, fold up a few paper towels so you have a long, thick roll and coat it in the avocado oil.
Use grill tongs to wipe the grates with the oiled towel to make sure they’re evenly greased.
Yes, you already oiled the steaks, but it helps to oil the grates as well.
Prepping a grill pan:
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Make sure it gets really hot. No need to apply any oil.
Cooking the steaks (the same method is used for a gas grill or grill pan)
Add the steaks to the grill or grill pan. Close the gas grill, if using.
Do not touch the steaks until you want to flip them, per the times listed above. After you flip them, don’t touch them until you think they’re done.
Once you think the steaks are ready, you can test them by inserting an instant read thermometer in the middle of the steak (make sure it doesn’t go all the way through).
Once the steaks are ready, remove them and loosely cover them. (Be sure to completely turn off the gas grill burners and turn off the gas, if you’re done with it.)
Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes. This will make sure the juices stay in the meat when you cut it.
For slicing steaks, always slice against the grain. What that means is, you’ll see the muscle fibers running parallel to each other. You want to slice across those fibers (perpendicular to them). The slices will be much more tender this way.
Sprinkle the steak with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
And that’s it! It takes longer to explain how to do it than to actually do it. All the steps are pretty quick and simple.
Now all that’s left is to enjoy your perfectly grilled steak!
How to Grill Steak on a Gas Grill or Grill Pan
- Let the meat rest at room temperature for 1 hour or covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- When you're ready to grill, bring the steak to room temperature, if stored in the fridge (could take 30-60 minutes). Pat dry and coat in a thin layer of avocado oil.
- Lay the steak on the grates or grill pan and do not touch until it's ready to flip. As a general guide per inch of thickness:- Rare - 2-3 minutes per side (remove at 130° so it reaches 135-140°)- Medium rare - 4-5 minutes per side (remove at 140° so it reaches 145°)- Medium - 7-10 minutes per side (remove at 155° so it reaches 160°)- Medium well - 10-12 minutes per side (remove at 165° so it reaches 170°)
- Once ready, remove the steak and loosely cover. Let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Slice against the grain.
- Filet mignon
- Flat iron
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