How to Charcoal Grill a Steak

Seasoned fillet ready for grill
Beef steak ready to grill

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Nothing compares to a beautiful and sunny day outdoors
with your family while you fire up the charcoal grill to have an ultimate
culinary experience. You can use your charcoal grill for cooking a range of
meals, but nothing beats the all-time American classic charcoal-grilled steak.

If you have never had the opportunity to have a
grilled steak cooked over charcoal, you have been depriving yourself of the
most satisfying experience in life. American cuisine does not get better than
having a nice, thick, medium-rare steak cooked to perfection over charcoal with
a subtle yet delectable smoky flavor that brings out the best that beef has to

In case you do not know how you can grill the perfect
charcoal steak, we have you covered. In this article, you will go over
everything you need to know about how to charcoal grill a steak to perfection.

What you need to look for in a steak

While you might be excited to learn how to charcoal
grill a steak, there are a few things you need to know before you start
grilling. Let’s go over the basics of how to choose your steak and everything
else that you need before you fire up the grill and start cooking.

Type of steak

If you are not a master griller yourself, you might
not understand or even know the importance of having the perfect steak for
charcoal grilling. Many people generally roam around aimlessly through the meat
aisle in the supermarket and just pick up something randomly. It is no wonder
that so many people have a horrible experience of grilling a steak.

Instead of picking pieces of meat at random from the
meat aisle, I would recommend you go for the classics. That way, you won’t go
wrong with charcoal grilling. Look for the traditional rib-eye, T-bone, or the
filet mignon as they are the perfect cuts for charcoal grilling.

Beef grading

After you decide the cut of beef you want to go for, you need to select the grade. While all beef comes from the same animal, not all beef is the same. The grading of meat refers to the amount of fat running through the muscle. You might have seen all those white areas on steak. That is called inter-muscular fat.

The more the inter-muscular fat in the steak, the better the flavor will be. I would recommend going for choice or prime grade beef. Choice meat has fatter than select, and a prime cut of graded beef has the ideal amount of inter-muscular fat for charcoal grilling. American Wagyu Beef is the finest meat.


When it comes to charcoal grilling beef steak, the
thicker the meat, the better it will cook. Ideally, you should go for a prime
or choice cut beef steak that is at least an inch thick.

Steak that is thinner than an inch is likely to cook
too fast, and you will not be able to give the steak an ideal sear without
overdoing it on the inside.

An inch-thick steak offers you the perfect amount of
time to sear it on the outside without overcooking the inside for a delicious,
medium-rare steak.

If you are looking for the perfect choice or prime beef and you do not want to go through the hassle of scouring the meat aisle of your local supermarket, you can just head on over to Snake River Farms. They have a wide selection of Northwest Choice and Prime steaks, which are perfect for grilling based on my experience.

Items you need to charcoal grill a steak.

With that, you know everything you need to pick out
the perfect cut of meat. The next step is to get all the right tools for the
job. Luckily, you do not need to go through a complicated process to gather
several ingredients when you are charcoal grilling a steak. Here is a list of the
things you might need:

A charcoal grill (I recommend the 22-inch Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill)


Digital thermometer for steaks

Seasoning or spices

Great tasting bottle of wine

The steak, of course

With everything ready, it is time to get down to

How to charcoal grill a steak to perfection.

Charcoal grilling a steak is a matter of following
four relatively simple steps.

Step 1: Season your cut of steak

The first order of business is to apply a little
seasoning to your steak. There are several options that you can use when it
comes to seasoning your steak. You can go for the classic homemade mixture of
garlic, salt, and pepper. It is an all-time favorite for many people.

If you are looking to bring up your charcoal grilling game, I would suggest going over to the Grill Masters Club. You can get top-notch barbeque products from the company from BBQ sauce to the best BBQ rub that you can season your steak.

For starters, I would suggest that you stick with a simple seasoning of garlic, salt, and pepper. Once you get the hang of how to season your steak for charcoal grilling, you can try out the BBQ products from the folks over at the Grill Masters Club.

Step 2: Light the charcoal

Once you season your steak, you need to let it sit an
marinate, come to room temperature. While your choice of seasoning does its
magic, you can set the charcoal in the grill and light it up. You can space out
the charcoal evenly through the grill or just place them to one side of the
grill for indirect heating.

Deciding between the two options will affect how you
go about cooking the steak. Having the coal on one side will allow you to lay
it on the cooler side of the charcoal grill, away from direct heat to prevent
charring or overcooking the steak.

Step 3: More seasoning

While you have already seasoned your steak, you can go for the option to season it a little more before you start cooking. Adding a secondary seasoning of something coarse like spices can give your charcoal-grilled steak an extra tinge of flavor. A second seasoning, which is coarser, can also help give you a better texture when you sear the steak, creating a crust.

If you get a box from Grill Masters Club, you will have plenty of options of delicious seasoning for your steak before you can start cooking.

grilled steak
Grilling a Ribeye Steak

Step 4: Put the steak on the grill and get cooking!

After adding the coarser seasoning on your steak, wait
for the charcoal you lit up in the charcoal grill to ash over. You are now
ready to start cooking the meat. Here are the steps you need to follow while
you charcoal grill the steak:

Let the grill heat up to at least 500°F. You can bring
it up to a higher temperature further, but 500°F is ideal.

Place the steak on the grill and close the lid on your
charcoal grill.

After two minutes, open the grill and rotate the steak
to the side.

After another two minutes, flip the steak over.

Two more minutes after that, turn the steak to the
side and let it cook for another two minutes.

 The cooking
time can vary based on the thickness of the steak, the cooking temperature at
the grate level, and various other factors. Your steak might cook faster or
slower than what I’ve mentioned, but two minutes to each side at a time gives
me great results when the temperature is constant 500°F.

Therefore, you should keep checking the steak for the temperature using the digital thermometer. Stick the thermometer into the steak while it is still on the grill.

If you get the 135°F reading, you have a medium-rare

A 130°F reading means it is still rare,

A 145°F reading means it is medium,

A 150°F reading means it is medium-well,

A 160°F reading means it is well-done,

And if you get a higher reading than that, you might
have gone overboard.

Ideally, I would recommend sticking to between 135°F
and 150°F for the perfect medium-rare finish on the steak.

You’re ready to eat!

And in a few steps as that, you know everything about
how to charcoal grill a steak!

Of course, I have simplified the steps, so they are
easier to understand. I am not going to lie; first-time cooks will find it
challenging to get things right. With a little practice, I am confident that
you can gain mastery over charcoal grilling steaks by following these

It is not challenging to make amazing steaks once you
start to get the hang of it. As you gain more experience, you can always
experiment with your approach to charcoal grilling your favorite cut of meat.
You might even come up with more creative ways of cooking beef.

You’re missing out if you’ve never prepared steak over charcoal. Learn how to charcoal grill a steak to enjoy the subtle smoky flavor that will make you fall in love with beef.

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