First things first, you need to know how to buy a steak, which is where the experience of a butcher comes in. Of course, money will always be a factor but if you opt for a quick visit to the supermarket, you could be missing out on the best steak of your life! Fillet, scotch fillet, porterhouse, T-bone and rump cut steaks would be our recommendation but it all comes down to personal preference. Your local butcher will take great care and use many years of knowledge and experience to find the best suppliers, supplying you with a more premium product. They will also be more than happy to help you in choosing the best cuts of meat to grill, and more importantly, they can cut your steak as thick as you like! If you’re going it alone, these are the things to look out for:
Next you need to prepare your meat for the BBQ. Take your steak out of the fridge and rest on a wire rack two hours before cooking to bring the meat to room temperature. This will concentrate the flavour, speed up grilling time and begin to tenderise the meat. You should also season your steak in advance, sprinkling some coarse sea salt over both sides about 40 minutes prior to grilling. Often with steaks, minimalism is key, so resist temptation to pepper your steaks, especially because peppercorns can burn when cooked on the high temperatures of BBQ grates. If you do want to experiment with flavours, use BBQ Talk’s guide to choosing the best marinades or whip up a complimentary sauce to serve up afterwards.
When you’re ready to grill, brush oil over the grates and heat your BBQ until smoking hot. Gas BBQs are great at cooking food but for a true BBQ flavour we would always recommend using charcoal. You could even opt for flavoured wood chips or pellets for another way to infuse the meat with a subtle flavour.
Grillpro Cherry Wood Chips: These Grillpro cherry woodchips, available from BBQ Talk for just £6 come in a resealable bag, perfect for multiple uses. One bag will fill your smoker box 10 times, and once smoked are ideal for infusing your steak with genuine wood-smoke flavour within minutes.
When placing your steaks on the grill, ensure that they are well spaced apart so that the grates remain searing hot, then the key is to turn your steaks just once during the cooking process, waiting until sear markings have been achieved. Use long-handled tongs to turn the steak, never a meat fork, as piercing the meat will cause the natural juices to escape.
Grillpro deluxe 16" long-handled tong: Available from BBQ Talk for just £10, these are perfect for use as a turner or tong. The long handles and soft rubber grips make it perfect for BBQ use without any risk of piercing your meat.
One of the most common mistakes when barbecuing steak is continuously checking the food. Steak will grill best when left alone, so you need to know approximately how long your steak will need on each side to ensure you only check it when necessary. A 2cm thick steak will rely on the following approximate timings dependent on how you like it:
Blue: 1 minute each side
Rare: 1.5 minutes each side
Medium rare: 2 minutes each side
Medium: 2.5 minutes each side
Medium to well done: 3 minutes each side
When you come to check that your steak is cooked just the way you like it, again do not use a knife to pierce the meat as all your hard-earned juiciness will escape! Instead, press firmly on the centre of the steak with the back of your tongs. If it feels soft, your steak will be rare, and if it feels firm with no spring, it will be well done. You should be able to gauge the different stages from the tong test.
If you’re happy that your steak is grilled to perfection, take it off the grill and let your meat rest for about three minutes before serving to allow juices drawn to the surface during cooking to relax back into the meat, making it succulent and tender.
Grillpro Cedar Steak Board: This board has been made from high-quality laminated Western Red Cedarwood and has a specially crafted moat to catch any juicy drippings whilst your steak is resting. An essential for any steak lover at just £15.
For finishing touches, drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the steak and sprinkle with herbs.