How to Grill Steak on Charcoal Grill (Step by Step Guide)
Steaks are best cooked on a charcoal grill. Because of the charcoal, they are smokier and tastes heavenly. Also, the juices in the steak are best retained.
You can grill the steak on a propane grill as well. However, for that you will have to compromise on the taste big time. No wonder that charcoal grills are the first choice of all those who cannot compromise with the deliciousness of the steaks.
Moreover, the charcoal grill gives you less cost to worry about as the overall charges falls down because of the cost-effectiveness of charcoal over propane gas.
Things You Need To Get Started
Here is a list of all the things you need to start with the grilling process:
Step By Step Guide On How To Grill Steak On A Charcoal Grill
Since you are wondering about the method of grilling steak on a charcoal grill, here is everything that you have to do for the most mouth-watering steak:
1. Apply Seasoning to the Steak
Yes, you should start by applying seasoning on the steak. The best home-made seasoning will be a combination of salt, garlic, and pepper as these are classic ingredients of a seasoning and goes great every time. Simply pour or sprinkle on the steak and you are good to go.
You should leave the steak aside to dry brine for 30-minutes. It will give enough time to the steak to soak all the seasonings and infuse the taste.
Note: In dry brine process, the salt and other spices are poured on the steak and it draws the moisture out of meat and then dissolve in the salt. Finally, it gets reabsorbed in the meat. This way the steak becomes juicier and flavorful.
2. Lighting the Charcoal
Charcoal lighting can take some time. Since you have some 30-minutes in your hands after seasoning the steak, it will be best that you light the charcoal alongside.
Start by loading up the charcoal in the chimney and light a fire starter underneath. Give some time to charcoal to get ashed over when it is done completely, you can put it inside the grill.
There are a couple of option for the placement of charcoal inside the grill. It depends on the type of equipment in use.
In case of grill grates, you should put the charcoal on the center and then spread it evenly throughout the area. In the alternative scenario, you can bundle the charcoal on one side of the grill. This way, you will be able to sear the meat on direct heat.
In case of unfinished steak, you can simply put it on the cooker side. This way, you can avoid burning of steak.
3. Adding more Seasoning
Well, this is an optional step and largely depend on how you like to take your steak. On adding extra seasonings, you can actually give an additional layer of flavors to the steak. This also helps in improving the texture and exterior crust of the steak.
4. Grill Grates
This one is also an optional step but if you want to enhance your grilling skills then the grill grates come handy in the process.
These are aftermarket tools that will potentially improve searing of the meat. The grill grates are made of anodized aluminum material and they increase the grill surface temperature while reducing the flare-ups. They also eliminate grill’s hot spots.
5. Putting on the Grill for Cooking
After the charcoal is ashed, it is time to start with the grilling. You can put your cooking grate on the grill and follow these steps:
- It is important for the grill to heat up before you place steak on it. Therefore, give it some time and allow the temperature to rise up to the desired temperature, depending on the steak in use and how you like to eat it.
- Once grill has reached satisfactory temperature, place the steaks on it and put the lid on.
- Wait for required number of minutes for the steaks to grill and then rotate them at 90 degrees. It will help in getting perfect sear marks.
Since different types of steak require different time for cooking, here is a quick view on the details.
Grill Time & Temperature
1. Filet Megnon 1-inch Thick
Medium Rare: 4-minute grilling each side at 140 Degree F
2. New York Strip 1-inch Thick
Medium Rare: 7-minute grilling each side at 140 Degree F
3. Ribeye 1-1/4-inch Thick
Medium Rare: 8-minute grilling each side at 140 Degree F
4. Sirloin 1-1/4-inch Thick
Medium Rare: 8-minute grilling each side at 140 Degree F
6. Check Steak for Doneness
To check if steak has perfectly grilled or not, you will need a digital thermometer. Please note that different types of steaks are fully cooked on different temperatures. However, a perfectly done steak is completely grilled when it reaches 170 degrees F temperature.
Since people like the steak in different forms, here is a quick table for you to refer with the kind of steak you like to eat.
Temperature to Remove from Grill
Final Cooked Temperature
130 – 130 Degrees F
130 – 140 Degrees F
2. Medium Rare
140 Degrees F
145 Degrees F
155 Degrees F
160 Degrees F
4. Well Done
165 Degrees F
170 Degrees F
Mistakes to Avoid while Grilling Steak
There are some common mistakes that mostly first-timers do while grilling the steak. Keep these things and mind and avoid them completely:
1. Don’t Start before Properly Heating the Grill
To make steak in a perfect way, it is important to follow the rules. One of the rules is that the grill should be super-hot. Allow it to heat up for up to 30 minutes.
The fire needs to have a bed of red-hot coals with minimal smoke and flames and heat circulating all over the grill.
Please note that to caramelize the steak exterior, it is very important for the grill to have hot surface. This will also help in securing the flavors. As a result, you will have crispier outside and tender inside steak.
2. Thermometer Is Essential
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are in grilling steaks. Even a pro can make a mistake in ensuring if the steak is properly cooked from inside or not.
That is why there are thermometers to check the inside temperature that is suitable for a perfectly grilled steak.
All you have to do is to insert the thermometer in the steak and look for the temperature. As mentioned before, the ideal temperature of perfectly grilled steak is 170 degrees F.
3. Don’t Overcrowd the Grill
You can either go with multiple individual steaks or a single full-size steak. We recommend you not to overcrowd the grill if you want the steak to be perfectly cooked.
One large steak is easier to manage than multiple small steaks. When you are attending one of them, the other might burn. Also, since you have to flip the steaks quickly to sear properly, it is important to only put as many on the grill that you can conveniently attend.
A larger steak of 32-ounce can serve 6 people. Instead of cutting it before grilling, you should grill the whole thing as one and then cut it into multiple slices. This will help you in feeding a party of people, without hampering the taste of the steak.
4. Allow the Steak to Rest
Not many people understand the importance of letting the steak rest after grilling. When you allow the steak to rest, the collagen in meat let the juices to thicken. This only happens when the steak cools down a little. It helps in making the steak juicier.
You can rather keep it in a warm place since serving cold steak is not a good idea and let it rest for just as long as you have cooked it or at least for half the cooking time. For example, if you have used 10 minutes to grill the steak and at least allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
Grilled steak is one of the best things you can serve your guests or enjoy on a lazy Sunday evening. It is tasteful and impress most people. Follow the tips and method shared above to get a perfectly cooked steak each time to make it.