How To Cook Steak on a Cast Iron Grill: A Guide

It’s deceptively simple—the art of cooking steak. Is it something you’ve mastered?

Yes, anyone can technically cook a steak on the grill, but to get those mouthwatering, juicy steaks you love, you first need to learn a thing or two about how to cook steak.

Like any new skill, learning to cook steak is all about trial and error—plus, learning proper technique.

To find out more, here’s our guide to cooking steak on a cast iron grill—you’re sure to love the sizzle, the fun, and the flavor!

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

What do you need to cook a steak? Other than your grill and steak, there are a few other tools to make sure you have.

The first is a meat thermometer. This is essential for checking that your meat is cooked properly, as undercooked beef can cause serious bacteria and health issues like E.coli. Don’t take the risk!

You’ll also want tongs to use when handling your beef, placing it on the grill, and turning it over while it cooks. Plus, a serving platter and tray for them to sit on while you’re firing up the grill.

If you’re going to season your steaks as they cook, make sure your spices are next to the grill and ready, so you save yourself time.

Paper towels are also a good idea, as steak juice can get everywhere! They’re an absorbent base to put on your tray and they’re ideal for cleaning up any messes. 

Decide Which Steak Is Best

What’s the best steak to grill? That’s a tough question to answer, as it often comes down to both personal preference and budget–some cuts of beef are always going to be more expensive than others.

Many experts think that ribeye, filet mignon, T-bone, and Porterhouse are a few of the best, but it’s worth learning about the various types of beef cuts before deciding.

Keep in mind that some cuts of meat tend to have more fat than others—some fat is good, especially when it’s marbled, as it gives the steak more flavor and juicy deliciousness! However, when cooking steak, fat can be a bit riskier since it can cause the grill to flame up.

While some people love the taste of fat, others prefer a leaner cut. You can also cook steak with fat on it, to get that rich flavor, but then trim it off before serving.

Prepare Your Steak

Some grill aficionados will tell you that preparing your steak in advance is one of the best ways to make it taste amazing. This means seasoning or marinating it overnight, then putting it in the fridge.

However, some chefs think even longer is better, going for a 48 or 72-hour marinade to really create an amazing flavor.

There, it will soak up all of the spices and flavor of the marinade, which will make the steak taste better. You can find plenty of marinades and spice rubs at any grocery store, but it’s also not hard to make your own.

Popular steak seasonings include salt, cracked pepper, rosemary, sage, garlic, and paprika. Or, marinate your steak in your favorite barbeque or Southwestern sauce.

One important tip though–after your steak has seasoned overnight, don’t put it straight from the fridge onto the grill. You want to let the meat sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes first.

You also never want to throw a frozen steak on the grill. Otherwise, the meat won’t cook evenly and you won’t get good results.

Defrost overnight, then follow the process above and let it reach room temperature before cooking.

Fire Up the Grill

Time to fire up your all-in-one cast iron grill! Grease or oil your grates so that you can flip the steak easily, then turn on the grill and give it time to warm up.

This is an important step, as otherwise, your steak is likely to stick to the grill, which can be messy and also will pull some of the meat and fat off of the steak itself.

Wait until it’s reached its desired temperature before you start cooking anything—just like with your home oven, you need to give it time to preheat.

Move the Steak into the Grill’s Center

After the grill is hot, place your steak into the center of the grill. This is important because it allows the steak to be over the grill’s hottest part, which will help it cook both faster and more evenly.

You don’t want to throw it on the grill and walk away though, as steak will cook best if you turn it every 30 seconds. That being said, not everyone agrees and some chefs recommend only flipping once.

Over time, you’ll figure out which method works best for you. Keep an eye on your steak as it sizzles and enjoy the process—there’s not much better than the appetizing smells and sounds of a juicy piece of ribeye sizzling on the grill!

Grill to Just the Right Temperature

The million-dollar question—how long should I cook my steak? This depends on your preference—from rare to well-done, everyone likes their meat cooked differently.

As the chef, know that meat keeps cooking for a few minutes after you take it off the grill. This means if you’re aiming for medium-rare, for example, and go by looks alone, the steak is going to come out darker than you want it.

This is why it’s better to cook steak based on time. Here’s a rough guide as to how long you should cook steak, but this will vary based on the cut and size of the meat.

  • Rare: 3-4 minutes each side
  • Medium rare: 3 ½-5 minutes each side
  • Medium: 4-7 minutes each side
  • Medium-well: 8-10 minutes each side

You’ll find that a rare steak, when cut, looks red on the inside and pink around the edges. Medium rare will be pink in the middle and a pale pinkish-brown along the edges.

As for medium? It should have a light pink center and a brown edge. Medium well should have a pale pink center and brown edges.

Well-done, of course, should be brown all the way through. But if you don’t want to cut the steak in half before serving, then it’s best to go by time.

Let the Steak Rest Before Slicing

We know you’re eager to enjoy that perfect steak you’ve just cooked, but it’s best to let it sit for around 3-4 minutes first. This will actually make the steak more juicy when you do slice into it, so it’s worth the wait!

If you’re worried about the steak losing heat while it’s resting, you can wrap it loosely with some aluminum foil.

Then, it’s time to eat! A steak you’ve cooked yourself always tastes so much better. Plus, it’s an easy, but impressive, meal to serve to guests at a barbeque or party.

And for side dishes? One amazing thing about steak is that it goes with everything!

Consider mashed potatoes, fries, veggies, salad, corn on the cob, or even add some seafood for surf n turf.

Clean Your Grill

After you’ve enjoyed your delicious steaks, the last step is the washing up! Yes, this applies to your grill as well.

Using gentle dish soap, warm water, and a sponge or steel wool, scrub down all of the grill’s surfaces. This should be done after each use, as it will help your grill last longer.

Just be gentle, as putting too much elbow grease into it could remove some of the grill’s protective coating.

Otherwise, it’s easy for bits of food, especially fat, to stick to the grill and damage its surface over time. It also ensures your grill is clean and ready for the next time you want to grill some steaks!

Learning How to Cook Steak Is Easy With This Guide

If you’re getting hungry reading this, you’re not alone! Now that you know how to cook steak properly, use this guide to plan your next steak dinner.

Just be easy on yourself—we’ve all accidentally overcooked a steak or two, as learning how to do it properly takes practice. But if you put the effort in, you’ll soon learn how to cook a delicious steak that’s better (and cheaper!) than you’d get in a steakhouse.

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