This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.
All thoughts and opinions are my own
I’m back again with another grill recipe that’s hard to mess up and makes a mighty fine piece of meat.
I cooked 16 ribeyes with the goal of getting a perfect steak without much effort. Can someone else make a better Ribeye? I’m sure they can, but can they do so with less effort? That’s going to be a bit more challenging.
Either way, this is a great steak recipe that’s easy to remember, simple to cook, and makes a steak that’s going to be good every time.
Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill
I like the Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill, because it has all of the cooking benefits of Weber’s other 3 burner propane grills, while being the most economically priced. Weber grills are basically a grilling institution at this point. I grew up using them, and they’re basically bulletproof.
Throw a grill cover on it to keep it looking shiny, and it’s going to be around for a long time.
This lets you track the temperature of the meat from start to finish and gives you alerts to your phone as it gets close to the ideal internal temperature. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it makes cooking consistently good steaks stupidly simple.
Cast Iron Pan
To get a good sear on a steak, you need a lot of heat quickly. Metal conducts heat better than air, so by putting the steak on a preheated cast iron pan, you’re not only able to get a quicker burst of heat, it’s also more consistent across the entire surface of the steak.
I tried 3 cast iron pans, and found this one worked the best, likely due to it’s larger mass.
Set a cast iron pan on one side of the grill and turn both burners on high under it to preheat. Leave the 3rd burner on low. You’ll use this side to slowly cook the steaks after searing them.
While it’s preheating, pat dry a couple 1.5″ thick ribeye steaks, and liberally cover with sea salt and pepper. Flip, pat dry and cover the other side as well.
After 10 minutes of preheating, insert the temperature probe into one or both of the steaks (if you have it) and throw both steaks onto the cast iron skillet for 90 seconds each side, then place them on grill over the burner on low.
Depending on how you like your steaks, you’re going to be aiming for different internal temperatures.
Rare: 120F // Medium Rare: 130F // Medium: 140F // Medium Well: 150F
I like my steaks Medium Rare, so I like to cook them around 5 minutes per side before they reach 120F, then putting them back on the cast iron skillet for another 45 seconds each side.
The steaks continue to cook after you take them off the grill, so don’t be surprised when you take a steak off the grill at 125F and it ends up reaching 135F on the plate.
Short Version of Recipe
- Turn 2 burners on the grill to high and one to low
- Put cast iron pan on top of high burner. Leave for 10 minutes to preheat
- Pat 2 steaks dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides
- Insert temperature probes in steaks if you have them.
- Place steaks on cast iron skillet for 90 seconds each side.
- Move steaks above low burner for around 5 minutes each side or until the internal temperature reaches 120F.
- Place steaks back on cast iron skillet for 45 seconds each side.
- Remove and cover with foil for 5 minutes.
- Eat both steaks, get meat sweats, sit on the couch with mixed feelings of regret and satisfaction
Why This Recipe Works
I spent a lot of time trying different techniques and ruining a lot of steaks in the process. If you want to know more about why this recipe works, I’ve included some more details below.
My best, consistent results came from first searing the steaks on a thick cast iron pan, then moving them to indirect heat and slow cooking it to just under the internal temperature I wanted, then searing them again on the cast iron pan.
Cast Iron Pans
I tried a few different cast iron pans, and I found that the biggest, thickest ones worked the best. It makes sense, because they were able to store more heat than the thinner versions, and they worked better than a grill pan, because they had more contact with the steak.
I tried a couple different meat thermometers, an instant thermometer and the iGrill 2.0 from Weber, which constantly tracks the temperature and reports back to your phone. They both have their uses, but with my cooking default of “set it and forget it” whenever possible, I’m a fan of the iGrill 2.0.
It lets you connect up to 4 probes that can measure individual pieces of meat or the grill temperature and talks to your phone via Bluetooth. You set the temperature that you’d like to cook the meat to, and it will alert you as it’s getting close to that temperature.
It makes cooking meat on the grill really simple, and makes it much less likely to get distracted and overcook it.
Even using the same grill, same technique, and same cuts of meat, I wasn’t able to come up with a consistent cook time. There are just too many variables that impact how quickly the steaks cook.
Steaks aren’t always cut the same thickness (even when you ask for it), different areas of the grill can be hotter than others, the grill may be preheated more than last time, and the temperature of the steak before you put it on isn’t always the same.
You can always get the steaks “good enough” using traditional methods, but unless you’re using commercial restaurant equipment and a steak supplier with great quality control, it’s hard to consistently get them just right.
I like my ribeyes cut to 1.5″ thick. It gives the steak more ability to get a good outside crust without overcooking the center.
I also eat a lot of red meat, so I prefer steaks from grass-fed cows whenever possible for the health benefits. I used to hear people say you can’t get the same marbling with grass-fed as grain-fed, but I haven’t found that to be the case unless you’re looking for wagyu beef.
If you can’t find a good marbled grass-fed steak, it may be time to change your butcher.
Reverse searing is just what it sounds like. Instead of searing the steak first, then cooking it over low heat, you first cook it over low heat, then sear it.
I tried to reverse sear them, but it was incredibly hard to get consistently good results.
What made it so hard is that you have to figure out what temperature to move it from the slow cooking side to the searing hot cast iron pan, and there are a lot of variables that impact that decision.
If you have a thinner steak, you’ll need to move it at a lower temperature, because the high heat can cook the center a lot quicker than you’d assume.
I found myself trying to get a good sear on the steak, but before they would develop a good crust, the internal temperature was spiking above what I wanted, so I then had to choose between a good crust on an overcooked steak, or no crust on a properly cooked steak.
… and it happened a lot.
When I switched over to the sear then slow cook, then sear again, it was much easier to get a consistently good sear and internal temperature.
It makes perfect sense now.
With the steaks raw, you can get a really good sear on the outside of the steaks first without worrying about over cooking it, then slow cook them to just under the right temperature, then give them another quick sear to bring that crust back to perfection.
Most people think of grilling as more of an art than a science. After cooking so many steaks on the same grill, you get a feel for it, and “just know” when it’s right. That works most of the time, but if you really want to be consistent, they have some amazing tools now that make it MUCH easier than it used to be.