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grilling steak on a gas grill


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#1 bucktown_boffo

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:18 AM

With a cast iron skillet, I can cook a great steak on just about any oven with the foolproof technique of blazing hot sear on both sides followed by a short spell in the oven. take me outside to the backyard gas grill, on the other hand, and achieving the same result becomes a course fraught with peril. keep the lid down the whole time? up during the sear? how many burners to use? at what level? can anyone help? bonus points if you have a weber genesis b or similar 3 burner setup.

#2 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:44 AM

I run my genesis C at full blast, all three burners, five minutes a side with the hood down if its a particularly thick steak. I rub with vegetable oil prior to putting the steak on the grill and I let the grill temperature internally go over 600 degrees with the top down before putting the steaks on.

Overall though, the Genesis is a sucky steak grill. I'm seriously considering buying a cheap Weber kettle (charcoal) for just steaks this summer. There is no substitute for the charcoal flavor.

For everything else though the Genesis is a nice grill.
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#3 howard88

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:47 AM

I also do steaks in cast iron, finished off in a 300 degree oven. Steaks come out perfectly medium rare.
I also use a three burner Weber gas grill.
Simply, I sear, lid open on maximum heat, 500 degrees or better for a minute on each side and turn at 45 seconds to get those fine looking grill marks.
I then put the steaks in the middle and only keep the front and rear burners on low. I will use medium heat if the steak is more than an inch thick.
Time on the grill with indirect heat depends on the thickness of the meat.
I can tell medium rare usually by touch. For thicker cuts, an instant read thermometer is good to tell you when to pull the steak out. Particularly for the thicker cuts pull it earlier to account for continued cooking while it rests.

#4 howard88

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:49 AM

Duh, forgot to say after the sear with the lid open, I close the lid for the indirect heating.

#5 HungryChris

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 10:06 AM

My approach is to have all three burners on high and put the steak on only after the temp reads 400 deg F. Since the heat seems to drive the juices away from it, I leave the steak on long enough to put the dark grill marks on one side, turn it over, leave it long enough to mark the other side and drive the juices back then turn it one last time, rotating 180 deg to get the crossed marks on the first side I cooked. I take the steak off the heat at that point and give it a rest of a few min under aluminium foil, while I assemble the rest of the repast. Of course this will not work on a steak that is overly thin. My favorite is a NY Strip about 1 1/4 " thick.

Cheers,

HC

#6 mnebergall

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 10:56 AM

My approach is to have all three burners on high and put the steak on only after the temp reads 400 deg F. Since the heat seems to drive the juices away from it, I leave the steak on long enough to put the dark grill marks on one side, turn it over, leave it long enough to mark the other side and drive the juices back then turn it one last time, rotating 180 deg to get the crossed marks on the first side I cooked. I take the steak off the heat at that point and give it a rest of a few min under aluminium foil, while I assemble the rest of the repast. Of course this will not work on a steak that is overly thin. My favorite is a NY Strip about 1 1/4 " thick.

Cheers,

HC

If you really want to do it right, cook for 2 1/2 minutes per side, twice (i.e. turn three times for a total of 5 minutes per side) on high heat. Then let rest for five mintes on a plate under foil.

#7 bucktown_boffo

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 11:09 AM

thanks for the great responses so far. the biggest problem i face, it seems, is that unless i'm lucky enough to get a big thick cut, my grill simply isn't powerful enough to get the desirable crust on the outside without cooking the inside too much. i've tried searing with the lid up and the grill doesn't retain enough heat to so a proper sear. but with the lid down it's essentially acting as an oven and cooking the steak too quickly all over while still not searing it as much as i'd like on the outside.

#8 iamthestretch

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 11:10 AM

The key to getting your nice, thick steak nicely cooked through without being charred is a two-tier fire, whether you're cooking with charcoal or gas. In a kettle, put most of the coals on one side, sear the steaks 2 to 3 minutes each side then move to the cooler end of the grill and cook to taste, usually 6 to 8 minutes more in total for medium rare. Leave the lid off unless you like a sooty flavor note. On a gas grill, crank all burners up to 11 and preheat closed until very hot. Then turn one burner down to medium, sear over the hot side and finish over the cooler side as above. Lid down builds a better crust. If you can screw this up, Christopher Kimball will personally come to your house and punch you out. :raz:

Edited by iamthestretch, 13 May 2004 - 11:11 AM.

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#9 rlibkind

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 01:31 PM

...then turn it one last time, rotating 180 deg to get the crossed marks on the first side I cooked.

Don't you mean 90-degrees, i.e., a quarter turn? If you do a perfect 180, you'll just re-do the grill marks you originally had.
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#10 fiftydollars

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 01:39 PM

I like 45 degrees so I get a nice diamond pattern on the steaks.

#11 rlibkind

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 02:03 PM

I like 45 degrees so I get a nice diamond pattern on the steaks.

Yes, 45 is much nicer.
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#12 mnebergall

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 02:16 PM

I, myself, prefer a 60 degree rotation, but with my 2 1/2 mintue toutine, I have to get the protractor out.

#13 Cusina

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 02:32 PM

I go for the two minutes on high each side, the reduce heat to medium, two minutes then flip (adding s&p when necessary) untill required doneness is achieved. It's labor intensive, but it is very reliable. There is a good balance between lid open and lid closed cooking.
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#14 Suzanne F

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 02:34 PM

Book I'm working on now says do not cover, and do use two levels of heat: high first to sear, then medium to finish:
- For a 1 to 1-1/4 inch thick, 14 to 16-ounce strip, 2-1/2 minutes per side on high, then 2-1/2 to 3 minutes per side on mediium.
- For a 2-inch thick, 1-1/2 pound boneless rib-eye, 4 minutes per side on high, then 2-1/2 to 3 minutes per side on mediium.
- For a 1-1/4 inch thick, 1 to 1-1/4 pound bone-in rib-eye, 2-1/2 minutes per side on high, then 2-1/2 to 3 minutes per side on mediium.

And the author also makes the mistake of saying 180 degrees instead of 90, for quadrillage. :rolleyes:

#15 balmagowry

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:18 PM

thanks for the great responses so far. the biggest problem i face, it seems, is that unless i'm lucky enough to get a big thick cut, my grill simply isn't powerful enough to get the desirable crust on the outside without cooking the inside too much. i've tried searing with the lid up and the grill doesn't retain enough heat to so a proper sear. but with the lid down it's essentially acting as an oven and cooking the steak too quickly all over while still not searing it as much as i'd like on the outside.

I had exactly the same problem with my last gas grill, until someone taught me a neat trick that I sometimes still use even with the new one:

Freeze the steak. Get grill going full blast; put the steak on it still frozen.

I haven't dared try this with anything more than 2" thick, max - but up to that thickness I have found it works perfectly. By the time the inside thaws enough to cook at all, you get a lovely crust on the outside.

Can't tell you exact timings with lid up/down because I do it so much by ear and by guts and by prevailing wind, but the same sensory criteria apply as with any other method.

#16 bucktown_boffo

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:30 PM

frozen steak on the grill? do you mean fully frozen or put in the freezer for a half hour? sounds scary! but i will give it a try it next time. i often buy quantities of steak from costco (damn budget) and freeze them, so not having to worry about defrosting them would be great!

#17 markf424

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 05:16 PM

I, myself, prefer a 60 degree rotation, but with my 2 1/2 mintue toutine, I have to get the protractor out.

No way. 55.32365362 rotation is the only way to go on the presentation side. I finish by dividing the circumference of the steak by pi squared to determine the non-presentation side grill marks.

:rolleyes:

#18 Taboni

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 05:18 PM

Only one way to do it to any decent standard. Weber Kettle....hardwood lump charcoal (burns much hotter than briquettes) 2 zone fire ....sear on hotter side, then 2 mins a side on cooler side, for a 1 1/2"- 1 3/4" strip steak. You are never going to get the good sear you want from a gas grill. Sometimes I think about buying one just for the convenience but every time I fire up my Weber Performer I realize why I don't have gas. Curious about the frozen technique, but I never freeze anything other than ground meat. If I am going to have steak, I buy it no more than 2 days in advance, preferably the same day (living 4 blocks from my butcher helps in this case)
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#19 GG Mora

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 06:01 PM

I pretty much grill all meats (except for larger roasty-things) on my Weber POS using the crank-it-to-11 for 20 minutes (closed) then throw the meat on, leave it on high, close the lid, open and flip/rotate as necessary until cooked to desired temp (breathe) method. The POS part is the problem. Weber gas grills blow. That's why, as soon as I start to get paid again, I'm buying a 4-burner Vermont Castings grill (with rotisserie). I'm pretty sure this is the one available at Home Depot (at least here in VT) for $850. For way less money than the high-end Webers, they're supremely better-constructed. I've had an opportunity to test-drive one at a friend's house; it made me want to come home and shoot my Weber in the face.

#20 rlibkind

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 06:37 PM

I, myself, prefer a 60 degree rotation, but with my 2 1/2 mintue toutine, I have to get the protractor out.

No way. 55.32365362 rotation is the only way to go on the presentation side. I finish by dividing the circumference of the steak by pi squared to determine the non-presentation side grill marks.

:rolleyes:

:laugh:
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#21 balmagowry

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 07:31 PM

frozen steak on the grill? do you mean fully frozen or put in the freezer for a half hour? sounds scary! but i will give it a try it next time. i often buy quantities of steak from costco (damn budget) and freeze them, so not having to worry about defrosting them would be great!

Has to be pretty fully frozen for the inside to stay cool while the outside sears. How fully? YMMV, depending on the thickness of the steak and the power of the grill. If you're looking to avoid long-term freezing, you'll probably have to experiment to determine how frozen is frozen enough per inch of thickness for your particular setup. At any rate, I don't imagine 1/2 hour will be quite enough. Myself, I stock up and keep stuff in the freezer - needs must when the devil drives and the drive is an hour round-trip to the nearest store. The great thing about it is, you get home from a long day on the water, fire up the grill, haul a steak out of the freezer and put it straight on, and still eat dinner at a reasonable hour with next to no prep time. Not a bad way to spend the summer.

Scary? Only the first time. It works.

#22 balmagowry

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 07:34 PM

I, myself, prefer a 60 degree rotation, but with my 2 1/2 mintue toutine, I have to get the protractor out.

No way. 55.32365362 rotation is the only way to go on the presentation side. I finish by dividing the circumference of the steak by pi squared to determine the non-presentation side grill marks.

:rolleyes:

That's all very well as long as you're living in three dimensions. Add another dimension or two, and poof! there is no non-presentation side. Then what do you do?

#23 D. B. Brown

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 10:25 PM

For you Weber propane grillers - immediately replace the steel grates with cast-iron. My cast-iron grates give great grill marks, and I have only a two burner OLD Genesis. . . I dry the steak thoroughly, S&P, cayenne, and a dusting of paprika. With the grates heated on high till the thermometer pegs, I lay the steak on the grill, and rotate at 2.5min. I then flip at 5, and repeat. All under a closed lid.

Now for my question. Am I better served to flip at 2.5, or rotate ? For purposes of juice distribution ? I am concerned about the integrity of my grill marks, if I try to mark semi-cooked meat, on the return flip.

#24 Qwerty

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 11:41 PM

Something that is done in the pros kitchens a lot is to cover the grill grates with a alluminum sheet pan to kind of, I dunno, "reflect" the heat back onto the grates, making them significantly hotter, faster by retaining the heat.

If you have a crappy gas grill with crappy wire grates, this prob. won't help.

You can also obviously use a half-sheet pan if you have a smaller grill.

#25 scubadoo97

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 11:13 AM

For you Weber propane grillers - immediately replace the steel grates with cast-iron. My cast-iron grates give great grill marks, and I have only a two burner OLD Genesis. . . I dry the steak thoroughly, S&P, cayenne, and a dusting of paprika. With the grates heated on high till the thermometer pegs, I lay the steak on the grill, and rotate at 2.5min. I then flip at 5, and repeat. All under a closed lid.

Now for my question. Am I better served to flip at 2.5, or rotate ? For purposes of juice distribution ? I am concerned about the integrity of my grill marks, if I try to mark semi-cooked meat, on the return flip.

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Interesting my Weber Silver B came with bare cast iron grates not the porcelain ones that you commonly see. I recently replaced them with the stainless steel grates so I can burn off any food gunk and oil them down just before cooking. I saved the old ones just in case. With the old cast iron, Weber told me to leave any stuck on food gunk after cooking and when reheating the next time this would help to keep the grates seasoned. I often found on preheat I would lose some of the seasoning with high heat and the old grates were thinning out over 5 years. I find less food sticking with the SS grates compaired to the cast iron.

Oh and my technique for grilling a steak is to preheat to very hot over 600 deg make sure grates are clean and oiled, then add steak to the hot part of the grill. I leave one area cooler in case I need to move the steak to a cooler area due to flare up or to finish a thicker steak. I do the 1/4 turn a 1/4 into the cooking time on each side.

Edited by scubadoo97, 30 May 2006 - 11:17 AM.


#26 D. B. Brown

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 10:31 PM

For you Weber propane grillers - immediately replace the steel grates with cast-iron. My cast-iron grates give great grill marks, and I have only a two burner OLD Genesis. . . I dry the steak thoroughly, S&P, cayenne, and a dusting of paprika. With the grates heated on high till the thermometer pegs, I lay the steak on the grill, and rotate at 2.5min. I then flip at 5, and repeat. All under a closed lid.

Now for my question. Am I better served to flip at 2.5, or rotate ? For purposes of juice distribution ? I am concerned about the integrity of my grill marks, if I try to mark semi-cooked meat, on the return flip.

View Post


Interesting my Weber Silver B came with bare cast iron grates not the porcelain ones that you commonly see. I recently replaced them with the stainless steel grates so I can burn off any food gunk and oil them down just before cooking. I saved the old ones just in case. With the old cast iron, Weber told me to leave any stuck on food gunk after cooking and when reheating the next time this would help to keep the grates seasoned. I often found on preheat I would lose some of the seasoning with high heat and the old grates were thinning out over 5 years. I find less food sticking with the SS grates compaired to the cast iron.

Oh and my technique for grilling a steak is to preheat to very hot over 600 deg make sure grates are clean and oiled, then add steak to the hot part of the grill. I leave one area cooler in case I need to move the steak to a cooler area due to flare up or to finish a thicker steak. I do the 1/4 turn a 1/4 into the cooking time on each side.

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I'm going to have to try the 'reflective foil' technique. I will post results.
For maintenance of my cast-iron grates, I wire-brush them before grilling, and mist them with oil from a spray bottle. Then, after grilling, I wire-brush them again - while the grill is still very hot, maybe followed by another misting of oil. If you have a regular spray bottle ( like for watering plants ) the process is ridiculously simple. . . Regular usage actually serves to minimize maintenance of cast-iron grates.

#27 Lee Ratliff

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:15 AM

... my Weber Silver B came with bare cast iron grates not the porcelain ones that you commonly see.  I recently replaced them with the stainless steel grates so I can burn off any food gunk and oil them down just before cooking.  I saved the old ones just in case.  With the old cast iron, Weber told me to leave any stuck on food gunk after cooking and when reheating the next time this would help to keep the grates seasoned.  I often found on preheat I would lose some of the seasoning with high heat and the old grates were thinning out over 5 years.  I find less food sticking with the SS grates compaired to the cast iron.

View Post


My Weber came with cast iron grates and I had the same problem. I couldn't keep them seasoned due to the high heat and they corroded away within 2-3 yrs. But I loved the heat retention of the cast iron, so I replaced them with porcelain coated cast iron grates (only available at Home Depot, to my knowledge). Problem solved. Works like cast iron, but zero corrosion.

My typical steak is 1.5" thick rib-eye or NY Strip, olive oiled and seasoned with S&P. Thrown on gas grill set on high, flipped after 2 min, immediately reduce heat to medium, flip again after 7 min, remove after cumulative 13-14 minutes, and rest. Perfect med-rare every time - I don't bother checking anymore. I don't worry about cross-hatched grill marks if it's just my wife and me. Truth be told, I rarely do it for company either. I don't like to open the lid or flip the steak unnecessarily.

These days, my only variations are seasonings or marinade. Usually I do my own, but my favorite steak is a fatty rib-eye marinated in Allegro Hot & Spicy Creole marinade. Mmmmm.....

#28 scubadoo97

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 06:22 PM

I've done a lot of grilling the past couple of weeks with the new stainless steel grate and even though they don't hold as much heat they are very light weight and easy to lift to add wood to my smoker tray, they clean up very well and with a little oil prior to grilling even fish has slid right off.

#29 D. B. Brown

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:08 PM


... my Weber Silver B came with bare cast iron grates not the porcelain ones that you commonly see.  I recently replaced them with the stainless steel grates so I can burn off any food gunk and oil them down just before cooking.  I saved the old ones just in case.  With the old cast iron, Weber told me to leave any stuck on food gunk after cooking and when reheating the next time this would help to keep the grates seasoned.  I often found on preheat I would lose some of the seasoning with high heat and the old grates were thinning out over 5 years.  I find less food sticking with the SS grates compaired to the cast iron.

View Post


My Weber came with cast iron grates and I had the same problem. I couldn't keep them seasoned due to the high heat and they corroded away within 2-3 yrs. But I loved the heat retention of the cast iron, so I replaced them with porcelain coated cast iron grates (only available at Home Depot, to my knowledge). Problem solved. Works like cast iron, but zero corrosion.

My typical steak is 1.5" thick rib-eye or NY Strip, olive oiled and seasoned with S&P. Thrown on gas grill set on high, flipped after 2 min, immediately reduce heat to medium, flip again after 7 min, remove after cumulative 13-14 minutes, and rest. Perfect med-rare every time - I don't bother checking anymore. I don't worry about cross-hatched grill marks if it's just my wife and me. Truth be told, I rarely do it for company either. I don't like to open the lid or flip the steak unnecessarily.

These days, my only variations are seasonings or marinade. Usually I do my own, but my favorite steak is a fatty rib-eye marinated in Allegro Hot & Spicy Creole marinade. Mmmmm.....

View Post

For your 'naked' cast-iron, were you seasoning regularly ? . . . In nearly three years on mine, in a coastal marine environment, I have pretty much zero deterioration. This is interesting to me because at my local "Patio and Fireside", upon hearing my request for cast-iron grates, the salesman told me that he would be reluctant to sell them ( if he had them ) because of the threat of corrosion due to the marine environment. . . . maybe I've been lucky. Or maybe it's the spray bottle of canola oil.

#30 Pallee

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:31 PM

I am so impressed by the variety of responses here! I have cast iron grates - my Weber is 6 years old - I blast them with high heat and wire brush and spray them with oil after each use and spray again before each use.

I always get my steaks to room temp for at least an hour and season with salt as far in advance as I can. Get the grill as hot as it will go and then sear for a couple minutes near the front of the grill (top down) then turn 45' for a bit more. By now there's flame and I flip them over, moving to the back of the grill - turn off the flame under the back, let the front rage, give it a couple minutes, turn another 45' and turn the whole thing off. Check by touch for doneness - or if it's thick - an instant read thermometer. The residual heat is enough to finish with.

But if I have time, I use my old charcoal grill as the flavor is so much better!