How to Grill Steak on Charcoal Grill

When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission with no extra cost to you.

You want to savor the mouthwatering taste of a perfectly grilled steak, and what better way to achieve that than by using a charcoal grill?

Grilling steak on a charcoal grill adds a depth and complexity of flavor that you just can’t replicate with any other cooking method.

In this article, we will guide you through the process, step by step, so you can confidently grill a steak that is tender, juicy, and bursting with smoky goodness.

Get ready to elevate your grilling game and become a true steak grilling master.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right cut of steak for grilling, such as ribeye, New York strip, or T-bone.
  • Pay attention to the thickness of the steak as it affects cooking time.
  • Consider the tenderness and flavor of different cuts, as well as the importance of marbling.
  • Experiment with different seasoning methods, such as dry rubs or marinades, to enhance the flavor of the steak.

Choosing the Right Cut of Steak

Now, let’s talk about how you can choose the right cut of steak for grilling on your charcoal grill.

When it comes to grilling steak, choosing the right cut is crucial for a delicious and satisfying meal. Different cuts of steak have varying levels of tenderness and flavor, so it’s important to select one that suits your preferences.

Popular cuts for grilling include ribeye, New York strip, and T-bone steaks. These cuts are known for their marbling, which enhances the flavor and juiciness of the meat when cooked.

Additionally, consider the thickness of the steak as it affects the cooking time. Thicker cuts require longer cooking times to ensure they are cooked to the desired doneness.

Lastly, think about the cooking techniques and marinade options that pair well with your chosen cut of steak. For example, a ribeye steak can be grilled using the direct heat method for a perfect medium-rare finish, while marinating a flank steak in a tangy chimichurri sauce can add an extra layer of flavor.

Preparing the Charcoal Grill

First, make sure the coals are evenly spread out in the grill. This is crucial for achieving an even cooking temperature and preventing hot spots.

To light the charcoal, use a chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes. Place crumpled newspaper or fire starters in the bottom of the chimney and light them. Once the coals are glowing red and covered in ash, carefully pour them onto the grill grates.

To control the grill temperature, adjust the vents on the bottom and top of the grill. Opening the vents will increase airflow and raise the temperature, while closing them will decrease airflow and lower the temperature.

It’s important to monitor the temperature throughout the grilling process to ensure your steak cooks to perfection.

Seasoning the Steak

To enhance the flavor of your meat, generously rub the steak with a mixture of salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices. Seasoning the steak is an essential step in grilling that can elevate the taste to new heights.

While marinating techniques are popular, there are alternative seasoning methods that can add a burst of flavor to your steak. One option is to create a dry rub by combining various spices like paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. This mixture can be applied to the steak before grilling, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat as it cooks.

Another alternative is to use a marinade, which involves soaking the steak in a flavorful liquid for a period of time before grilling. This allows the meat to absorb the flavors and become tender.

Experiment with different seasoning methods to find your preferred taste.

Preheating the Grill

Make sure you preheat the charcoal grill to the desired temperature before placing the steak on the grill. Preheating is crucial for achieving a perfectly cooked steak. Temperature control during preheating is important because it allows the grill grates to reach the ideal temperature for searing and cooking the steak evenly.

To maintain even heat distribution on a charcoal grill, start by arranging the charcoal in a single layer and lighting it evenly. This will ensure that the heat is distributed evenly across the grill. Additionally, you can use a chimney starter to preheat the charcoal before adding it to the grill. This method helps to eliminate any cold spots on the grill and ensures consistent heat throughout the cooking process.

Lastly, make sure to keep the grill lid closed while preheating to trap the heat and maintain a steady temperature. By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a perfectly grilled steak with a delicious sear and juicy center.

Searing the Steak

Now, it’s time to sear the steak to lock in the juices and create a delicious crust on the outside. Achieving the perfect sear requires a few key steps. Follow these tips for flipping the steak to ensure a mouthwatering result:

  • Use a pair of long-handled tongs to carefully flip the steak. Avoid using a fork, as it can puncture the meat and cause the juices to escape.
  • Flip the steak only once during the cooking process. Constant flipping can prevent the steak from developing a desirable crust and can result in uneven cooking.
  • Allow the steak to sear undisturbed for a few minutes on each side. This will allow the surface to caramelize, creating a flavorful crust.

Achieving the Desired Doneness

When checking for the desired doneness of your steak, remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked to your preferred level of tenderness. Monitoring the temperature is crucial in achieving a perfectly cooked steak.

Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak without touching the bone. For a rare steak, the internal temperature should be around 125°F (52°C), for medium-rare aim for 135°F (57°C), and for medium, the temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).

Testing for doneness can also be done by using the touch method. Press the steak with your fingertip, and if it feels soft and squishy, it is rare. As it becomes firmer, it indicates a higher level of doneness.

Resting and Slicing the Steak

To achieve optimal tenderness, let the steak rest for a few minutes after removing it from the heat source before slicing. This resting time allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful steak.

When it comes to slicing the steak, it is important to use the proper technique to ensure tender and succulent bites. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Always slice against the grain: This means cutting perpendicular to the muscle fibers. Slicing against the grain helps break up the tough connective tissue, resulting in a more tender bite.
  • Use a sharp knife: A sharp knife will make clean cuts through the meat, minimizing any tearing or shredding.
  • Slice thinly: Thin slices allow for easier chewing and a more enjoyable eating experience.

Serving and Enjoying the Perfectly Grilled Steak

Once you have the perfectly grilled steak ready, it’s time to plate it and savor every delicious bite. Pairing the grilled steak with delicious side dishes can elevate the entire dining experience. Consider serving it with classic favorites like a baked potato, grilled asparagus, or a fresh garden salad. These sides complement the rich flavor of the steak and add variety to your meal.

To enhance the flavor of your grilled steak, marinating it beforehand is a great option. Marinating allows the meat to soak up delicious flavors and tenderize the steak. For extra flavor, try using a marinade with ingredients like garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and your favorite herbs and spices. Let the steak marinate for at least 30 minutes, but for even more flavor, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Let the Steak Rest After Grilling Before Slicing It?

After grilling your steak, it’s important to let it rest before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak. Give it about 5-10 minutes to rest before diving in.

Can I Use Lighter Fluid to Start the Charcoal Grill?

Sure, you can use lighter fluid to start your charcoal grill, but there are better alternatives. Using a chimney starter with newspaper or paraffin cubes is safer and won’t leave a chemical taste on your food.

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Charcoal Grill After Grilling Steak?

To clean your charcoal grill after grilling steak, start by removing the grates and brushing off any excess debris. Then, use a mixture of warm soapy water and a scrub brush to scrub the grill thoroughly. Rinse and dry before storing.

Should I Season the Steak Before or After Preheating the Grill?

Before preheating the grill, season the steak to enhance its flavor. There are various seasoning techniques you can use, such as dry rubs or marinades. Experiment to find the one that suits your taste best.

Can I Use a Gas Grill Instead of a Charcoal Grill to Achieve the Same Results?

To achieve the same results as grilling on a charcoal grill, you can use a gas grill. However, there are pros and cons to both methods. Let’s explore the differences between gas and charcoal grilling.


In conclusion, you now have the knowledge and skills to grill a perfectly juicy and flavorful steak on a charcoal grill. By choosing the right cut of steak, preparing the grill, seasoning the meat, and properly searing it, you can achieve the desired doneness and create a mouthwatering meal.

Remember to let the steak rest before slicing it to ensure maximum juiciness. So fire up that grill, grab your favorite cut of steak, and get ready to impress your friends and family with your grilling prowess.

Enjoy every delicious bite!