The Food Lab's Perfect Grilled Steaks Recipe

The only technique you need for exceptional grilled steaks: Let them rest after seasoning, and cook them over a two-zone fire.

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Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

The ribeye comes with a large, tender eye of meat surrounded by a swath of fat and a cap that comes from the spinalis muscle. This cap is far and away the juiciest, most flavorful piece of meat that you'll find on any steak.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 90 mins
Serves: 2 to 3 servings

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Ingredients

  • 2 large ribeye or strip steaks, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, about 2 pounds (900g) total (see note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Season steaks liberally with salt. Set on a plate and let rest for at least 40 minutes or up to 4 days. If resting longer than 40 minutes, transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to cook.

  2. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Season steak with pepper and place on cooler side of grill. Cover and cook, with all vents open, flipping and taking temperature every few minutes, until steaks register 105°F (41°C) for medium-rare or 115°F (46°C) for medium on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes total.

  3. Transfer steaks to hot side of grill and cook, flipping frequently, until a deep char has developed and internal temperature registers 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare or 135°F (57°C) for medium, about 2 minutes total. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 10. Carve and serve immediately.

Special equipment

Charcoal grill, instant-read thermometer, wire rack and rimmed baking sheet (optional)

Notes

For best results, use prime, bone-in ribeye steaks. Ask your butcher to cut them at least one and a half inches thick. Each bone-in steak should be about one pound. Boneless steaks can be used as well; they should be about 12 ounces. New York strip, porterhouse, T-bone, or tenderloin steaks can be used in place of ribeye.

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