How to BBQ a Steak

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A Guide to the Techniques and Equipment You Need to Grill the Perfect Steak


So you want to know how to BBQ a steak? We can’t blame you! Nothing says summer quite like the smell of a juicy steak cooking on the barbecue. But sometimes the finished meal doesn’t live up to the hype.

To make sure the next steak you grill is cooked to perfection follow this guide to the best preparation, cooking techniques and equipment you need to BBQ the perfect steak. 

Remember your Victoria area modern general store, Capital Iron, carries everything you need to make your next BBQ dinner a success – except for the meat that is!

Be Prepared – Must-Haves for Grilling a Steak

The best way to ensure you’ll have a delicious steak every time you BBQ is to be prepared with everything you need. 

These are essentially the steps you need to follow when cooking steak on the BBQ:

  • Tenderize the meat with a marinade or seasoning
  • Research the time and temperature needed to achieve your preferred cook
  • Have the correct cooking tools on hand
  • Don’t forget to leave time for the meat to rest
  • After you’ve eaten remember to clean up the grill for next time

How to Cook a Steak on the BBQ

There are several techniques you can use to cook steaks on the BBQ, but the most important things to focus on are the cooking temperature for your prepared doneness and making sure the grill is ready.

  • Always preheat the grill. This eliminates hot spots, removes any leftover food waste and promotes even cooking. Cooking steak is all about the sear marks so preheat your gas or propane grill to at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit for that delicious crust.
  • If you’re using a charcoal or pellet grill, wait for the charcoal to turn white, then close the lid to allow heat to build up inside. Fully opening the dampers on the bottom and lid will get the temperature to maximum for the sear. Some charcoal BBQs have a built-in thermometer in the lid to help with more accurate temperature control.
  • Don’t forget the oil. Unless the steak is marinated, season it and rub generously with oil, this will stop it sticking to the grill and help create those desired sear marks.
  • Cook the steak to your liking, using the temperature and timings guide below. Mychicagosteak.com recommends cooking the steak to 5 degrees below your target temperature as it will keep cooking after it is removed from the grill.
  • Cover the meat loosely with foil and allow it to rest for about five minutes before cutting it
  • Once you have finished cooking, and the grill has cooled down, use cleaning tools such as this stainless steel brush and scraper to remove the food debris.

Internal Cooking Temperatures for Barbecuing Steak

Everyone has their preferred way to eat a steak, whether you like it medium rare or closer to well done, the choice is yours. The doneness of a steak is determined by the internal temperature that the meat is cooked to while on the grill.

Although there are experienced chefs who can tell the doneness of a piece of steak by touch, most people can’t and so it is wise to invest in a good meat thermometer that can give you an instant temperature reading.

It is recommended that steak be cooked to the following temperatures for your desired finish:

  • Medium Rare – 145oF
  • Medium – 160oF
  • Medium well – 165oF
  • Well done – 170oF

*Remember, remove the meat from the heat when it is 5- 10 degrees below the finish you want.

Steak Grilling Times on the Barbecue

So now you have an idea what temperature to aim for when cooking steak, but when you want to plan a meal it’s good to know how long this will take. 

When it comes to grilling steaks, the thickness of the meat makes a difference. The thicker the steak, the longer it will take the inside to come up to your desired temperature.

For example: For medium-rare steak, that is about 1 inch thick, it is best to cook it for five to six minutes on each side until it reaches around 140oF and has a firm but moist texture.

This handy chart from Canadian Living details the required temperature for your preferred doneness of steak, as well as the time it takes to reach these temperatures depending on the thickness of your cut of meat. 

Barbecuing Steak: Must Have Tools

Make your grilling session easier and simpler by investing in some useful BBQ tools and accessories such as:

  • Meat tenderizer – softens meat fibers, making them easier to chew and digest, especially useful for thicker steaks. 
  • Instant-read meat thermometer – for accurate internal meat temperatures. 
  • BBQ tongs – long, heavy duty tongs are essential for flipping meat, allowing you to move the meat easily without burning your arms.
  • High-heat gloves – to protect yourself from the risk of burns.

Best BBQ Steak Marinades

So now you know the tools and techniques to cooking a great steak, but one other thing that can contribute to a juicy, tasty BBQ steak dinner is to marinade the meat before you cook it.

Marbled cuts of meat benefit from marinating as the process helps to tenderize the meat.

Prime cuts generally don’t require marinating, they can just be seasoned before cooking for flavour. However, some people prefer to marinate steak no matter the cut – it’s all up to personal preference. 

You can leave the steak marinating overnight or for as little as one hour. Generally, the longer the steak is marinated, the more tender it will be. 

Steak marinades can be made to suit your personal preference but usually contain a combination of the following:

  • Oil – Olive oil or another oil that can handle high heat
  • Acid – balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice are good options
  • Soy sauce or an alternative such as Worcestershire sauce, Tamari or coconut aminos
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flavour enhancers like garlic and herbs

Check out this list of 17 Steak Marinade Recipes for some flavour inspiration.

Prepare for BBQ Season at Capital Iron

If you need a new barbecue or equipment to make grilling sessions easier, look no further than Capital Iron. With two stores to choose from in Victoria and the West Shore, we have everything you need for BBQ season.

Come in and check out our barbecue selection and cooking and cleaning equipment. You can even find patio heaters, drinks coolers and umbrellas to complete your outdoor dining space in our one-stop shop.

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