February 16th, 2010

Top 10 Steak Grilling Tips

Top 10 Steak Grilling Tips (From a Real-Live Chef!)

If you think grilling a steak is as simple as slapping a piece of meat you bought at the supermarket on a grill and flipping it a few times, you’re missing out on what could be THE GREATEST STEAK OF YOUR LIFE.

Here are some grilling tips from an honest-to-goodness chef that’ll make your next steak meal your finest work ever.

1. Choose the right cut of meat — Some cuts of meat are better for grilling than others. I, personally, prefer to grill strip steaks over other cuts because you get a nice combination of fat and meat for a great flavor. Filet mignon, on the other hand, I prefer to pan sear because it is so lean and I can add fat and flavors in the pan.  Experiment!  Ultimately, no one can tell you what you like, you have to find it for yourself.  Here are the pros and cons of each cut:

cuts of steak

2. Choose the right quality of meat — Nothing ruins a good steak dinner like a bad steak. A lot of places sell poor quality meat, so make sure you choose a reputable supplier so you know you are getting your money’s worth.  I always find premium quality steaks online.  By law, all meats are inspected for wholesomeness so no one is selling you meat that will kill you, but grading is a voluntary system.  Meats are graded on several categories, including the marbling of fat and the amount of connective tissue.  Sure, it may be fit to eat but do you want to eat it?  Prime is the highest quality, followed by choice and select.  Choice meats are very high quality steaks and the most common steak used in the restaurant industry. Here are a few pointers to track down the perfect quality & cut of steak:

  • Get to know your butcher, call and ask when they receive orders
  • Special order cuts you know you want
  • Ask them to cut meat just for you (you’d be surprised what they will do for you)
  • Order just the grade that you want
  • Ask how long they keep their steaks if they don’t sell them

USDA Prime Steaks

3. Season early — You should salt your meat even before you start your coals. If you throw salt on right before you put it on the grill you end up leaving salt all over the grill, not on your steak. So season your steaks about fifteen minutes before you put them on the grill. That gives the salt a chance to dissolve and evenly flavor your meat.  Sea salt is all the rage now and chefs like to fancy up a plate by using specialty salts like Hawaiian Pink Salt or Fleur de Sel. Sometimes a little good salt is all that a steak needs.

Steak Seasoning

4. Take ‘em out early — Let your steaks sit on the counter for at least twenty minutes. I know it doesn’t seem sanitary, but since steaks are whole muscles and you are cooking the outside well above safe levels, you won’t need to worry so much about food-borne illness. The problem with throwing your steaks on the grill right out of the refrigerator is that it will take them a lot longer to cook. Steaks at room temperature take seasoning better and will cook faster. Unfortunately, meat takes time to cook and if you are in too much of a hurry to cook it you are probably in too much of a hurry to really enjoy it.  Take your time and learn to enjoy cooking your steak almost as much as eating it.

5. Use charcoal — Gas grills work great for cooking food but can sometimes impart a gas flavor to your meat. I like to use natural hardwood charcoal started in a chimney. Don’t use lighter fluid; it defeats the purpose of using hardwood charcoal.  You want to smell the steak roasting over the coals – that is the best part! Some people swear by mesquite soaked in apple juice others say you cook your steak too fast to get any benefit.  Wood chips can add flavor if you are smoking your meat but that usually takes a lot more time than it takes to grill a steak.  My recommendation is that if you are curious, play around see if you can taste and enjoy the difference.

Steaks on Grill

6. Hot coals — Set your coals up so that you have zones of cooking. Always start off on a hot spot. You want good color and flavor from the high heat. When you flip it, don’t put it down on the same spot as before — it will be cooler. Find another hot spot to continue getting good color and flavor.

7. Don’t touch it! — This is one of the biggest mistakes a home cook makes. Everyone wants to keep checking the food to see if it is done. Leave it alone. Know how thick your steak is and roughly how long it takes to cook. Flip it once and give it a quarter turn once on each side. The more you touch it the better chance you have of screwing it up. Check out this grilling chart as a guide on how to cook steaks:

steak grilling tips chart

Grilling Chart courtesy of www.kansascitysteaks.com

8. Make it pretty — Use the hot grill to create “cross-hatch” grill marks. Set your steak down at a 45-degree angle from your grill lines. About a quarter of the way through cooking, give it a quarter turn. Half-way through cooking, flip it once. Give it a final quarter turn for the last bit of cooking. When finished you should have a steak that looks like it belongs on a commercial. This might not be the most important thing in your day, but if you’re on a first date or trying to impress then try this!

Steaks on Grill

9. Leave it alone — There’s nothing worse than taking a beautiful steak and covering it with other flavors. Sauces, rubs and butters are fine but if I’m going to eat a steak I like to taste steak. If you are using a lesser cut of meat or poorer quality, marinades are a great tool. But we are talking steak here and all it needs is a little salt, pepper and some heat to cook over.  So refer to rule #2 and source and buy only good quality meat.

Finishing Salt

10. Make all your condiments early — One trap many people fall into when they grill meat is trying to cook the rest of the meal at the same time. Your kitchen is inside; your grill (if you are following tip #5) should be outside. Don’t try to run between the two. You will only end up ruining your steak or your side dish — or both. Plan your meal to get your extras done early so you can focus solely on your grilling. I mean, it deserves it, doesn’t it? I like a simple compound butter made of softened, unsalted butter, garlic, a little red wine and some cracked pepper. Mix it all together, (in a mixer, if you can, so it is smooth), roll it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge up to two weeks before you cook your steak. One pat on top of each steak can be a nice treat.

Filet with Finishing Butter

60 Responses to “Top 10 Steak Grilling Tips”

  1. John M Says:

    What about using tongs to move and turn the meat? I’ve always heard you shouldn’t use forks.

  2. Garry Kansas City Says:

    very nice article. I consider myself a grill master, and I always read these types of article with amusement, but I must say all of your points are perfect.

    The only thing I have been changing up recently is going back to using starter fluid. The problem I had with using a chimney is the grill itself. With the chimey I can not heat up and “sanitize” the grill surface. I am against washing ….so … I use fluid, soak the coal … wait ten minutes.. soak them again….. and then light them … then I splatter the fluid all over the place …… over the grill , the sides …. everywher …. then it become a bonfire. I use top quality fluid, and I wait until the fire is totally out. This method ensure the grill is sanitary…


  3. I sell Philippine Properties Says:

    If you think grilling a steak is as simple as slapping a piece of meat you bought at the supermarket on a grill and flipping it a few times, you’re missing out on what could be THE GREATEST STEAK OF YOUR LIFE.

    ^ I think it was. I never thought it was this complicated.

  4. James Says:

    Hi, great site and thanks for the tips! I always wondered how they got those nice lines on a steak. Unfortunately I don’t have an outdoor grill. Do you recommend a grill plate for indoor steak cooking? Also, I’ve heard that you shouldn’t finish the steak on the stove, but that you should cook it just until it has a nice crust on the outside and finish it in the oven. Is that true? What do you think about it? Thanks for the article!

  5. Holycowsteak! Says:

    What an insightful information, great article!!!
    very nice indeed, back to grillin now!!
    twitter account : @holycowsteak

  6. Derek Says:

    I will add a few tips that have served me well to this good article.

    1) I have yet to perfect my grilling times (which differ with every grill), so I use a grilling thermometer to poke a single hole and take the center temperature. An important thing to remember is that the center of the steak will continue to cook even after you remove it from the grill (up to 10 deg. more)

    2) After you remove your steak from the grill, let it cool about 5-10min before serving, cutting a steaming steak will cause you to loose a lot of juices.

    3) I use a gas grill (I am too busy to wait for charcoal, if you can wait, that is preferred). In order to get those nice steak lines, you want to take the grill up to at least 400 deg. BEFORE you put the steaks on. This not only makes the steak look good, but it also sears the bottom of the steak locking in the tasty juices inside.

    4) I like adding just a hint of Feta cheese, or salt to top my steak. This adds a slight flavor but does not cover the flavor of the steak like A1 or other heavy sauces do.

    That is all I can think of off the top of my head, hope these help others. Cooking your first great steak is a great feeling!

  7. JR Says:

    Great tips! I’m very partial to salt and pepper only on steak, regardless of the cut. I’ll usually put a small splash of a good olive oil on both sides of a cut like London Broil to add a bit of fat and flavor, but otherwise, S&P is fine.

    As for gas grilling, I agree that charcoal is the best method, however, when you don’t have time to get charcoal ready, or it’s 10 degrees outside, a natural gas grill is much better than propane. There’s no nasty propane smell, the heat is high enough to get a good char on the outside of the meat, and it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice!

  8. marc Says:

    Great article! I will put these tips to use.
    By The way…not to be a grammer nazi but I believe “others say you cook your steak to fast to get any benefit” should be “others say you cook your steak too fast to get any benefit”

  9. Dena P Says:

    I LOVE grammar Nazis! Thanks! It’s fixed now. 🙂

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  10. Dena P Says:

    Yes, you should always use tongs to turn the meat so not to lose any delicious juices.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  11. Dena P Says:

    I’ve used a regular heavy duty pan like a cast iron skillet and a grill plate on top of the stove and both work equally well. But it definitely depends on the cut of steak when cooking on top of the stove as to whether it should be finished in the oven or not. If you have a thinner steak such as strip or ribeye, finishing on the stove would be much easier than with a filet mignon. Click here to see more helpful tips on pan searing!

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  12. 2fat2fly Says:

    What? New York steak is not on the list?

  13. Ron in Houston Says:

    Learned this tip from Cooks Illustrated –

    build a dual zone fire – pile the coals on one side of the grill – that way you have one side to sear and give you good grill marks and another side to finish the cooking at a slower rate.

  14. Garry Says:

    Would you please address how you heat/sanitize the grill surface when you use a chimney? If you unleash the coals and wait for them to heat the surface you lose valuable cooking time, coals do not last very long once they are ready. I would rather use a chimey than fluid …but ….. How did you solve this?

    I use a regular sized Weber grill when using charccoal and a 1993 styled Ducane grill when using propane.

  15. Dena P Says:

    New York Strip is the same cut as Kansas City Strip. So, we’ve got you covered!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  16. Garry Says:

    I will take that as a no.
    Allrighty then.

  17. justin Says:

    a backup to learn how done it is by how soft it is to prod. Prod your face, then compare: Cheek = rare, chin = medium, forehead = well done.

  18. Gough Says:

    The only tip I take exception to is #7 “Don’t touch it.” My brother-in-law is a retired chef/restaurant owner and taught me how to judge the “done-ness” of a steak by touch. The more well-done the steak, the firmer. Practice by touching the steak (with a closed set of tongs) and checking the temp with an instant-read thermometer. It doesn’t take long to develop this skill.

    This is especially handy when grilling over charcoal, as the fire by be a bit hotter or cooler from one time to the next. That makes timing the cooking aproximate at best.

  19. Maria Says:

    I just found this website -my husband is gonna love it! Can’t wait to try out these suggestions!

    Tasty Italian Cooking

  20. Dena P Says:

    Hey, Garry!
    Prior to emptying the coals from the chimney take a cut lemon and cover the cut side with kosher or sea salt and then rub it over the grill. It will clean and help sanitize. If you do this beforehand, you won’t have to wait to clean the grill and can just let it get hot. This trick also works well for sanitizing cutting boards when you are camping. If you are using a chimney, once the coals are hot and you empty them in the grill put the lid on for a few minutes to allow the rack to heat up. Unfortunately, you are right, natural charcoal burns faster and your window for cooking is less so you don’t want to wait and lose that peak window. You can increase the amount of coals you use slightly to compensate or add a few extra coals at the bottom and pour the hot chimney coals over them It’s a trade off to avoid that lighter fluid flavor. Hope that helps!

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  21. Dena P Says:

    Hey, Garry!
    Prior to emptying the coals from the chimney take a cut lemon and cover the cut side with kosher or sea salt and then rub it over the grill. It will clean and help sanitize. If you do this beforehand, you won’t have to wait to clean the grill and can just let it get hot. This trick also works well for sanitizing cutting boards when you are camping. If you are using a chimney, once the coals are hot and you empty them in the grill put the lid on for a few minutes to allow the rack to heat up. Unfortunately, you are right, natural charcoal burns faster and your window for cooking is less so you don’t want to wait and lose that peak window. You can increase the amount of coals you use slightly to compensate or add a few extra coals at the bottom and pour the hot chimney coals over them It’s a trade off to avoid that lighter fluid flavor. Hope that helps!

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  22. DNA Says:

    These tips are all spot on.
    If you don’t have a grill, try broiling in the oven using the same chart.
    Put the meat about 2 inches from the broiler, keep you oven door ajar so the heat stays on and TURN ON THE VENT FAN!
    I would broil a steak in the oven before putting on a gas grill.

  23. mike vandepeer Says:

    Turning with a fork or tongs doesn’t seem to matter mutchto me.

    I think the bit that really matters is the “Take Em out Early” strategy.
    Too many people are obsessed with the idea that getting the meat a little warm before you cook the steaks will let the bugs grow.
    Sure it does but they only grow on the surface and we sear them off anyway. (don’t leave mince out only solid cuts like steak or chops-with mince its all surface).
    The shock of fridgecold muscle(steak) dropped on a hot plate causes the muscle to toughen so bring em out early to lessen that shock.

  24. Steve Says:

    Now I have found how this thing works, let me get to the commits.
    ieSpell is a great tool.
    I have been cooking a porterhouse t-bone steak for my wife and I for each Saturday night for the past 20 plus years. Their are some basic rules I have learned doing this.
    1. Lay the steak out and season it 30 min. before cooking.
    2. I use charcoal in a small round smoker with a pan and the charcoal is 8 inches from the grill. The charcoal has to burn for 15 mins. put the lid on the cooker, let it burn for another 15 mins. The new Premium charcoal burns faster and hotter.
    Clean the grill and oil it, let it set another min or two. Place the steak on the grill and replace the lid. Let the 1″ steak cook for 10 mins and turn over the steak and let it cook another 10 mins.
    Let the steak rest for 3 to 5 mins before you cut it.
    I eat the NY strip side and my wife eats the filet side.
    Enjoy If your steak is tuff, you miss treated!

  25. Steve Says:

    If you stick it with a fork you let the juices out.

  26. Steve Says:

    Best way to ruin a steak is cook it in the oven. Charcoal and wood fired works best.

  27. JTNK Says:

    Thanks ! This the great grilling tips for everyone who like delicious grilled steak and BBQ.

  28. Jophus Says:

    What about marinades? I plan on grilling some top sirloin steaks soon and I planned on marinading them for 24 hours. Is this a bad idea? Is it better to just put some oil, salt and pepper on them instead of marinading? I would like to add either feta or blue cheese on top of the steaks. Should I add the cheese as the steak is simmering after grilling? Thanks.

  29. Maureen Says:

    It’s always a personal preference when seasoning steaks. If you want to use a marinade, check out this list. When adding cheese, it’s always best to add it after the steak is off the grill, while it’s resting. It will still be hot enough to melt the cheese.

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  30. Chuck Hurst Says:

    I’ve been grilling for the past 25 years and I’ve never done any of the steps outlined above, but my steaks come out fantastic everytime. Gas grill, right out of the fridge.

  31. nando Says:

    I’m heading straight to my grill all this STEAK talk made me hungry YUMMY . Thanks for the article

  32. John Says:

    If you really want a good steak try Kalmes Deluxe Seasoning and Tenderizer on a USDA Choice Ribeye. I use it in my catering business and often hear. That is the best steak I have ever had. And I grill several thousand steaks every year.Once you try it you’ll never grill a steak without it again .

  33. Johnny Says:

    Great tips! Thanks!!

  34. georgetown youth baseball Says:

    this is really great tips on steak

  35. bruce Says:

    I do a steak exactly like that but I was taught sometime ago not to salt raw beef before cooking. Maybe I’m confused and that just refered to ground beef for burgers. I just use a little onion powder and pepper, and salt can be added as desired after cooking. But as far as the rest of the technique… perfect steak every time!Thank you.

  36. Jack Says:

    I see lots of mythology in these posts. Here’s what I’ve learned:

    Reducing the chill from a fridge ahead of cooking does help to cook more evenly inside and out.

    Salting ahead of cooking doesn’t extract enough moisture to make any difference, but does add lots of flavor to the sear.

    Searing doesn’t seal in juices, it only makes it taste and look better.

    Tongs are just easier to use and provide better control. Unless your stabbing the beast to pieces, a fork is just fine.

    Charcoal fluid contains carcinogens, use with extreme caution! Also, it is not a medium for purifying, it doesn’t burn with enough heat for that.

    Using the oven does not dry out the meat. It’s all how you use it. Many if not all chefs start a large steak on the grill (400-500F) and finish it in the oven (350F). Same can be done on a grill with varied heat zones.

    Use a combination of timing and touch to determine doneness. Use a quickprobe if you must. It all depends on grill heat (factoring outdoor temp, wind, rain, surface size), meat thickness, muscle to fat ratio and whether it has a bone or not.

    To turn frequently or not is interesting. Consider the Churrasco method where is it constantly turned and is cooked perfectly. I tend to turn once for under one and a half inches and maybe more turns for thicker. A full roast beef is great when periodically turned.


  37. Damon Says:

    Jack just dominated this forum with fact and logic. Thank you Jack!

    I’ve actually never ever heard anyone worry about sanitizing the surface of a metal grill that is 450+ degrees. Cleaning, sure. But germs, doubt they’re a problem. Stay away from petroleum starter fluids and you’ll be healthy enough to eat some germs.

    The article is great! Good tips, but if you do the total opposite and love your steaks, stick with it! Enjoy!

  38. Steve Fleischman Says:

    Doneness: THE BOUNCE
    Get you know your steak by pushing on the surface
    with your spatula and understanding “the bounce” of the spatula.
    What you are trying feel for is the wellness-rawness of the meat. It takes some practice but once you get it you amaze your guests by always knowing Med to Rare and becoming a grill expert.
    The major steak houses pass salted butter on the top of the steak
    before serving for flavor and presentation. I always make one or two passes with a stick of butter on each side. Creates flavor and the “look” of a really moist steak.

  39. Lyla Burns Says:

    Thank you so much for this information. My husband and I love to grill, especially steaks! We just bought a vertical smoker and we can’t wait to see how meet cooks in it! thanks again!

  40. Mark B Says:

    I have a Weber. I usually put the lid on after the first few minutes, seems to cook them through more evenly, but I’d be interested in your thoughts on the question – lid on or lid off?

  41. wayne m. Says:

    This may seem silly but, after the steak sits for 5-10 minutes. It gets cold, do you put it in the micro-wave? Or just eat it as is? Thanks

  42. Dena P Says:

    Hi, Mark!

    Lid on is the way to go! It definitely seems to cook more thoroughly. Thanks for your thoughts!


  43. Dena P Says:

    Hi, Wayne!

    Definitely it’s a personal preference as far as the microwave goes. But…I don’t like to put my beautiful steaks in the microwave. I’d rather put them back on the grill just long enough to take the cold away or make sure to eat them after they sit, but when they are still warm!

    Thanks for your comment!


  44. Ali C Says:

    Well prepared guide to steak cooking. Here is a similar blog I’ve put together recently.


  45. lolokech Says:

    Thank you dena for this artiicle its very helpful 🙂

  46. Bob O Says:

    I just want to thank you all so much for your words. I love a good Steak to the limit and have never been able to make my own like Out Back. I see I have been making some major errors and look forward to my next time at the grill.

  47. BBuzz - 2 Says:

    This is the best guide I have found. I’ll never grill any other way. Thanks

  48. Grilling Tips for the 4th of July Cookouts | One Norman Square Says:

    […] is cooked perfectly. Whether you’re new to the process or an experienced chef, we all could use grilling tips to help make our cookout a memorable experience. Grill like a pro with these […]

  49. Bruce & Marion Baker Says:

    We always have renters on vacaion that would like to grill out with us. The most important thing is ask how they like their steak & room temp & good choice of meat.
    Bruce & Marion Baker Owner Operated

  50. ron Says:

    I think some people try to make grilling more difficult than it needs to be. I’m about quick,and easy and little fuss. I don’t care for charcoal because it takes to long to set up. I use my gas grill often for burgers,steaks,chicken,garlic bread,etc. I don’t fret about grill marks either for myself.To much char is not healthy. Charred food contains carcinogens. Also I use aluminum foil on the grill because it makes for easy clean-up and my grill and parts last a lot longer.I also happen to think that charring meat over open flame is not too healthy. Despite breaking every cardinal grilling rule I still know how to char, cook medium rare,done,well done,sear,how to cook chicken on indirect heat,etc,etc,etc. Grilling is an art, not a science and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Thanks for all the helpful tips though. Enjoyed the article .

  51. Angie Says:

    Finally! A source that gives me the info I’m looking for without making me feel like an idiot and just getting to the point. I’m 41 and have dabbled in the grilling thing for years but always disappoint myself. Your tips have really helped me! THANK YOU:)

  52. Andrea Says:

    Did I miss the part where someone indicates HOW MUCH charcoal or HOW CLOSE TO/FAR FROM the grill rack it should be? I don’t see how any of this information helps if you don’t tell me *that*, since heat that’s too far or too close won’t do what your instructions assume the heat is doing … and now that I’m cooking my steak and the person who started up the Weber for me has left for work, I’m looking at it and thinking he put far too little charcoal and that it can’t possibly be a good thing that it’s at least five or six inches below the rack.

  53. Dena P Says:

    Here’s a response from the Kansas City Steak Company – the source of those tips:

    We apologize that our grilling tips do not include more information covering the amount of charcoals to use. We were not able to include this information because it will vary based on the size and type of grill you are using. However typically your grill manufacturer will include information such as this in the box with your grill. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any other questions.


  54. Darcy Says:

    Hey folks. As a former line cook and veteran grill master I thought I should add my two cents.
    First I want to point out that the BEST fuel for grilling, without exception, are hardwoods. Which hardwoods to use is a personal preference, though mesquite, Apple wood, hickory, cherry, and a few varieties of oak are the most commonly used varieties. Of course a wood fire is by far the most difficult and time consuming method, but if you want the absolute best possible flavor, choose a high quality, properly aged hardwood as your grilling fuel.
    Secondly, I want to ensure everyone that salting meats before cooking DOES NOT dry it out. This is an old wives tale from back to times when salting was a method of preservation. If you like the way steak tastes at your local steakhouse then you’ll want to salt (and pepper) room temperature steaks between 15 and 30 minutes prior to grilling.
    Thirdly, set a Paula Dean sized pat of VERY COLD compound butter on top of each steak right after they hit the grill. This will slowly melt over and soak in. I also add another pat once they are flipped, and in that regard any chef worth his salt will never flip a steak more than once.
    Lastly, I’d like to add that no steak should ever be cooked beyond medium rare and anyone who likes steak cooked past medium rare was probably fed cube steaks and such as a youth, has some sort of mental aversion to anything blood related, or has simply never had a great steak. I have been to several restaurants that require a liability waiver for steaks cooked beyond med rare. OVERCOOKING IS THE MOST COMMON WAY STEAKS ARE RUINED. Remember, you can always throw it back onto the grill for a few minutes if it’s undercooked!
    Hope this helps.
    Steak: It’s what’s for dinner!

    PS- Check out Eat Steak by The Reverend Horton Heat

  55. ihateautotune Says:

    Darcy, I agree with you for the most part except I use an natural hardwood charcoal briquette ( I dont want the steak to taste like hickory,pecan, etc…).
    Andrea, the amount of charcoal depends on the amount of food being cooked and the amount of heat that is desired. Depending on the grill, start out but using a single layer of charcoal to cover the bottom of the grill. Then, stack in a pyramid form and and light. Wait until the coals ash over (mostly) and spread. You can always stack more lit coals on one side for more heat. (:

  56. T-Bone Steak Says:

    As for gas cookery, I agree that charcoal is that the best technique, however, once you don’t have time to induce charcoal prepared, or it’s ten degrees outside, a fossil fuel grill is way higher than fuel. There’s no nasty fuel smell, the warmth is high enough to induce an honest char on the surface of the beef, and it’s able to go at a moment’s notice!

  57. JimT Says:

    Thanks for the great tips everyone! I feel like I may knowmy way around a grill now…

  58. Chuck Berkman Says:

    What a non answer!

  59. Tom Says:

    Does this mean that we’ve been doing it all wrong by grilling our steaks in a big, deep cast iron skillet? Meat market steaks, kosher salt, cast iron skillet. Pretty bad, eh?

  60. Tony Says:

    I got a Traeger about 2 years ago. It has become easier to cook and they taste GREAT!!!