This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
The one thing that sets apart steakhouse-quality steak is high heat. At most steakhouses, steaks are seared with direct heat on both sides at the same time, to create an even, dark brown crust in the shortest time. This browning process is the Maillard reaction, which releases the deliciousness of the steak. To create the best steak, we want the reaction to happen very quickly, so it browns perfectly and seals in the juices.
To achieve the same results without a professional range, the best choice is to cook the steaks on a charcoal grill. Yes, it takes a bit more time and effort to start a fire. But once you try it, you’ll never go back to gas. Compared to a gas grill, a charcoal grill generates much higher heat that is perfect for searing steaks. Plus, you get the heavenly smokiness only made possible with a charcoal grill.
We prefer Kingsford Professional Charcoal briquettes for cooking steak.
We did an experiment, comparing the standard charcoal briquettes to the Professional type. The latter became fully lit faster. It took about 15 minutes to get the fire started and ready to cook, while the standard charcoal usually takes 20 to 25 minutes.
Second, the Professional line generates higher heat, which is necessary for steakhouse-style meat. This is the most important. Because searing a steak with high heat not only creates an even and perfect golden brown crust, it also seals the moisture inside. If the charcoal is not hot enough, the steak will start to lose moisture before the browning process happens. Even worse, the surface of the steak will turn a tan-grey color and the meat will be tasteless.
That’s why professional steakhouses use two-side broilers that heat the steak from above and below, to get that perfect crust. Again, try the Kingsford Professional briquettes and you’ll be surprised at how perfect your steaks turn out, just like one you’d devour at a restaurant.
Beyond the high heat, also remember these few things:
- Choose steaks that are 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch thick. It is a good serving size and the steak will be thick enough to pick up a good smokiness from the grill without overcooking.
- Generously season the steak with salt. It helps the browning process. Plus, most of the salt will drip away with rendered fat during cooking.
- Flip the steak every one and half a minutes, to create an even crust. Read more if you want to know why we don’t want grill marks here.
- Always remember to use a thermometer to check the doneness of the steak to prevent overcooking.
- Lift the steak with a pair of tongs when measuring the temperature to get an accurate reading.
- Don’t forget that the steak will continue to cook after it’s off the grill.
- Do not let the steak rest for too long. Five minutes is enough, and the steak will only get cold if if it rests any longer.
I admit, a perfectly cooked steak won’t need any other seasoning at all. But to make the dish a bit more interesting, I introduced an easy compound butter recipe below. For more recipes on the grill, check out the Kingsford website for more delicious dishes.
Pick up a bag of Kingsford Professional Charcoal and light up that grill. Now you’re ready to deliver a steakhouse-caliber piece of meat that your family, friends, and guests will enjoy!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kingsford. The opinions and text are all mine.
COMPOUND BUTTER INGREDIENTS
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon mixed herb leaves, minced (rosemary, thyme, and / or parsley)
- 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- Pinch of salt
- 4 ribeye or New York strip steaks, 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch thick
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 chimney Kingsford Professional charcoal
COMPOUND BUTTER DIRECTIONS
- Place the butter on a cutting board. Smash it with a fork.
- Top other ingredients onto the butter. Continue using the fork to work the herbs into the butter until creamy and smooth.
- Scrape the butter together with a knife and transfer it onto a piece of baking paper (or plastic wrap). Roll the butter and shape it into a log. Store in fridge until ready to use.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When the charcoal at the top of the chimney is lit, put on heat resistant gloves, and pour the charcoal into the grill to create a two-zone fire. Spread most of the coal halfway over the coal grate, and the rest in a single layer on the other side of the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill, and preheat for 5 minutes. Clean the cooking grate. Brush grate with a thin layer of oil.
- Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Generously season both sides of each steak with sea salt and black pepper.
- Place steaks onto the hottest part of the cooking grate. Let cook uncovered. Flip each steak every one-and-a-half minutes, so that all the surfaces form an even, dark brown crust. The whole process takes about 6 minutes.
- Transfer the steaks to the cooler part of the grill. Cook uncovered, until the steaks reach desired doneness, 5 to 6 minutes for rare (120 F), 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare (125 F), 8 to 9 minutes for medium (135 to 140 F).
- Remove steaks from grill immediately and place on serving plate. Cut compound butter into small slices and place one slice onto each steak to melt.
- Let steaks rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately.