For the carnivores among us, a thick, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth steak is high on the list of favorite meals. Grilling a 2-inch steak may take practice to get to the point where adding butter or sauces seems a sacrilege.
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Pay attention to details such as steak grilling times and the quality of meat, however, and soon you'll be grilling like a true grillmaster. On his website, retired professional chef Dennis Littley, aka Chef Dennis, offers a few simple guidelines for grilling steak — tips you can start using today and have a mouth-watering dinner ready tonight.
Choose High-Quality Meat
If you're grilling 2-inch steak, the USDA's grading system will help you choose the best cut. Beef is graded for its quality as follows:
- Prime: Prime beef comes from young, well-fed cattle and has abundant marbling — that is, its fat content. This cut is an excellent choice for grilling steak. Tips from the USDA and Chef Dennis concur that prime beef will give superior flavor, tenderness and juiciness.
- Choice: This cut is still high-quality but has less marbling than prime cuts. Choice cuts from the loin and rib will be tender and flavorful, says the USDA. Less tender cuts might be better suited for roasting, braising or simmering with liquid rather than grilling.
- Select: Much leaner than prime or choice cuts, select beef may lack the juiciness and flavor of its higher-quality counterparts. When grilling 2-inch steak, select cuts are not your best option. The USDA advises cooking select beef with dry heat only if you have a tender cut.
As far as the type of steak you grill, Chef Dennis places ribeye and porterhouse steaks at the top of his list of favorites. He adds that although tenderloin is the most tender type of beef, it also lacks fat, which adds flavor, and may not be best for grilling.
Nutrition-wise, red meat offers some health benefits. It contains important nutrients, such as essential amino acids, vitamin B12, iron and zinc, according to research published in the Journal of Internal Medicine (JIM) in February 2017.
At the same time, high consumption of red meat is associated with an increased risk of chronic conditions, including certain cancers, stroke, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, says JIM. As such, you may wish to limit steak intake to the occasional treat, not enjoy it as a nightly indulgence.
Instructions for Grilling a 2-Inch Steak
- Prepare ahead of time when grilling steak. Tips from Chef Dennis include taking the steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling and trimming excess fat. Sprinkle the steaks generously with salt and black pepper or your favorite seasoning blend.
- Always start with a clean grill — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a damp cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface. If you use a wire bristle brush, check the grill surface for any stray bristles before cooking. You can then coat the grill lightly with oil, using a paper towel to apply it evenly.
- Fire up your charcoal or gas grill to a high heat — around 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the steaks on the grill and cook until lightly charred and golden brown, about four to five minutes.
- Use tongs to flip the steaks and continue cooking. Steak grilling times vary based on how rare you like your steak — cook another three to five minutes for medium-rare, five to seven minutes for medium or eight to 10 minutes for medium-well.
- Check your meat to see if it's done. Chef Dennis says touching the steak will tell you if it's rare (soft), medium (somewhat soft with some spring to it) or firm (well-done). Invest in a digital meat thermometer for an accurate temperature — the CDC recommends heating to an internal temperature of 145 F for whole cuts of beef.
- Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for five minutes under loose foil before slicing.
If you find your steak is too well-done or not cooked enough, experiment with your steak grilling times. You can always cook some pieces more or less, depending on the preferences of your dinner crowd.
You can also try out different recipes to add flavor and nutrients, like our recipe for Sizzling Steakhouse Salad — a healthy option that includes heart-friendly, grass-fed beef.
Read more: 5 Healthy Red Meat Recipes That Satisfy