Cooking Steak On The BBQ

7 May 2013 On The Menu


The weekend BBQ at the cottage is a wonderful summer tradition. Here are some tips for beginners to make sure a steak meal turns out great every time.

Preparing to cook a steak

1. Run the BBQ on high with the lid down for 10 to 15 minutes to burn off any residual grizzle that may have survived the last clean-up.

2. Keep a spray bottle with water handy to suppress any flare-ups caused by dripping fat and grease.

3. Wash the meat with cold water and dry it off before you prepare it for the grill.  If the steak is wet it will not sear properly.

4. Don’t ruin a top quality steak with marinade (sirloin, rib-eye, T-bone, fillet mignon). 

5. Use a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and crushed black pepper for extra flavour.

While you are cooking the steak

Cooking on the barbecue requires some practice to become an expert. Once you get it sorted out, your friends and family will treat you like royalty.

1. If you don’t have a thermometer you can use the “three second test” for medium heat. If you can hold your hand over the flames for 3 seconds without getting burned the heat is medium.

2. Minimize the number of times you lift the lid.  Every time you check the steak you release most of the heat and disrupt the cooking temperature.

3. When you flip the meat, place the second side onto a different part of the grill.  This ensures exposure to a maximum amount of heat.  The time to cook the second side should be the same as the first side.

How do you know if the meat is rare, medium, or well done?

1. Rare
The steak is red in the centre but the entire piece of meat is warm.

2. Medium
The meat is still pink in the middle but brown all around.

3. Well
The steak is grey in the middle.

Finger test for rare, meduim, or well done steak
Using your finger to test the readiness of the steak isn’t recommended but may be acceptable if you are cooking for your fishing buddies or immediate family.  If you touch the middle of the steak and it is spongy, the meat is rare.  A medium steak is firm but gives way a bit.  A well-done steak will be tough.

When cooking for guests, you should probably use a thermometer to test the readiness of your meat.

Always use tongs instead of a fork to avoid piercing the meat and allowing the juice to run out.

Leave a steak to sit for a few minutes after you remove it from the BBQ to allow the juice to spread throughout the meat.

What is the difference between grilling and barbecueing?

Grilling refers to food cooked quickly on high heat over gas, charcoal fires, or wood.

Barbecuing refers to food cooked slowly for a longer time on lower heat over a wood or charcoal fire with smoke.

After you finish cooking

Always shut-off the gas at the tank as well as the burners.

Take the time to thoroughly clean the grill and the area around the BBQ. This not only makes it easier the next time you want to use the barbecue, it also helps keep the animals away.

Go to the BBQ Maintenance page for tips on BBQ care, troubleshooting, and repairs.

Go to the Cottage Meals and Recipes page for simple and tasty cabin recipes.

Go to the Planning Cottage Dinners page for general cabin cooking tips.