10 Tips for Amazing Steak on the Barbeque

10 Tips for Amazing Steak on the Barbeque

By Ruairi Browne

The best and tastiest way to cook when you are on the road or outdoors is over fire. It's readily available, easy to use, and gives the best flavour. Here are our top tips for steak from the fire.


Go Big or Go Home


There is nothing worse than a mean assed supermarket steak on the barbeque. A steak for the BBQ should be at least 4cm - 5cm thick and should weight about 500g.


Go Fat or Go Home


A well marbled steak with plenty of intra-muscular fat is essential. Think rib-eye (aka cowboy, tomahawk, cote de boeuf), or a cheaper cut like flank or skirt. Striploin is also beautiful on the BBQ but it needs to be cut really nice and thick.


Use The Indirect Method and a Reverse Sear


Cook the steak to your desired doneness (see below) on the cooler side of the BBQ and then move over the coals to sear. If you are resting your steak, you can rest it before searing.


Go Mad on the Salt


You have two choices - you can salt 2 - 24 hours in advance and allow the salt to tenderise and penetrate the meat. Alternatively, you can salt just before cooking to provide seasoning. However, do not ever salt between a few minutes and an hour or two before cooking - that is just enough time for the salt to dry the meat but not tenderise it properly. Salt again while cooking - this time with big flakes for texture.


Steak Loves Heat (And We Don't Mean Fire)


Adding hot spices like chilli, pepper, garlic, onion, horse radish, and mustard all open your tastebuds, massively increase the beef flavour, and bring out the best in every steak.


Use High Quality Charcoal


Use lump wood charcoal from a reliable source. You just paid maybe €15 for a steak. Don't ruin it on a €5 bag of charcoal. Look for single variety artisan wood charcoal.


Use a Thermapen


Get a Thermapen instant read thermometer and use it. Rare is below 50c, medium is 60 - 65c, and well done is anything over 70c. Remember that steak will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat. I recommend you move the steak onto the hot coals at about 45c and then sear it until the temp is about 53c. The steak should then come up to a temp of about 60c by itself. For a ribeye or any other fatty cut that is probably the perfect temp. A filet or lean steak might be better rare, but rib-eye needs cooking to render the fat.


Use Butter


You may not be using a pan, but some butter brushed on the steak will add glossiness and flavour.


It's Not a Zebra


Good steak doesn't need stripes. The dark brown bits are the flavour so ideally, we want the whole steak dark brown. Lose the grill marks.


Don't be Afraid to Cook from Frozen


Ideally if you want to cook from frozen you would buy frozen or at least buy steak in a heavy vac pack wrap. That protects the steak from freezer burn. When you are ready to cook it simply place frozen on the low heat zone of the BBQ. It will obviously take a few minutes longer, but you will not notice any difference in the finished product.


Some Myths About Steak


Steak has to come out of the fridge and up to room temperature: simply not true.

Good steak only needs salt: nope - pepper and other hot spices massively increase the taste.

You can tell how done it is by touching your nose/arm/cheek/etc. Utter bullshit. Every steak is different, and every arm/nose/cheek is different. Use a thermometer. Chefs like Gordon Ramsey keep wheeling out this lie because they come from a background where the same chef is cooking the same cut of steak from the same butcher 40 times a day, 7 days a week. Of course, you can eventually tell when the steak is done by touch when you get 40 tries a day with consistent variables. It won't work on your BBQ with a random steak from a random butcher.