May 23, 2024

How Long To Cook A Steak: Perfect Timing

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of cooking a perfect steak, is there? But, just like it happens with Argentine Asado, there are so many things to consider: the cooking method, the type of meat, the timing, the seasoning…    That’s why I prepared this guide: to share some tried-and-true tips and tricks for grilling a […]

Daniela Solis

May 23, 2024

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of cooking a perfect steak, is there? But, just like it happens with Argentine Asado, there are so many things to consider: the cooking method, the type of meat, the timing, the seasoning…   

That’s why I prepared this guide: to share some tried-and-true tips and tricks for grilling a juicy, flavorful, and cooked-to-perfect steak. 

Understanding Steak Doneness Levels

Cooking steak to the perfect doneness is like hitting the sweet spot. Here’s a quick guide to help you nail it every time.

Rare

Rare steak has a cool red center and is very soft to the touch. It’s for those who like their steak very juicy and not too cooked.

  • Temperature Guide: 120-130°F (49-54°C)
steak rare

Medium Rare

Medium rare steak is warm with a red center, a bit firmer than rare but still very tender. This is the go-to doneness for many people.

  • Temperature Guide: 130-135°F (54-57°C)
medium steak

Medium

Medium steak has a warm pink center and is noticeably firmer, striking a balance between tenderness and a more cooked flavor.

  • Temperature Guide: 135-145°F (57-63°C)
medium rare steak

Well Done

Well-done steak has little to no pink and is very firm. It’s the driest of the doneness levels and is for those who prefer no hint of red. Many people prepare their Argentine asado in this level.

  • Temperature Guide: 155°F and above (68°C+)
well done steak

Factors That Will Influence Cooking Time

Cooking the perfect steak isn’t just about knowing the desired doneness. Several factors influence how long it takes to get your steak just right. Let’s break them down:

  • The thickness of your steak is a major factor in determining cooking time. Obviously, thicker steaks like T-bone will need more time to cook through than thinner ones. 
  • Different cooking methods affect how quickly your steak cooks. Grilling over high heat is fast but requires close attention so your stake doesn’t turn into charcoal. Pan-searing gives you a nice crust but might need a bit longer to cook through. Broiling can be quick but tricky to get right!
  • Starting temperature. Whether your steak is straight out of the fridge or at room temperature will impact cooking time.
  • Different cuts of meat cook differently. Marbled steaks like rib-eye might take slightly longer than leaner cuts due to the fat content, which needs more time to render properly.

Keeping these factors in mind will help you better estimate how long to cook your steak. But, to be honest, you’ll learn a lot by doing it. Practice makes perfect, and the more you grill, the better you’ll get at judging the right timing. 

How Long to Cook a Steak: Cooking Methods

Ready to start grilling the perfect steak? Here’s a short guide on the main cooking methods and the perfect timing for each:

Grilling on an Argentine Parrilla

The Argentine parrilla is all about simplicity and a smoky flavor. Start by building a wood fire or using high-quality charcoal, letting it burn down until you have a bed of hot coals. The key is to cook over indirect heat, allowing the steak to cook slowly and evenly.

Timing Guide:

  • Rare: 4-5 minutes per side
  • Medium Rare: 5-7 minutes per side
  • Medium: 7-9 minutes per side
  • Medium Well: 9-11 minutes per side
  • Well Done: 11-13 minutes per side

These times are for a one-inch thick steak. Adjust accordingly for thicker cuts!

Standard Gas or Charcoal Grill

Preheat your grill to high heat. Sear the steak over direct heat for a nice crust, then move to indirect heat to finish cooking. Timings are similar to the parrilla, but keep a closer eye on the heat levels and flare-ups.

Pan-Searing

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, then the steak. Sear each side until a crust forms, then reduce heat to finish cooking. Cooking times may also be similar to the Argentine parrilla ones; it will depend on your kitchen.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Steak

Grilling steak to perfection takes some know-how and a bit of practice, so here I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over many years of grilling asado and steaks, both indoors and outdoors

Preheat Your Parrilla Properly

Make sure your parrilla is fully preheated before placing the steak on it: 

  • For a gas grill, preheat on high for at least 15 minutes.
  • For a charcoal or wood grill, wait until the coals are covered with white ash and the temperature is steady. 

A properly preheated grill ensures even cooking and helps create a great sear. 

Season Generously

Don’t be shy with salt and pepper! Season your steak generously on both sides before grilling, as salt will help create a flavorful crust. Some people also like using lemon – why not try it?

Get a Good Sear

Make sure your grill is hot enough to achieve a delicious crust. For an extra touch, brush the steak with a little melted butter or oil right before it hits the grill. A good sear adds texture and enhances the flavor! 

How Long To Cook A Steak

Use the Two-Zone Cooking Method

Set up your grill with two heat zones – one for direct heat (high) and one for indirect heat (medium). Sear the steak over direct heat to get a nice crust, then move it to indirect heat to finish cooking.

Use a Meat Thermometer

An instant-read meat thermometer is your best friend. Insert it into the thickest part of the steak to check doneness without cutting into the meat. With accurate temperature readings, you’ll make sure your steak reaches the desired doneness without having to guess.

Let the Steak Rest

After grilling, let your steak rest for 5-10 minutes. The juices will redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and flavorful. Resting the steak also helps lock in the moisture, keeping it juicy even when well done. 

Avoid Flipping Too Often

Limit the steak’s flipping to once or twice, as frequent flipping can prevent the steak from developing a nice crust. Allowing the steak to cook undisturbed helps build a better char and deeper flavor.

Ready to cook your perfect steak? With these tips and techniques, I’m sure soon you’ll cook your meat exactly as you want. Remember to preheat your grill properly, season generously, and use the two-zone cooking method for the best results!

Summary
How Long To Cook A Steak: Perfect Timing
Article Name
How Long To Cook A Steak: Perfect Timing
Description
Learn how long to cook a steak with these tried-and-true tips and tricks for grilling a juicy, flavorful, and cooked-to-perfect meat. 
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Argentine Asado

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