How to cook the perfect, juicy steak on a BBQ

So tender (Picture: The Smokin’ Elk)

It’s BBQ season – and that means we want to be eating charred, smoky, delicious food cooked on an outdoor grill at every possible opportunity.

But BBQing is an art. And it’s all too easy to get it wrong.

We’ve all experienced terrifyingly undercooked chicken, sausages burnt to a crisp, and steak that’s drier than an old leather sandal.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn the correct techniques and you can cook some of the best, juiciest, tastiest meat on the BBQ – leaving your garden party guests stunned by your culinary talents.

BBQ expert Elky, AKA The Smokin’ Elk, has shared his top tips for cooking the perfect steak on your outdoor grill:

How to cook the perfect steak on the BBQ

Cook to temperature, not time

‘The first thing I always teach people in my BBQ school is to cook your food to temperature and not to time,’ says Elky.

‘If you’re just guessing when your food is ready, you’re more likely to leave it cooking too long, which causes it to dry out. Cutting into your meat means you lose all those valuable juices – the juicier the meat, the more flavoursome it is.’

To take the guesswork out of cooking, Elky recommends using an instant read digital thermometer – like the Thermapen.

‘You just pop it in and it will tell you the exact temperature of your food,’ he says. ‘For example, chicken is safe to eat at 73 degrees – so that’s the optimum temperature to serve it to people.’

BBQing

Temperature control is key (Picture: NickHookPhoto)

Work your heat zones

Elky adds that you should set up two different heat zones in your BBQ.

‘If things start to flare up, you can move the food over to the indirect, safe side,’ he says.

‘Don’t buy cheap charcoal that has been tainted with chemicals and avoid accelerants such as lighter fluid, as these will taint your food. Avoid the petrol station stuff and any instant light charcoal. Instead, invest a small amount in a chimney starter that will get your charcoals lit in no time at all.’

Avoid cooking on cold grill grates

If using a gas BBQ, Elky says you want all of the burners on full for at least 20 minutes before you start cooking.

‘Cold grates mean your food is likely to stick to the grill,’ he explains.

‘Lastly, in terms of dishes, don’t be afraid to branch out from the usual sausages and burgers. There is so much history of cooking over fire in many countries and some delicious dishes – from Jamaican jerk chicken to Moroccan spiced lamb.

‘Why not do some research and have some fun putting on a spread with BBQ dishes from around the world?’

Fast-flip BBQ Tomahawk steak recipe

Perfectly pink, crisp crust and served with chimichurri.

The Smokin’ Elk built up a delicious crust on this tomahawk steak by cooking it directly over a high heat and flipping every 30 seconds. The meat was a perfect medium rare, achieved using a digital thermometer. 

Ingredients:

  • Tomahawk steak, bone-in 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped and diced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped and diced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • Olive oil

Step 1: Dry the steak with kitchen roll and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Place the steak onto a hot BBQ, flipping every 30 seconds. Keep flipping every 30 seconds until the internal temperature has reached 50 degrees.

Step 4: Once the steak has reached temperature, take it off the BBQ and leave to rest.

Step 5: Whilst the steak is resting, make the chimichurri. Start by finely chopping the parsley, mix into a bowl with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, and chilli. Season to taste and add slightly more olive oil until it reaches a sauce like consistency.

Step 6: After you’ve made the chimichurri the steak will have rested long enough (around 15 minutes). Slice the steak and drizzle the chimichurri over the top before serving.

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