Grilling the Perfect Steak on a Charcoal Grill

Are you ready to take your grilling game to the next level? If so, it’s time to learn how to grill a steak on a charcoal grill. Grilling steak over charcoal adds a subtle smoky flavor that elevates the taste and makes the beef truly stand out. In this article, we will guide you through the process of grilling an awesome steak over charcoal and share some tips to ensure a steakhouse-quality result every time.

Choosing the Right Steak

Before we dive into the grilling process, let’s talk about choosing the right steak. Stick with the classics like ribeye, sirloin, or T-bone/Porterhouse cuts. The grade of beef is also important. Look for beef graded as choice or select, as these cuts have a good amount of marbling for flavor. If possible, opt for prime grade beef with even better marbling.

Getting Started with Charcoal Grilling

To grill steak on a charcoal grill, you’ll need a few essential items:

  • Charcoal Grill: A reliable choice is the Weber Kettle grill.
  • Charcoal Chimney & Lighters: Use these to light your charcoal.
  • Charcoal: Lump or briquettes work just fine.
  • Digital Instant-Read Thermometer: This ensures the perfect cooking temperature.
  • GrillGrates (optional): These aftermarket accessories provide excellent sear marks.

Tips for the Perfect Grilled Steak

Here are some tips that will help you achieve steakhouse-quality results:

Use a Dry Brine

Applying salt to your steak before cooking is known as a dry brine. It draws moisture out of the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful steak. You can use plain salt or a rub that contains salt.

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Invest in a Meat Thermometer

Using a digital instant-read thermometer is crucial. It allows you to monitor the steak’s internal temperature and avoid overcooking. Check the temperature while cooking to ensure it reaches your desired level of doneness.

Consider GrillGrates

While optional, GrillGrates are highly recommended. These anodized aluminum accessories enhance the grill surface temperature, reduce flare-ups, and eliminate hot spots. They are a popular choice among competitive grillers.

The Grilling Process

Now, let’s get to the exciting part – grilling the steak:

  1. Season your steak with your preferred seasoning or spice rub and let it come to room temperature.

    Seasoning Steak

  2. Fire up your charcoal grill. Use a charcoal chimney to light your charcoal until it ashed over. Dump the charcoal into your grill, creating two cooking zones by banking the charcoal to one side. This allows for direct heat searing and indirect cooking.

    Charcoal Grill
    Charcoal Chimney
    Dual Zone Grill

  3. Once the grill grates are hot, place the seasoned steak at an angle to achieve cross-hatch grill marks. Sear the steak for about 90 seconds on each side, rotating it 45 degrees halfway through to get even grill marks.

    Grilling Steak

  4. Use a digital instant-read thermometer to check the steak’s temperature. Remove it from the grill when it reaches your desired level of doneness. Let the steak rest for a few minutes, allowing the juices to settle and the fibers to relax.

    Resting Steak
    Tenting Steak

  5. Finally, slice the steak across the grain for maximum tenderness and serve it with your favorite side dishes.


Grilling a steak on a charcoal grill is an art form that requires attention to detail and a few key techniques. By following these steps and using the right tools, you can achieve a perfectly cooked steak with a delightful smoky flavor. So fire up your charcoal grill, season your steak, and get ready to impress your guests with a steakhouse-quality meal!

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