Fanning The Flames: Mastering the Art of Barbecuing Steak on a Charcoal Grill

December 18, 2023 3 min read

Fanning The Flames: Mastering the Art of Barbecuing Steak on a Charcoal Grill

From subtle smoky flavors to the alluring aroma of seared meat, nothing quite compares to the experience of barbecuing a steak on a charcoal grill. But achieving that mouth-watering, succulent steak isn't always straightforward. Let’s embark on a BBQ journey, exploring simple techniques to perfect your charcoal grill steak.

Who doesn't love a well-grilled steak? The seared surface, the tender, juicy inside, and the irresistible smoky flavor that only a charcoal grill can offer - it's the stuff BBQ dreams are made of. Grilling on a charcoal grill, however, requires a bit more finesse and knowledge than simply throwing your steak on the grate.

Here, we will explore techniques to ensure your steak is seared to perfection every time. We'll talk about selecting a cut, prepping the steak and the grill, maintaining the correct temperature, using the two-zone cooking technique, and letting the meat rest for optimal juiciness.

Choosing your Steak

The first step to a perfect BBQ is choosing the right type of steak. Now, you might be asking: "But, which cut should I go for?"


The ribeye is a favorite among many for its rich, beefy flavor. Marbled with fat, this cut is juicy and tender when cooked correctly.

New York strip

The New York strip is another popular choice for its balanced ratio of meat to fat and robust flavor.

Filet mignon

The filet mignon is an excellent choice for those seeking succulence and softness. However, it's notably less flavorful than a ribeye or strip.

While each steak has its own merits, remember that any steak should be at least 1-1.5 inches thick to ensure a great sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.

Prepping the Steak

"Respect for food is respect for life, for who we are and what we do." - Thomas Keller

This quote emphasizes the importance of preparation in cooking. Here are some steps to prep your steak:

  • Take it out of the fridge about an hour before grilling. This helps it to reach room temperature and ensures more even cooking.
  • Pat the steak dry with a clean paper towel to remove excess moisture. This aids in achieving a perfect sear.
  • Season the steak generously with salt and pepper. If you prefer, you can also use a dry rub with extra flavors.

Setting Up your Charcoal Grill

Before placing the steak on the grill, setting up a proper heat zone is essential.

  • Start by lighting your charcoal. Use natural lump charcoal for clean, even heat. Setup a chimney starter and wait until the charcoal pieces are glowing red at the top.
  • Once the coals are ready, distribute them inside the grill to create heat zones: a hotter zone for searing (direct heat) and a cooler one for cooking through (indirect heat). This is known as two-zone cooking.
  • Allow the grill grates to warm up. If you can hold your hand five inches above the grill grates for 2-3 seconds, the grill is ready for searing.

Grilling the Steak

Ready to make those tantalizing grill marks? Let's get grilling!

  • Place the steak on the hotter side of the grill. Sear each side for about 2-3 minutes or until you achieve a rich, brown crust.
  • Once seared, move the steak to the cooler side of the grill to cook through to your desired level. Use a reliable meat thermometer to ensure precision. Medium-rare typically falls around 130-135°F.

Always remember safety when grilling. Keep a spray bottle of water handy to douse any flare-ups, crushing the oxygen that fires need to burn.

Resting the Steak

Before diving into your delicious creation, let your steak rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, ensuring a juicier bite.


Achieving the perfect BBQ steak on a charcoal grill doesn't have to be an elusive skill. With the right cut selection, preparation techniques, grill setup, and patient grilling, you can make every BBQ an occasion to remember.

So next time you fire up your charcoal grill, remember these tips, and embrace the art of grilling. Who knows, you might just find your inner pitmaster waiting to emerge! Ready to turn up the heat?

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