Should You Poke Holes in Steak Before Grilling?

November 11, 2021 3 min read

Atgrills electric grill pan with maifan stone coating

Steak is one of the most grilled food during summers. Those using electric grill cook it throughout the year. However, doing certain things while grilling can enhance the results or bring about a mess. Among such practices are preheating grill, seasoning, cooking time, handling steak, etc. 

Should you poke holes in steak before grilling? Yes, you should, and No, you shouldn’t. The issue of poking holes on a grill is debatable. A group of people believes poking holes on a steak before grilling allows marinades to penetrate through a cut and tenderize it. Conversely, a significant number of people believe that poking holes on steak results in a flow out of juices, thus toughening the meat. 


Atgrills electric grill pan and griddle pan


What is it all about Poking Holes in Steak before Grilling? 

One of the things that cut across the minds of many grilling rookies is whether they should poke holes on a steak or not do it. So, what is the point of poking holes in a steak before grilling? Below are reasons people want and do poke holes in steak: 

First, people poke holes on the steak before grilling to meltdown marbling or the fats to prevent flare-ups. Steaks with a significant amount of marbling tend to be juicer. However, as they cook, the juices are sealed in the steak; they “burst out” after a while. Consequently, they cause a flare-up, especially when using charcoal and gas grills. However, a steak cooked on electric grills cooks on its juices since there are no flames involved. 

No one likes a tough cut after grilling. Therefore, some people tend to poke holes in a steak before grilling to make it tender. It also allows marinades to penetrate through the steak easily. 

Lastly, people poke holes on the steak to allow heat to enter the steak's center part. As a result, the steak will cook evenly and also reduce the cooking time on the grill. Basically, poking holes means less grill time and more time enjoying the steak. 

Above are common reasons as to why people poke holes in steak. As outlined earlier, another group of people is against it. Now, let’s see what experts say about it down here.

What do Experts Say about Poking Holes on a Steak before Grilling? 

Most experts and especially chefs are firmly against poking holes on the steak before grilling. The argument is that poking steak allows the steak’s juices, blood, moisture, and marinades to leach out while grilling. Therefore, you end with a dry and less tasty grilled steak.

However, the above-discussed reasons are problems that should be addressed. Therefore, experts recommended doing the following instead: 

First, choose a tender cut to avoid poking holes on the steak to make it tender. When you select cuts such as tri-tip steak, T-bone, or Ribeye steak, you’ll have a minimal struggle getting a tender steak after grilling.

Experts also advise you to trim down the amount of fat on your steak before grilling. If you notice your steak has extra marbling than you need, you have an alternative of trimming down the fat. Leave enough to get a juicy and tender steak. 

Thirdly, marinate your steak long enough to introduce extra moisture to the cut, thus enhancing its tenderness. 

Lastly, cutting your steak against the grain when serving enhances a cut’s tenderness. 

What are the Disadvantages/ Cons of Poking Holes in a Steak before Grilling? 

While there are numerous justifications to poking holes on a steak before grilling, there is a downside part of it. Below are the cons of poking holes in your steak: 

Less fluid, less flavor 

Poking holes in a steak before grilling causes natural juices and marinades to escape. As a result, your steak will have less flavor and a dry texture. 

Steak will shrink 

Since a poked steak loses most of its moisture, it will quickly shrink and change its form to appear smaller.

Final Thought 

Poking holes in steak before grilling is not a viable idea. If you want to get the best and tasty cut from grilling, start by choosing the right cut. With the right cut, you can easily have a tasty and tender steak after grilling. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about fire flare-ups or excess marbling. 

Nonetheless, whether to poke holes or not in your steak solely depends on your preference. If you like it dry and less juicy, poking holes on a steak is still okay. If you want it juicy, tasty, and full of meaty flavor, avoid poking steak before grilling. 


Check out Atgrills indoor electric grills and griddles to cook steak on a cookware with natural stone coating.



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