July 1, 2020
Using a charcoal grill can be an intimidating skill to master, but today I’m not only going to walk you through how to use a charcoal grill, but also how to grill the perfect top sirloin steak.
When I set out on my own as a single woman, one of the first things I wanted to learn how to do was grill. I had always had someone else grill for me: my dad, previous boyfriends, ex-husband, lesbian friends, you get the idea. I was determined to figure out how to become a grill master.
Like I said, using a charcoal grill is intimidating if you’ve never done it before. You’ve got briquettes, and lighter fluid, and you’ve got to adjust the airflow. WTF, right?
So here’s my step-by-step tutorial for using a charcoal grill to grill a sirloin steak.
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Step 1 Pick the Steak
There are so many cuts of steak, and options for beef out there. Eventually, I will share a post about all the different cuts and what makes each great, but today, I’m going to focus on one cut: top sirloin.
Top sirloin is a tender cut of beef found on the sirloin of the cow (read: on the back, near the rear legs. If cattle had tramp stamps, I imagine they would sit in this region). This cut has a good ratio of fat to meat, and has pretty good flavor and tenderness when grilled properly. Another reason I like to buy top sirloin is you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s not an expensive steak, but you can make it taste like a more expensive cut, and not break your budget.
My local grocery store offers pretty large cuts of top sirloin so one, two pound steak can actually feed a few people, or provide you some leftovers for the next few days. I look for a steak with some fat, but not too much. The fat adds flavor, but too much fat can be too gristly and actually not taste good at all.
Step 2. Prepare the Steak and Start the Grill
Whenever cooking a steak on the grill, you want your steak to be at room temperature before you cook it. This helps with flavor again, but an even cook throughout the steak. So if you’re cooking a steak from frozen, you’ve got to plan ahead. Take the steak out of the freezer at least a day before, and let thaw in your refrigerator. Then, about an hour before you throw your meat on the grill, you need to remove it from the fridge and bring to room temp on the counter. If your steak is not frozen, you still want to bring it to room temp before grilling, so time on the counter (again about an hour) is crucial.
While your steak is warming to room temp, it’s time to heat up the grill. Take your charcoal briquettes, and stack them in a pyramid. If you want to get fancy, you can buy a chimney like this, and fill the chimney about halfway. Chimney or not, use about 10-15 briquette. Spray with lighter fluid, and stuff some newspaper in the pile/chimney, then let sit and soak into the charcoal for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you can light the charcoal on fire. Prop your lid back on the grill, but don’t fully cover it–the fire needs oxygen to thrive and stay lit. Let the charcoal burn until the edges turn white. Now you’re ready to grill.
Step 3: Season Your Steak
So your grill is ready and your steak is at room temp. You are ALMOST ready to get grilling, but you want to season your meat. Everyone has a different preference, but I like to keep it super simple: Alpine Seasoning and olive oil. Use about two tablespoons of EVOO and use your hands to coat both sides of the meat. Then I sprinkle a liberal amount of Alpine Touch on both sides of the steak as well. That’s it!
Step 4: Let’s Grill
Now you’re ready to grill. Top sirloin is usually a pretty big cut–most of the time, a single steak is between a pound and a half and two pounds. This is my routine for turning and flipping my steak once it’s on the grill: place on the grill for four minutes,TURN (not flip over) 90 degrees, grill four more minutes, FLIP, grill four more minutes, TURN (not flip), grill four more minutes.
Step 5: Check Your Internal Temp
Depending on how well done or rare you want your steak determines how long you leave it on the grill or how many minutes between turns and flips. I highly recommend a meat thermometer. This is a simple one that works well.
Here is the breakdown of internal temperature of steaks depending on the doneness you prefer:
Rare: 125 degrees
Medium-Rare: 130-135 degrees
Medium: 135-140 degrees
Medium-Well 140-150 degrees
Step 6: Remove Steak from Heat and Let it Rest!
After your steak reaches the desired internal temp, it’s time to remove from the grill. DO NOT, cut into your steak right away. Let your steak rest for about five minutes to let it rest and allow the juices redistribute in the meat and seal in all that delicious flavor.
Step 7: Enjoy!
I like to do a traditional steak and potatoes meal whenever I cook steak. I recently made an amazing german potato salad (recipe coming soon), that I made again when I grilled this steak and the pairing was PERFECT!
How do you like to cook your steak?