A perfect steak on the grill is all about the grill marks and cooking it just right. Consider this your guide to the best temperature to grill steak (aka grill temperature), how long to grill it, and when to pull it off the heat.
You may be wondering "How long to grill steak at 450?" And we've got an answer for you after grilling many steaks and timing them each. While going by time is helpful, using a meat thermometer is the best way to determine your preferred level of doneness (I love medium-rare steak).
Want to learn more about cooking times? Learn how long to grill chicken breast, how to grill ribeye, how long to grill pork tenderloin, how long to grill pork chops, and how long to bake chicken wings.
We love searing steak on the stove, like in this steak pasta, but there's just something different about a perfectly cooked steak on the grill. The char and smoke you get from the hot grill are unmatched.
Firing up the grill for the first time, whether it's your first time ever or first time this year, can be intimidating. You have one chance to get those gorgeous grill marks and you want to get it right.
I've spent the last few weeks documenting every step we take to get the grill going, from the second we turn on the gas until we slice the steak and serve.
I'm sharing all of our tips for the best steak, including grill temperature, cooking time, and a guide to internal temperatures.
Best Grill Temperature for Steaks
Preheat the grill to high heat when grilling steaks of all kinds —which is somewhere between 450°F (232°C) - and 500°F ( 260°C). This is the case for both a charcoal grill and a gas grill.
You may be wondering why the grill needs to be so hot. And it's because this high heat is ideal for creating the Maillard reaction, producing a flavorful crust and browning on the exterior of the food while keeping the interior juicy and tender.
The Maillard reaction is a cooking process that is responsible for the browning and development of complex flavors. The high temperature literally transforms the flavors and texture of the meat. Not to mention that crispy crust locks in all of the juices. Lower temperatures, or even medium heat, (400 and below) aren't going to give you the same effect.
Note: allow the steak to sit out covered at room temperature for 30 minutes to reduce the chill. Cold steak on a hot grill will reduce the temperature and can minimize the Maillard reaction.
Pro tip: use two-zone grilling for thicker steaks. This means you heat one side of the grill to high heat for searing and one side to low heat. If the steaks are becoming too dark before the inside is cooked through, move the steak over to indirect heat to finish cooking.
The #1 Tip for Perfectly Grilled Steak
Always use an instant-read thermometer to determine beef doneness. The grill time will vary based on the cut of beef and the type of grill, but the internal temperature will remain the same. Measure the thickest part of the steak for the best results.
Steak Internal Temperatures and Times
We have a great guide to determining beef doneness, including roasts, ground beef, steaks, etc. But here is a helpful table specifically for cooking steak.
Important Note: Allow the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes, or up to 15 minutes. This locks in the juices and lets the steak finish cooking. You must pull the steak from the grill 5-10 degrees before the target temperature because of this.
Pro tip: insert the meat thermometer into the center of your steak (or the thickest part) for an accurate reading.
|Doneness||Remove from the Grill||Target Temperature|
|Well Done||155°F and above||160°F and above|
How Long to Grill Steak at 450?
The length of time to grill a steak at 450°F (232°C) will depend on the thickness of the steak, type of steak, and the desired temperature.
But generally, you’ll want to grill steak for just 4-5 uninterrupted minutes per side (8-10 minutes total) for medium-rare steak.
It will take about an additional 30 seconds on each side (1 minute total) for every ¼ inch after that. So a steak that's 1 ½ inches thick will take one more minute on each side, for a total of 9-11 minutes on the grill.
This time will vary based on how thick the steak is, the cut of the steak, the amount of marbling, and how you prefer it cooked (medium rare or medium well). This is why the best marker for a great steak is cooking it to the proper temperature.
Note: Using a pellet grill may speed up the grilling process by up to 20% because of the convection fan inside. Start checking the internal temperature of your 1-inch steak at the 6-minute mark.
Choose the Right Steak
There are several cuts of steak that are well-suited for grilling. Here are some of the best cuts of beef for grilling. Here is a list of each type of steak in order of least expensive to most.
Each of these steaks comes in different sizes and shapes and can have varying grill times. But as a general guideline, grill a 1-inch steak for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
- Flank Steak ($): Flank steak is a lean and flavorful cut that comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It's ideal for marinating and grilling at high heat like in these carne asada tacos. You could also use flat iron steak, which is a great flank steak substitute. Don't forget to cut the flank steak against the grain.
- Sirloin Steak ($$): Sirloin steak is a versatile cut that is often more affordable than premium cuts. It offers a good balance of flavor and tenderness and can be found in different variations, such as top sirloin or tri-tip.
- T-Bone and Porterhouse ($$$): theses are larger cuts that include a T-shaped bone, dividing the tenderloin and striploin sections. These cuts offer the best of both worlds, with a tender portion from the tenderloin and a flavorful section from the striploin.
- Ribeye steak ($$$): it's known for its rich marbling, which gives it a lot of flavor and juiciness. It has a good amount of fat throughout the meat, which contributes to its tenderness and taste.
- New York Strip Steak (Striploin) ($$$$): this cut has a balance of tenderness and flavor, with a slightly firmer texture compared to ribeye. It's often leaner than ribeye but still offers good marbling.
- Tenderloin (Filet Mignon): Tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of steak because it comes from an area of the cow that's used infrequently. It has a delicate, buttery texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can grill a steak at 400°F and still achieve a well-cooked steak, but 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature to grill steak for a great sear and juicy center.
You can dip a towel or paper towel in oil and rub the grates down lightly but it isn't necessary for grill steak. Steak sticking to the grill has less to do with how much oil you use and more to do with the Maillard reaction.
The steak should release easily from the grill when the reaction takes place and the steak is caramelized and crispy.
You should almost always grill with the lid closed to trap the heat inside for even cooking and to enhance the smoky flavor.
If the steak is larger than 1 inch in thickness the bone can start to affect the grill time. The bone can act as a heat conductor, absorbing heat from the grill. This can slow down the cooking process as the heat needs to penetrate the bone before fully cooking the meat.
Most electric grills reach a temperature of 600°F, making them suitable for searing and grilling steak. Make sure you preheat it to at least 450°F before grilling.
Expert Tips for Grilling Steak
- Get the surface as dry as possible. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight or pat it dry really well with a paper towel before grilling.
- Don't touch it until it's time to flip and try not to check the internal temperature too early.
- Use a good steak marinade for lean cuts of beef like flanks teak and a bold steak seasoning for others.
- Preheat the grill to high heat to achieve a nice sear and lock in the juices.
- Always use a meat thermometer to determine when it's done.
- Let the steak rest for 5-15 minutes to lock in the juices and finish cooking.
Grilled Steak Recipes
How to Grill Steak
- 1 inch steak, any kind (Note 2)
- Outdoor Gas Grill or Charcoal Grill (Note 1 Pellet and Electric)
- Allow the steak to sit out at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes if possible.
- Brush the grill grates clean. You can use a paper towel or brush to wipe the grates down with a little bit of olive oil or other oil with a high smoke point, but this isn't mandatory.
- Pat the steak dry really well with a paper towel and season it with your favorite steak seasoning. If you're grilling a lean cut of beef, like flank steak, you can marinate it in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat a gas grill or charcoal grill to high heat (450-500°F).
- Place steak directly on the hot grill grates and close the lid. The grill temperature will decrease slightly when you open it but should come back up to 450-500 quickly. Grill on each side for approximately 4-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches approximately 135°F for medium rare steak with a target temperature is 145°F while it rests. Carefully transfer it to a clean cutting board and allow it to rest for 5-15 minutes.
- Rare: 130-135°F target internal temperature (3-4 minutes per side)
- Medium-Rare: 135-145°F target internal temperature (4-5 minutes per side)
- Medium: 145°F-150°F target internal temperature (5-6 minutes per side)
- Medium Well: 150-160°F target internal temperature (6-7 minutes per side)
- Well Done: 160°F and above internal temperature (7-8 minutes per side)