Grilling season is officially upon us. If cooking steak seems a bit daunting, Don't freak out. It's not as bad as you think. Let's just take it step by step, and you'll be on your way to
First, we need to properly prepare the steak:
Cooking the perfect steak all begins with selecting the right piece of meat. The cut is totally up to you, and different types of steak are better for different applications. Just make sure the meat is bright red, and pass on anything that's an odd grayish-brownish color (unless it is vacuum packed), which may indicate that it's not fresh or the animal wasn't as healthy as it could have been. Also, select a steak that has good marbling of fat and will keep the meat moist throughout the cooking process.
If you're going to season your steak before it hits the grill, do it at least 45 minutes before you plan on cooking, lest you have dry, tough steak. This gives plenty of time for osmosis to happen and for the meat to pull the salt inside, which will retain moisture better during cooking. If you forgot to season the steak ahead of time, do it right before they hit the grill. There's really no in-between on this one. If you don't have to do it well in advance, do it at the last second.
Onward to the grill...
Now it's time to actually get cooking:
First, you'll want to start with a good sear. This doesn't exist to seal the juices in (that's a myth that has been solidly debunked) but it will alter the taste and texture of the meat as well as making those sweet grill marks that make everyone happy inside,
Don't stress too much about searing meat. The idea that it's necessary to keep the juices in is an old myth that has been solidly debunked. However, searing does make those sweet grill marks that make everyone happy, so there's that. Searing also caramelizes the sugars in the meat, making the steak much tastier.
Everyone has their preferences about how much to cook a steak (though we all know only the people who say "medium rare" are actually correct). Because the time varies depending on preference, cut, temperature of the grill, and thickness of the meat, I'll just refer you to this handy chart from Allen Brothers.
There is some trial and error in this while you're learning to cook, but whatever you do, please do not cut the steak open to see if it is cooked. This is a very misleading way of checking on the meat's progress, and will actually result in a subpar product.
Once you've cooked your steak to its perfect level of doneness, there's still more to consider.
You may think that once your meat is done cooking, you can start digging in right away.
Don't do it!
After getting taken off of the heat, the meat needs to rest. The average steak needs to settle for about 10 minutes, allowing the juices to settle down. If you skip this step, cutting into the meat will spill the juices out onto your plate. If the juice is on your plate, it isn't inside of the meat where it belongs to keep your meal moist and flavorful.
If you've properly seasoned and cooked your steak, you won't even need or miss steak sauce. Top with some sautéed onions and mushrooms, and you'll be in business.
Check out the science behind grilling here: