There's one in every neighborhood: that guy (it's usually a guy, right?) who grills amazing steak. And you ask him what he does and he just shrugs and says, "Ah, I dunno, I just know how to grill." Well ladies, it's not rocket science. You can grill steak like the big guys -- maybe even better. Here's how.
1. Steak is like wine: Breed, feed, location, slaughter all make a difference in taste. This is something I've learned from Carrie Oliver, who does artisan beef tastings through the Oliver Ranch Company. Like bland beef? Stick with the cheap stuff. Craving adventure? Talk with your local artisan butcher. (PS: dry aged steak is usually more flavorful.)
2. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator. As long as you avoid freezer burn, frozen steaks can be delicious. But for best results, thaw slowly in the fridge rather than quickly under running cold water -- and definitely don't risk food poisoning by just letting it thaw at room temperature on the counter.
3. Marinating in acid makes steak mushy. Letting your steak sit in lemon juice or vinegar for hours will actually break down the muscle fiber and give your steak a mushy texture, not that firm, juicy texture you're looking for. You can still use acids, but make sure your marinade includes fats like olive oil, and don't marinate for longer than an hour.
4. Better yet, do a salt rub. Marinating can add flavor to a cheaper piece of meat, but if you've got a high quality steak, skip it and just rub all over with salt, pepper, and maybe a little seasoning like paprika or rosemary.
5. Grill to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees. Not only is this deemed "safe" by the USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service, it's also a temperature that brings out the best in a steak's flavor. Go much higher than 160 degrees (medium) on the other hand and your steak will start to lose flavor.
Bonus facts for grill-side cred: Did you know that there are only two skirt steaks per steer? And check out GourmetSleuth's guide to beef cuts to learn how you can cut your own steaks from roast cuts.
Image via Gudlyf/Flickr.