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There are many methods, tips and tricks that are used regularly when barbecuing steak. A few basic steps, however, can help to make any barbecue steak seem perfectly cooked. These involve preparing the steak properly with seasoning, cooking the steak correctly and serving the meat at the right time. Some other factors, such as being very familiar with the grill being used and having the right grilling supplies, also can make the process much easier and the results more professional. Most of the work done to barbecue steak is performed before and after the steak is actually on the grill.
Before any other preparations to barbecue steak are started, the cut of meat needs to be chosen. The cut of meat will determine the cooking time and whether anything special needs to be done to the meat beforehand. In general, cuts of meat that are lean with thin lines of fat, called marbling, running through the muscle are considered the best for grilling and should be cooked quickly. Steak that has thicker pieces of fat, or no fat, should be cooked slower to allow it time to tenderize. A tough or extremely lean cut of meat can benefit from a marinade that is used before cooking to add flavor and improve the texture.
The steak should be taken to room temperature just before being cooked. This involves letting the meat rest outside a refrigerator for 20 minutes or longer, but not so long as to allow bacteria to get inside. Room-temperature meat will cook more consistently and prevent situations in which the heat has not cooked the interior of the meat even though the outside is starting to char. This room-temperature step is not necessary if the temperature used to barbecue steak is very high, usually in excess of what a home grill can produce.
The grill that will be used to barbecue steak should be pre-heated for at least 20 or 30 minutes before the steak is added. It should be clean and the grates oiled. Initially, the steak can be seared briefly on each side to create grill marks but, after that, it should be left alone until it needs to be turned. Steak should be turned only once during cooking so the outside layer of meat can become crisp. The meat also should be turned only with tongs rather than any utensil that will pierce the meat and release the juices inside.
For a barbecue steak to come out tender, it needs to be cooked just barely long enough to reach the desired doneness. This means testing the steak and removing it from the heat as soon as it has achieved the right consistency. Once the steak is off the grill, it should be covered with foil and allowed to rest for a few minutes before being served. This gives the juices inside the meat a chance to redistribute back into the steak so it remains tender.