The internet is riddled with “the best way to cook your steak” click bait articles…  Well, here at Nebraska Star Beef, we don’t care about “click bait” we focus on producing some of the best steaks (and beef) in the world.

Grilling steak is as old as time.  The Clovis people left us some amazing artifacts detailing the life of humans in North America 13,000 years ago and they were practicing “gourmet butchery” taking only the best parts of 22 Bison Antiquus that they killed near Clovis NM.  Odds are they knew how to cook a steak on an open fire… 

Analysis Paralysis.  Overthinking.  Micro over macro.  Missing the forest for the trees…  These are all common missteps people make with ALL KINDS of things from archery to water polo.  Keeping the focus on the fundamentals will resolve 95% of frustration with most any pursuit.

Fundamentals of cooking a steak, in order of importance:

  1. Internal Temperature
  2. Caramelization on surface – charred surface
  3. Salt
  4. Rest Time
grilling steaks
internal temp

Internal Temperature

The only way to KNOW when your steak is cooked the way you want it, is to check the internal temperature.  There are a few ways to do this, but a decent digital thermometer is the best.  Internal temperature will typically “coast up” a few degrees during the resting process, it is good to keep this in mind, but don’t obsess about it.  Knowing the internal temp that you prefer to pull the steak is 90% of the battle.


This is an underrated factor in cooking the perfect steak.  Whether one is cooking on cast iron over an induction range or laying the steak on a bed of hot charcoal, getting a good layer of caramelization on the surface adds significant flavor and texture.  To get a good, caramelized surface without overcooking the inside of the steak, it takes intense heat for a short time.



Salt has been an important part of the human (and every other mammal) diet since the beginning of our existence, whenever that was, putting salt on meat does a couple things.  In modern times, flavor is the focus, but it goes much deeper.  Salt on meat helps to desiccate the surface of the meat which will lead to better caramelization, and salt is a mineral the body needs to function properly.  Try seasoning your next steak with some plain old sea salt or kosher salt. 

Rest Time

Allowing a steak to rest after the cook will contribute significantly to the “on plate experience.”  During the rest, two things happen.  The fibers relax and become more tender, but more importantly, the hotter outer surfaces equalize in temperature with the center of the steak, this improves the steaks mouth feel and makes the texture more even throughout the steak.

grilled and sliced

Learning how to consistently execute these fundamentals every time will result in the best steaks possible, on a consistent basis.  There are many other factors that can be introduced into the equation, but expert application of fundamental techniques is the proper foundation on which to build.

 Everything else is window dressing.