I sometimes get asked how to cook a steak on a gas grill. My answer is simple, do it the same way you do it on a charcoal grill! All kidding aside, this isn’t going to be a recipe page for marinades and rubs. You can decide if you need anything like that depending on your tastes, and your grill.
I like to cook over charcoal because it really takes steak to it’s highest level. Of course, we’re talking about gas grills here and some have Favorite bars designed to return some of the sizzled grease smoke back to the meat. No comparison in my opinion.
In my opinion, you want to get yourself a nice thick steak. I’ve gotten those thin ones they pre-packaged at the grocery store. Trying to get to pink in the middle is a joke when there is no middle in a thin steak.
Spend the money on a nice thick-cut steak. Split it with your wife if it’s too much, but don’t buy two thin steaks. That’s a crime when you cook a steak on a gas grill.
Now, when I cook a steak on a gas grill, I will set one burner to high, usually the designated sear burner, and the others to medium or medium-low. I’ll start off by searing each side of the steak for a few minutes on the sear burner. I generally keep the lid shut on a charcoal grill to avoid flare-ups, but I’ll sometimes keep it up on a gas grill.
Then I move the steaks off to the lower temperature burners and shut the lid. The remaining time it takes will depend on a number of factors like thickness, doneness, and cooking temperature.
There are basically two ways to tell gauge doneness when you cook a steak on a gas grill (I don’t use grill times for steak to gauge doneness). One way is to use a meat thermometer and cook it to the internal temperature corresponding with your doneness preference. The other way is to use the poke test. This involves using your finger to feel how firm the meat is.
Using a Meat Thermometer You Cook a Steak on a Gas Grill
Here’s a simple table that will help you if decide to use a meat thermometer.
- Rare: 120 to 215° F – the center will be bright red and pinkish toward the exterior
- Medium Rare: 130 to 135° F – the center will be very pink and slightly brown toward the exterior
- Medium: 140 to 145° F – center will be light pink and the outer portion will be brown
- Medium Well: 150 to 155° F – no pink anywhere
- Well Done: 160° F and above
There are a number of different types of thermometers you can use when you cook a steak on a gas grill. Which one is for you will depend on how much cooking you do.
If you do a lot of cooking on the grill or in the smoker, you will probably be inclined to get something fancy. For others, something simple will do. Here’s a rundown of the various options from simple to fancy.
Meat Thermometer, temperature range 130 to 190 F, dial type w/stem, 3”, NSF – This is very similar to one I found at my local grocery store for about $3.00. I picked up a few of them and they work just fine.
The problem with this type of thermometer is that each time you open the lid you lose heat. Not a huge problem when you grill steaks. But it is a problem on your longer low and slow cooks
Digital Fork Thermometer – While I don’t have this brand, my wife and I got something very similar for a wedding gift. It works, but you have to open the lid and stick it to check. Generally, this doesn’t give you an instant reading so you have to wait for it to get to the right temperature.
What’s cool about them is that the forks come off and you can throw them into the dishwasher so they’re ready for your next cook.
Electronic Thermometer and Timer – Now we’re getting into the fancier units. This is a low-end digital thermometer with a remote probe. This means you can insert the probe into the meat and leave the actual electronic portion outside the grill on a side table. The problem with this low-end units and I’ve had one, is that the probes can suddenly fail. Or maybe it’s the unit. It’s really hard to tell…it just fails.
Remote-Check Wireless Thermometer With 2 Probes – This type of thermometer is going to cost you a little bit more, but it can really free you up to do other things. This is like the unit above, except that it has a wireless unit that you can take with you. If you need to cut the lawn while smoking chicken, no need to hang out by the smoker anymore. Some of these units can get pricey, this one is pretty reasonable.