The difference between baking steak and grilling steak lies in HOW you apply heat to the beef. There are two types of heat in cooking and only one of them is the right one for grilling.
Grilling is a conductive cooking method. It uses intense direct single-source heat to quickly cook thinner and more tender items. That’s why nobody grills a whole turkey.
Larger, thicker, tougher items need indirect heat over longer periods to cook into the middle and help tenderize the product. This type of heat found in your oven is called convective heat.
Apply convective heat to beef
and you’re baking steak, not grilling it.
Should you keep the lid up or lid down when grilling steak?
Home cooks are trying to decide if the barbecue grill lid should stay up or down during the grilling process. I’ve seen backyard grillers open and close the lid so many times, I thought they were sending smoke signals!
The best results in grilling come from the direct source heat that quickly caramelizes sugars, giving you those beautiful grill marks. This direct heat has to be single-source. In grilling, that means from below the item being cooked.
Home grillers that close the lid create a convective cooking environment where the hot air and trapped moisture circulating within is baking steak just like your oven indoors would!
Things to remember
when grilling steak, chicken, fish, or anything else:
1) Because grilling uses intense direct source heat, always choose an item that is thinner, that will cook completely under this quick cooking process.
2) Items to be grilled will not tenderize during the process, it happens too fast. Choose a cut of meat that is already tender.
3) Marinades add moisture, flavor and tenderizing properties. While grilling steak won’t tenderize it, marinating in an acidic liquid like tomato, vinegar, citrus, or wine will help break down connective tissues.
4) Grill 75 percent on the first side and 25 percent on the second. As soon as you flip your steak, you’ve lost all the visual indicators of whether it’s done or not. Cook as long as you can on the first side (the “show” side), and finish on the second.
5) Get yourself a thermometer! The ONLY way to quantifiably tell when your grilled item is done is by internal temperature. Guessing, gashing, and poking are not reliable methods.
6) And, LEAVE THE LID OPEN!
Closing the lid of your barbecue grill means you’re baking steak and not taking advantage of all the benefits of actually grilling steak correctly.
All of cooking comes down to repeatable, reliable, dependable, standard METHODS that can be applied to anything YOU want to cook. That’s what the professionals know and home cooks are quickly finding out the same secrets.
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Then, you’ll know when you’re baking steak and not grilling it.