7 Grilling Tips From America’s Top Grill Masters

When it comes to grilling it’s safe to say that I’m a bit of a novice. Yes, I know the temperatures of what the steak is suppose to be and I know the difference between a charcoal grill and gas grill, but after that, it’s pretty much up in the air. Or smoke. So when I was invited by LongHorn Steakhouse to learn how to grill steaks by their Grill Masters, I was already packing my spatula. This girl has a lot to learn about the art of outdoor cooking.

Grilling, like baking, uses a dry heat source to cook everything from tri-tip to New York Strip. Whether you enjoy charcoal grilling, cooking on a flat top or even over an open fire, these grilling tips are a sure-fire way to cook up the most succulent meat you’ve ever tasted.

While at LongHorn I was given the chance to interview the seven Grill Master finalists competing in the Steak Masters Series. The event, hosted by LongHorn Steakhouse, pits the best of the best against each other for over $200,000 worth of prizes. Hailing from all corners of America, these seven Grill Masters have over 62 years of grilling between them. So yes, I would say they have the know how about what they are doing when it comes to whipping up a perfectly grilled steak

1.Clean the Grill Before Starting

Grilling Tips
Lyndsay Burginger

First things first, you gotta start with a clean grill. Using a grill brush not only cleans up the bits of food from the last time you grilled, but it also helps to prevent flare-ups and prevents your food from sticking to the grill grates. Ed Ortiz, also known as Big Ed, shares that starting with a clean grill is vital step to preparing the perfect steak.

2. Start Your Grill Smoking Hot

grilling with fire
Lyndsay Burginger

Assan Jallow, who has been working in restaurants for 16 years, shares that starting your grill at a high heat is one of the most important parts of grilling. The hotter the grill, the quicker the outside of the meat will cook and will prevent sticking. Using a grill thermometer will help you figure out when your grill is good to go.

3. Use a Thermometer

thermometer
Lyndsay Burginger

If there’s one tool Grill Master Juan Sacramento suggests, it’s an instant-read thermometer. Not only will it track when your meat is cooked to medium-rare , it also helps with food safety. We like rare meat, but there is a point when rare is Mooing- rare.

And forget that rule to let the steak come to room temperature before grilling. Not only is it counterproductive to cook a rare steak from room temperature, it’s also risky for food borne bacteria. Double check the internal temperature and your tummy will thank you.

4. Pick the Cut According to Preference

steak tips
Lyndsay Burginger

Everyone has their favorites and Alex Alvarado-Negrete is quick to say his. At home the Steak Masters Champion (2016) loves to marinade cheaper cuts of meat to make carne asada for his family. The quickest way to tenderize tougher cuts of meat is to marinade the raw meat in something acidic (like a squeeze of lemon juice) and a bit of olive oil for an hour or two. Even a 30-minute soak will do wonders compared to a non-marinated counterpart.

5. Be Patient

grilling
Lyndsay Burginger

Grilling isn’t like cooking on the stove in the sense that you constantly need to be stirring something. Grab a beer (or a mocktail) and Dylan Wike from Easley, North Carolina insists on turning your steaks 4 times before taking them off to rest. This will ensure grill marks and both sides of your steak cook evenly.

6. Use A Bold Seasoning

seasoning
Lyndsay Burginger

A steak is as only good as its seasoning. Even the best of the best (whether it be a perfectly marbled ribeye or a beef tenderloin) needs a little bit of seasoning to bring out all of the flavors. Michelle Cerveny, the National winner of the Steak Masters Series, shares that seasoning is key to any good steak. A little granulated onion, salt and pepper and a touch of garlic can go a long way. And of course butter. Can’t forget the butter.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

tips on grilling steak
Lyndsay Burginger

Kimberly Markley from Wichita, Kansas is no stranger when it comes to flavor. When it comes to grilling, Kimberly shares that seasoning should never be shy. “Being willing to try new foods is a sign of intelligence,” and we are ready to learn.

We suggest changing up your seasonings for something more exotic. Sprinkle on some curry or a bit of turmeric to awaken your taste buds. Who knows, a little experimenting might lead you to your new favorite seasoning blend.

Watch: We Tried the Otto Wilde OFB. Here’s What You Should Know.