Here are all the tricks I’ve learned for making the perfect grilled ribeye steak, after making hundreds and hundreds of them. Follow these tips for the most juicy, tender, and flavorful beef!
There is truly no greater food on Earth than a perfectly grilled or smoked piece of beef, and ribeye is king when it comes to my favorite cuts.
I’ve loved beef my whole life and have always enjoyed classics like Short Ribs, Beef Stew, and Prime Rib for special occasions, but since I’ve shifted into ways of eating like paleo, keto, and even carnivore in the past 4 years, meat has become the staple of my diet.
In other words, I’ve been making a ton of it, and I’ve really figured out how to honor a precious piece of beef. Given the cost, I’ve included as much detail as I can to help you nail the doneness every time.
Why This Recipe Works
We utilize multiple heat sources on the grill for perfect cooking – While a lot of the greatness of grilling is the singe those cast iron grates make on the outside of the steak, you actually want to partially use the lid to turn it into an oven as well. This makes it so that the interior of the steak heats up without overcooking the exterior.
Incredibly tender – You’ll notice that I call for taking the beef out of the fridge at least an hour before cook time, and preferably 90 minutes. I cannot overstate what a huge difference this makes for tenderness.
Incredibly juicy – There are a few tricks that help keep the juice inside the steak, like letting the meat rest on a wire rack instead of a plate.
So good it only needs salt – I only season with salt here because the beef is truly that good, but with that said, feel free to season with whatever you enjoy, whether that’s black pepper or something more flavorful like a Sazon Seasoning.
Look how gorgeously pink the majority of the inside is, while the outside is well browned and caramelized:
And yes, this one was quite delicious 😍
Traditional vs Grass fed Beef
I’ve cooked and eaten many different types of beef, and my preference for marbling, juiciness, and flavor is definitely traditional beef. I usually buy Certified Angus Beef because it’s consistently high-quality, but generally speaking, you will do great with any piece of Choice. Or Prime, if you can afford it.
If you prefer grass fed steak, you can absolutely use this recipe. Just make sure you keep an eye on doneness, as grass fed beef cooks faster and is less forgiving if you overcook it.
How to Make It Step by Step:
Making a perfectly grilled ribeye steak is mostly about planning ahead and taking your time. Let’s go through it.
Take the beef out of the fridge 90 minutes before cooking
I know it can be annoying to plan ahead, but this makes ALL the difference for juiciness and tenderness later on.
Believe me, I have tested this many, many times.
There have been times when I didn’t get home early enough to take the meat out in advance and I cooked the steaks anyway, and it always turns out drastically less tender.
The reason why letting the steaks warm up at room temperature helps so much is you don’t have to cook the meat as long. Your starting point is a lot higher.
It’s the same idea as my Glazed Spiral Ham, which is far juicier than your average ham, simply because it needs less cook time after warming up beforehand.
Season liberally with salt just before cooking
Season the beef all over with kosher salt, and not just the bottom and top, but also the sides.
As a guide, I do 3/4 tsp of kosher salt for each 1-lb ribeye.
Preheat the grill and get your rack ready
I have learned this the hard way, but you never want to get your meat on the grill before having your rack or plate ready and standing by.
If for some reason you happen to have a flare up, or if the steaks are done, you want to have a place ready to get your precious meat off the fire immediately.
As I mentioned above, part of the magic of the rack versus a plate is that the beef will retain a lot more of its juices. More on that later.
For preheating, make sure to preheat for at least 10 minutes. I have a 3-burner gas grill, and I only heat 2 of them, which preheats the internal temperature to 550F or 600F. When I actually begin cooking and have the lid opening and closing every couple minutes, the temperature hovers around 450F, which is perfect.
Time to grill!
After preheating the grill, get both of your steaks on:
Close the lid and let cook for 2 minutes, then open the lid and check if there are some good grill marks on the underside:
Turn the meat 90 degrees
Now turn the meat the other direction, so that you get even more grill marks going the other way. You are still grilling on the SAME side, just getting even more caramelization on the meat. Close the lid again for 2 minutes.
Once you’ve got some gorgeous grill marks from that 90 degree turn, flip the steak over.
Close the lid again for 2 minutes, then do another 90 degree turn, and 2 more minutes.
You’ll notice that we did about 8 minutes of cook time here, which I find is pretty reliable for a 1.25 to 1.5″ thick steak for not going past rare at the very least. But in general with meats like this, you need to make sure you do not cook by time only, but also by signs of outside doneness and a thermometer. A thermometer is a must (affiliate).
Check the underside again
Once I’ve got some good caramelized grill marks on the bottom, it’s time to check for doneness.
You can see below that I’ve got a reading of 118F, which is about perfect for my target of rare doneness, at 125F. The beef will always go up another 5 degrees or so from carryover cooking, even after it’s removed from the heat.
Rest the beef (don’t skip this step)
Let the steaks rest on the wire rack for 5-8 minutes.
Look how little juice leaves the steak when it’s rested on a rack like this. I learned this trick from Chef Rob Magee of Q39 restaurant in Kansas City, and as someone who used to put my steak on a plate that inevitably pooled with juices, it’s a great trick.
Your grilled ribeye is now ready to be savored, and you can slather the top with butter or get extra fancy by sprinkling it with some crunchy Maldon sea salt flakes.
Recipe Tips and FAQ:
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
My favorite way is to throw it on the grill again for about 5 minutes, just enough to warm the interior. You may also heat it in a 300F oven for 8-10 minutes, until warmed through.
A 1-lb ribeye that’s about 1.25-inches thick needs about 8 minutes to go to rare.
Suggested Side Dishes:
- 2 boneless ribeye steaks each weighing 1 pound, about 1.25 to 1.5" thick
- kosher salt
- At least one hour before cooking, and preferably 90 minutes, take the steaks out of the fridge and leave them at room temperature, uncovered.
- Preheat a gas grill on high for at least 10 minutes. I have a 3-burner gas grill, and I only preheat two of them, which gets the internal temperature to 550F or 600F. When I begin cooking and have the lid opening and closing, the temperature hovers around 450F, which is perfect. My cast iron grill grates are so well seasoned that I do not need to grease them, but if needed, grease the rack with tallow or another high heat cooking fat. Additionally, set a wire rack over a sheet pan out by the grill.
- Season the steaks all over with salt. I use about 3/4 tsp of kosher salt for each 1-lb steak.
- Place the steaks on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the steaks 90 degrees so you have grill marks going the other direction. You are still cooking the steaks on the same side. Close the lid and cook another 2 minutes.
- Flip the steaks over, close the lid, and cook for 2 minutes. Open the lid and turn the steaks 90 degrees, and cook for another 2 minutes, with the lid closed.
- Check the doneness on the steak using a thermometer. The temperature at this point will vary depending on the thickness of your steak and the heat intensity of your grill, but I find it is somewhere around 120F at this point. Because the temperature of the meat will go up about 5 degrees from carryover cooking, this is the perfect time to pull the steak so I reach rare at 125F. However, if you want further doneness, close the lid and keep cooking the steak for a minute or two until you hit your target doneness. It is most important to check for temperature using a thermometer.
- Let the beef rest on the wire rack for 5-8 minutes, then serve and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.