Ribeye steak is always popular because of its tenderness and generous marbling, which give it a wholesome, rich flavor. Regardless of the type of grill you’re using, preparing the perfect ribeye can be a little trickier than other cuts for two main reasons.
First, ribeye is made up of more than one muscle containing different amounts of fat, meaning that it will cook at different speeds. And secondly, since ribeye is often served bone-in, the meat closer to the bone generally takes longer to cook. Nevertheless, the taste of a perfectly grilled ribeye will be worth every bit of the extra consideration in the end. Here’s what you need to know.
Choosing the Perfect Steak
Before we get into the “meat” of grilling your ribeye, it’s worth mentioning that even a perfect grilling method cannot guarantee a great-tasting steak if the meat you’re using isn’t perfect either. Below are a few guidelines to help you choose a good cut at your butcher.
- Grass-fed – Favor grass-fed meat over other options. It may cost a little more, but the difference is worth the price.
- Marbling – Pay attention to the little white lines of fat running through the steak. This melts into the steak and makes it juicier, so be sure to select cuts that have sufficient marbling to keep your steak from drying out easily.
- Weight – The thickness of the steak affects the cooking time. Thin steaks generally dry out quickly since they have less fat. A cut that’s around 1.5 inches thick is usually ideal for grilling.
As far as possible, try to purchase your cut as close to the time you plan to grill it as possible. While you can easily freeze and thaw the meat, the greatest taste comes from the freshest cuts.
Prepare Your Meat
Once you’re ready to start the cooking process, the first step is to marinate your meat and set it aside. While many people swear by different marinades to enhance the flavor of a ribeye further, the truth is, there’s only one ingredient needed to get your ribeye ready to grill. Salt!
Season your meat evenly on both sides with kosher salt (and pepper if you prefer), and place it in the refrigerator for an hour. While your meat is soaking up the salt, you can go ahead and prepare any side dishes you intend on serving with your ribeye. Remove your meat from the fridge after an hour and leave it aside for another hour to allow it to return to room temperature.
Fire Up Your Grill
As your meat approaches room temperature, you should get your coals going. Any coal will work well or if you prefer wood grilling, try to avoid pine and cedar. You want to set your coals as close as possible to the grill without touching it and running the risk of burning your steak.
The temperature should be 400 – 450 degrees, which will provide the perfect amount of heat to sear your meat. Once your coals are at the desired temperature, a handy trick is to spread the coals a little with the majority of the heat in the central area of the grill and less heat toward the ends of the grill.
Grill Your Meat
Finally, the part we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to toss that beautiful ribeye onto the grill. Try not to multitask while your meat is grilling because the process is very quick and the meat can burn very quickly on those scorching hot coals.
When your meat is on the grill, you want to try and turn it as few times as possible to avoid it from breaking. Ideally, two to four turns are the basic rule of thumb. Sear your meat on each side for one to two minutes, depending on how well you like your meat done. Once they have a nice searing on each side, move them slightly further apart on the grill toward the slightly cooler coals, and allow the meat to grill for the remainder of the times specified below. Once you take your meat off the grill, let it rest for about 10 minutes to allow all the juices to return from where they came.
- Rare: 4 mins per side
- Medium-Rare: 6 mins per side
- Medium: 7 mins per side
- Medium-Well: 8 – 9 mins per side
Tip: Keep the end with the bone outside the grill and the thick part of the meat over the center point of the heat.
Ribeye steaks are among the most flavorful cuts of meat due to their fat content. The key to preparing a perfect ribeye is keeping everything from your marinade to the actual grilling process simple. Keep your focus firmly on your meat from the moment it hits the grill, and only grill your meat for the amount of time specified to avoid having meat that’s overcooked to your taste buds.