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How not to grill a grassfed steak at

How Not to Grill Grassfed Steak

Once upon a time, I was a non-griller. I didn’t know how to light a charcoal grill without lighter fluid. And the propane tank on gas grills just plain freaked me out.

I was seriously afraid of turning on the tank, envisioning the whole thing blowing up.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and fire is my friend. I am happy to grill anything and everything on apparatus from gas to charcoal to live-fire.

I’ve even made it my mission to help other women become comfortable cooking with flame in my Girls Who Grill workshop {e-book coming soon}.

For the uninitiated, the best place to start is with a grilled hamburger, because if you practice on ground meat, grilling steaks will become second nature, be they T-bone, flank or flat-iron.

Does it go without saying that all of this meat I’m talking about is grassfed {or perhaps grain finished but entirely on pasture} from an independent farmer in your region?

Steak Grilling Don’ts

This summer, I realized that I may have taken things a little too far, grown a little bit too casual about the whole grilling process.

Cuz here’s the thing. While you’re cooking over a real live flames, you never want the flames to touch your food. That’s the one thing that always bugs me about grilling photographs you’ll see in magazines, cookbooks or websites.

Men cooking with shooting flames coming off the grill makes me roll my eyes. It may look studly and all, but that is not at all how you grill.

Actual contact with flames is not good for the food or for you. It is to be avoided at all costs.

Preparing the grill for grassfed steak from
No matter if it’s gas, charcoal or hard wood, a hot fire and a well-scraped grate are essential.

So, do as I say and not as I did.

At a workshop event in Walla Walla a few weeks ago, there were 15 lovely people seated a long table in a lovely garden. And there I was absolutely charring T-bone steaks on a flaming grill.

What happened, exactly? Without making any excuses that I was scrambling to finish a side dish inside the house, I made a major error in judgement.

I left the grill unattended.

Grilled Grassfed Steak Rescue

It was only for three minutes. But I’ll tell you, I had that kettle grill cooking at about 700 degrees+. And even though grassfed steaks are lean, there was just enough fat rimming those steaks to drip down, ignite and engulf that grill in fire.

“Fire in the hole,” I shouted jokingly as I strode to rescue the steaks. Oh, man, I thought to myself. What have I done?

Without wasting a moment, I moved the steaks off of the grill. Because that is the one and only thing to do when your grill is flaming above the grate. No matter what you’re grilling. Just calmly use your tongs to move the meat away from the flame.

Flare ups are inevitable with chicken. But all you need to do is safely snare the endangered chicken part and slide it to a spot on the grill that isn’t flaming. Then, stand by because it will likely happen again.

And Recovery

As soon as the flames died down, I put the steaks back on the grill to cook the second side a bit. Then, I wondered just how incredibly overdone they were for my crowd of Walla Walla food lovers expecting medium-rare.

Finishing a grassfed T-bone steak over a hot grill to medium-rare without any flames.

I’m happy to report that they were rare to medium-rare after all {I even had to toss a couple of steaks back on the grill to finish them up a bit.}

But I tell you what, I’m now going to tell everyone two things to never do, two essential pieces of advice for grilling success.

Along with all of my other grilling grassfed beef tips, like preparing the grill well in advance, sourcing the meat well and seasoning it boldly, I now add a cardinal rule.

  1. Never let the flames touch the food.
  2. Never leave the grill.

{For more in-depth information about sourcing and cooking grassfed beef, check out my newly released cookbook, Pure Beef, praised by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Vanity Fair, among a host of others.}

Here’s my final Labor Day tip for serving the best grilled grassfed steaks: slice it off the bone {we can all afford to eat less meat} and serve it over a heaping vegetable side dish.

Here are a few seasonal Forage recipes to try:

I hope you enjoy the last long weekend of summer!


and become a forager

Grilled Grass-fed Steak for Four

This is the technique that serves me well in every season to grill grassfed steak to medium-rare (or even without a hint of pink when called for) that is juicy every time. How do you serve four people with two steaks? You slice the steaks after their rest and then serve them with heaps of salad greens and other side dishes. Try it on your next cookout guests!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry


  • 2 1-pound 2 T-bone steaks, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick grassfed
  • kosher salt


  • Pat the steaks dry and place them on a baking sheet. Season them liberally with the kosher salt, so that it looks like a light sprinkling of confectioner's sugar. Let them sit at room temperature while you prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (425° to 475°F), scrape the grate clean, and oil it lightly.
  • Grill the steaks over the hottest area of the grill for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare. (To cook the steaks further, slide them to the coolest part of the grill and close the cover, then cook them for 1 to 4 minutes more). Let the steaks rest 10 minutes.
  • To serve the steaks, slice them perpendicular to the bone 1/4 inch thick. Alternatively, cut out the bone and slice each meat section separately. Serve 4-5 slices per person and offer the bones to the biggest meat eater in the group.


Use this basic grilling technique on any premium grilling steak, such as rib steak( rib-eye when boneless), strip loin steak (aka New York steak), tenderloin or flatiron. 

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