Basic Grilled Steak (The Perfect Steak)

Cover recipe- Cooking Light,           Basic Grilled Steak: August 2006

Since I hang on to my magazines, I was able to pull out this Cooking Light from summer of 2006.  I’ve always been a little bit challenged when it comes to grilling good steaks… so the caption, “The Perfect Steak,” on the cover of this magazine really caught my attention.

The article offers 5 tips for making a fabulous steak.
1.  Choose a cut:
  Ribeye is a tender, flavorful cut that needs little adornment.  Tenderloin is wonderfully tender, but because of its lack of fat it benefits from added flavorings/marinades.  Flank steak lends itself nicely to salads when cut very thinly.
2.  Salt the meat:  Do this after you have started to bring the steak to room temperature, and pat it dry with a paper towel just before you put it on the grill.  This allows the salt to seep into the steak and eliminates water drawn out by the salt.  Your steak will brown better when salted at room temperature vs. cold.  Room temperature steaks cook more evenly too.
3.  Fire up the grill:  In terms of flavor charcoal vs. gas doesn’t really make a difference.  The best grills for individual steaks are those that allow you to adjust the distance of the rack from the coals.  General rule- 3 inches or less from the coals for a steak that is thinner than an inch… thinner steaks require intense heat to form a desirable crust before the heat has a chance to penetrate & overcook the meat, and three to six inches from the coals for thicker steaks… thicker cuts need less heat and longer time to allow the middle to cook without burning the center.
4.  Don’t overcook:  Cut into the steak in an unobtrusive place and examine the interior to check the doneness.  Or slide an instant-read thermometer through the side of the steak into the center to check temp.  Or use the touch test- a rare steak will feel fleshy, medium rare will just begin to bounce back from tough, and medium will feel firmer still.  Or look for juices on the steak’s surface.  A rare steak doesn’t release any juices.  As it approaches medium rare, you’ll begin to see red juices forming on the surface… and then more juices as it cooks more.  When the juices begin turning brown, it’s a pretty well done steak.
5.  Let the meat rest:  Resting after cooking allows the meat to reabsorb its flavorful juices.  Let rest for 5 minutes per inch of thickness.  Internal temperature of the steak will rise 5 to 10 degrees during resting.

Read my notes below to see how my steak turned out.

Print Print Recipe

Basic Grilled Steak

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 min + standing times

Cook Time: 5 min


4 (8-ounce) ribeye steaks, trimmed (about 3/4-inch thick)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray


1.  Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and pepper.  Let steaks stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2.  Prepare grill.
3.  Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel.  Place steaks on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove from grill.  Cover steaks loosely with foil; let stand 5 minutes.


*I had always thought that adding salt to a steak before grilling was a bad idea- that it would make the meat come out dry.  Not so if you add it when the meat is at room temperature.  Great information!

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 steak
Calories per serving: 350
Fat per serving: 15.3g
Saturated Fat per serving: 6.1g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">683g
Fiber per serving: .1g
Protein per serving: 49.2g
Cholesterol per serving: 155mg
Carbohydrates per serving: .3g

  Cooking Light, August 2006

The results:

I followed all of the tips above to a “T,” and my steak turned out perfect… really!  It was tender and juicy and full of flavor… no marinade needed. I didn’t know a thing about steak or how to properly grill it before reading this article.  They were right… ribeye needs next to nothing added to it to make a great steak. I love this tip in the magazine: you can always put a steak back on the grill if it’s too rare, but you can’t uncook a well-done steak.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes.  What a wonderful tutorial to offer during the summer grilling months.  And the steak really does turn out perfect!

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

Warning: Use of undefined constant rand - assumed 'rand' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /var/www/clients/client0/web83/web/wp-content/themes/culinarycovers/single.php on line 72

8 Responses to “Two- Cheese Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. 1

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — September 2, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

    Yeah, when you said ‘healthy mac & cheese” I was like, there’s no such thing. I’m glad to see that you liked it. I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. 2

    Tieghan — September 2, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    Oh wow, this looks amazing!! I have never used chicken broth in mac and cheese, but I trust you, so I think I need to make this! Thank you for sharing!

  3. 3

    Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet — September 3, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    I will have to try this lighter version of mac and cheese as my kids are huge fans! Great review, Lori!

  4. 4

    bridget {bake at 350} — September 3, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    Lori…this looks so good! Cream cheese?!? Hello! Love your notes! I always love a little red pepper, too!

  5. 5

    Becky — September 4, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    Interesting. Since you do not salt the pasta is it salty enough? I’m a big proponent of cooking my pasta in heavily salted water since it flavors the entire outcome of a pasta dish, but I’m guessing the chicken broth stands in for the salted water. So if you make this a 3 serving meal it becomes 716 calories per serving – yikes! I always like to add some dry mustard to my mac n cheese. Especially since this recipe is careful not to use too much cheese, some mustard or red pepper flakes would probably add great flavor!

    • Lori Lange replied: — September 4th, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

      I personally didn’t think so, but I also like to add a good sprinkle of salt to pretty much everything when it is served!

  6. 6

    Jamie — September 9, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    I made this as a side dish and my family loved it, my son and I ate it for a couple days afterwards. When I asked my husband how he liked it his response was “very good, but it can’t be healthy” and I told him it was a lightened up version of mac & cheese, he was surprised. It was very good and I will make this again. Next time I’ll add the red pepper flakes as Lori suggested and maybe some spinach to give it some more nutrients. I also used more garlic than the recipe called for and we thought the garlic was a huge bump to making this so good.

    • Lori Lange replied: — September 10th, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

      Adding spinach sounds like a wonderful idea! Glad you all enjoyed…

Leave a Comment