The Best Way To Cook Steaks On A Charcoal Grill

Cooking steaks is perhaps one of the best ways to make your meal.

 The best way to cook steaks on a charcoal grill is to make sure that the meat remains juicy while it becomes tender. 

Of course, it is easier said than done as making the steaks tender while staying juicy is challenging.

That is why you need the specific skills and knowledge to do it.

Charcoal grills are great for cooking as they can produce a lot of heat without making too much fire.

They do not produce flames as much as wood so you can cook with radiant heat.

They can also add a little bit of flavor to the steaks to get that familiar BBQ flavor.

You can also cook in them without the risk of too many flare-ups that might burn the steaks.

You can also control charcoals a little easier so if you need to cook in low and slow method, you can use a charcoal grill to do that and cook the food with the best finish.

I will share my secrets on how to cook your steaks properly on a charcoal grill with this recipe.

That way, you will make the best food when hosting parties or for a simple meal.





  • 1 and a half pounds of ribeye steak, bone-in or out.
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper


Herb Butter Sauce 

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • About 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced


Note: With a ribeye steak, the cut of meat should be around 1 and a half pounds without the bone. You can also choose other cuts like porterhouse and t-bone steaks.


Step 1: Prepare The Ribeye Steak

The first thing you need to do is to wash and defrost the steak. Run it under cold water or leave it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost the meat without the risk of contamination.

Trim the fat from the ribeye but make sure to leave a thin layer.

 This fat will help the meat get more flavor and make sure that the steak will not dry out when cooked on the grill.

Too much fat on the outside will produce flare-ups that can burn the steak instead of putting a charred flavor and texture to it.

Remove some of the fats and leave the steak to rest.


Step 2: Season And Let It Rest

After the steak has completely defrosted, wash it with cold water and dry it with paper towels.

Drying the surface of the steak will help it achieve a crispy crust on the outside.

Use salt and pepper to season the steak on both sides.

Massage the seasonings into the meat a little bit and then place it in the fridge for no more than 48 hours to start tenderizing it.


Step 3: Prepare The Herb Butter 

Get a saucepan and then put the butter and other ingredients for the herb butter in it.

Melt the butter over low heat and then let it rest in the refrigerator or on the counter if you are cooking soon.

Make the herb butter 10 minutes before cooking to get the flavors from the herbs to transfer to the butter itself. If it hardens, place it on the grill to melt the butter again.


Step 4: Prepare The Grill

Prepare the grill by setting it up to a two-zone cooking method.

 This is where you will put the charcoals only on one side of the firebox to get two different temperatures on the grill grates.

Light up the charcoals and let the grill preheat for 15 minutes with the lid closed.

Get a thermometer and measure the temperature inside the grill, it should be at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.


Step 5: Grill The Steaks 

Place the steaks on the hottest side of the grill right above the charcoals.

Close the lid and then let the steaks sear for 2 minutes before opening the grill lid again to flip them over.

Baste one side of the steaks with the herb butter and then flip it over.

Baste the other side of the steaks and close the lid to sear the steaks for another 2 minutes.

Once the steaks get a good sear on the outside and the crust starts to develop, reposition the steaks to the side with a lower temperature and then cook them for another 6 minutes.

Flip the steaks over every 2 minutes and baste them with the herb butter as well.

Grilling the steaks this way for 10 minutes will give them a finish of medium-rare doneness.

To make sure that the steaks are truly cooked, insert a meat probe into the thickest part of the steaks and aim for an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.


Step 6: Let The Steaks Rest And Serve!

 Once the steaks are up to the doneness you want, remove them from the grill and rest on a cutting board.

Letting them rest should take about 5 minutes. 

Allowing the steaks to rest will cook further and raise the internal temperature to a few degrees.

This will also make the steaks juicier when you slice into them.

After letting them rest, slice the steaks and then serve them while hot!


How Long Do You Cook A Steak On A Charcoal Grill?

This depends on the thickness of the steak but if you are using a regular steak, about 1 and a half inches thick, it would take no longer than 15 minutes to finish cooking it.

That is if you use high temperature to cook it.

This is necessary if you want a crispy crust on your steak as the heat will help give the outer parts a charred finish after a few minutes. 

Cooking regular steaks at high temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit will take only 7 to 10 minutes to get medium doneness.

Cooking it further will give you more well-done doneness.


Are Steaks Better On A Charcoal Grill?

The best way to put this is to not have a bad steak when you do it properly on a charcoal grill.

That said, it is not that easy to do as you need to time it perfectly.

Cooking steaks on a charcoal grill as the heat and smoke bring a bolder flavor to the steaks.

You cannot attain that with gas and electric grills as they do not give off the smoke needed.

Charcoal grills also produce direct infrared heat which means that they can sear the steaks better.

I guarantee that you will have a better crust on your steaks when you use charcoal grills.

When you cook on charcoal grills, you will get that slightly smoky flavor usually found in barbecues.

You get to add more flavors to the delicious steak compared to gas grills.


How Hot Should Charcoal Grills Be For Steaks?

 When searing steaks, you need to ensure that the charcoal grill has enough heat to create that beautiful brown and crispy crust on the outside but not too hot to burn it.

At 450 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be able to create that crispy crust on the steak within 2 minutes on each side.

However, you will not be able to cook the interior of the steak.

That is why I recommend using the two-zone technique so that if you are done putting that beautiful crust on the steak, you can use lower heat to cook the interior of the meat.


Can You Cook Steak Directly On Charcoal?

Yes, you definitely can and there are times when you get better results when cooking steaks directly on hot coals than lifting the steaks on a grill above the heated charcoals.

It can give your steak a better finish as the steak is closer to the heat source.

The crust will be amazing and the interior will cook faster so there is no risk of burning the outside part too much.

If you are worried about the ashes, then you just need to fan off the charcoals to blow away the ashes.

From there, you can cook your steaks directly on the hot coals for a great finish.


Do You Close The Grill When Cooking Steak?

 Cooking steaks on a grill means that you need to make the cooking process faster.

Closing the grill’s lid when cooking steaks will help make sure that the grill maintains its temperature. 

If you leave the lid open, the temperature around the steak will not be balanced causing cold spots around the grill.

It will slow down the cooking process as heat will not reach the inside of the steaks.

Closing the grill lid will allow the heat to go deeper into the meat and make sure that it cooks all the way through.

Are Steaks Better On Gas Grill Or Charcoal Grill? 

Charcoal grills give off a more traditional grilling taste and texture to your food.

Gas grills are great since they produce consistent heat but they do not reach enough searing power. 

There are gas grills that can sear your steaks properly but they do not do as well as charcoal grills.

Charcoal grills provide better sear on the steaks and cook them with even heat.

The advantage of a gas grill is that it can produce more steam than charcoal grills, which does not dry the steaks.

However, I would still recommend going with charcoal grills for a better steak!

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