KarmaFleet Cooks: Steak with Aras


Header Art by Cryo Huren

This is the another installment of a new series here on INN, bringing you new recipe submissions from the members of KarmaFleet’s Discord cooking channel. Today, we have Aras Antollare bringing us grilled steak, and he means it.

Almost everyone has a grill, or knows someone with a grill. Almost every grill is neglected. Today, I’m here to teach you how to treat your grill right!

Start off with the right hardware

We won’t start with cleaning. Nope, that’s the last step, not the first. The first step is using the right kind of grill. Contrary to what Hank Hill might tell you, propane is not the way. Charcoal is the only way to grill, and good charcoal absolutely brings out the flavor in anything you grill. If you don’t already own a grill, you don’t need anything fancy – A basic 22″ Weber Kettle will get the job done. I regularly use mine for anything from a single steak for dinner up to a full family dinner with steak, hot dogs, fish, and veggies. 

You’ll need a few other tools to go along with it: namely a chimney, some fire starters, a bag of coals, some basic grilling utensils, and a fire extinguisher. When I started grilling about a year ago, I picked up everything I needed for right around $200 from my local hardware store. The only cost beyond that is the occasional bag of coals, and whatever meat you want to grill. It’s a cheap, easy way to eat healthy!

If you want a good steak, you need a good fire

Your coal selection is extremely important. Propane might be good enough for burgers and hot dogs, but it is out of the question if you want truly amazing steak or seafood. There are three options – charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal, or raw wood.

Charcoal briquettes give you a longer burn with more consistent heat and are readily available basically everywhere, but the wood used to make it is unknown, and the fillers used to create those uniform little cubes of charcoal can impart a flavor that someone experienced with lump or raw wood will definitely notice.

Lump charcoal is simply chunks of wood that have been turned into charcoal. There are many kinds of lump charcoal out there, but they all share a few characteristics that make them superior to briquettes. The fire won’t last quite as long (still plenty long for a family grill-out), and the temperature will cool down over time more so than briquettes, but you’ll get a much hotter fire. Many companies also tell you what kind of wood was used in making the charcoal, so you can play around with adding different flavors to your grilling.

Raw wood is your third option. Think campfire grilling. Big flames, hot fires, heavy smoke, and a whole lot of flavor. It takes more work to regulate than lump charcoal, and unless you’re cutting your own, it can get pricey.

Personally, I lean heavily on Rockwood Lump Charcoal. Good price, not a lot of gravel (the small, useless chunks of charcoal at the bottom of the bag), and it’s Oak and Hickory with a consistent flavor to it. I save the raw wood for special occasions (Applewood is absolutely amazing for steak!)

Aras’ Favourite Charcoal

I thought I was here to learn how to grill!

Let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of it! Expect the whole process to take roughly one hour total, with roughly 20 minutes of handling and 40 minutes of waiting. You’ll need the following ingredients:

Salt/Pepper (to taste)
Virgin olive oil

Yep, that’s it! Go with whatever kind of steak you prefer. I’m a fan of a USDA Prime Ribeye, but for this article, I used a USDA Choice NY Strip. This method works for literally any steak though, so if you want to grill up a strip, ribeye, filet mignon, or a fat porterhouse, go for it! Your local butcher is your best bet, but if you don’t have one, Costco has an amazing butchery.  Barring that, you can even turn a grocery store steak into a piece of art.

The Process!

Firstly, if your steak is frozen, move it from the freezer to the fridge and let it thaw for 24-48 hours. Don’t mess with it until it’s totally thawed! If you need to thaw in a flash, make sure the steak is in an airtight Ziploc bag, and submerge it in the sink in cold water for 30 minutes.

Take your thawed steak out of the bag, put it on a plate, and salt and pepper to taste. Fresh ground is best, but if all you have is pre-ground, that’s OK too. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Flip your steak, salt and pepper, lightly drizzle with olive oil, and let sit for another 15-20 minutes.

Get your coal/wood burning. Place the chimney on the lower grate, and then fill the chimney to just below the air holes with coal/wood. Place a firestarter under the chimney, and light it, allowing time for all the fuel to light.

After 15-20 minutes, dump the charcoal onto the lower grate of the grill. Put the top grate over them, put the lid on, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to get the grate nice and hot. Make sure your top and bottom air holes are open!

Take your steak and slap it down on the hot grate. Do not press down on it! Drizzle a little more olive oil on the hot coals – this will give you a nice flame for a good char on the steak. Put the lid back on the grill to keep heat in.  For a good 1.5″-2″ thick steak, let it sit for 5-7 minutes. For a grocery store steak, reduce to 3-5 minutes.

Flip the steak over, drizzle a little more oil on the coals, and put the lid back on the grill.  Again, for a 1.5″-2″ cut, let it sit for another 5-7 minutes (3-5 minutes for grocery store cuts).

Move the steak off the grill onto a plate and let it rest for 15 minutes. While the steak is resting…

Clean your grill.

A grill is much easier to clean while hot! You don’t need to get it perfect and shiny, just use a grill brush to scrape off any solid chunks and let them fall into the coals.

Dinner is Served!

Here we have it – a perfectly grilled steak!

It should be noted that if you want a medium finish you need to add some indirect heat time. Once you have flipped the steak and cooked off a nice crust, move the steak to another spot on the grill (so that it isn’t directly over the coals) and close the lid again. Ten minutes on indirect heat will give you a nice, pinkish, medium steak. 

If you want it well-done, just wait for me to write a piece on the perfect burger (coming soon). Also coming soon, I’ll be covering delicious grilled porkchops, juicy baked porkchops, quick and easy burgers and hot dogs, fish, veggies, and maybe even home-made sushi!

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  • Afri

    Spot on my friend. As a South African. This is 2nd nature for us

    April 2, 2021 at 7:20 AM
    • Rammel Kas Afri

      Indeed… if we don’t start arguing over which type of wood to use first. 😛

      April 2, 2021 at 7:23 AM
      • Aras Antollare Rammel Kas

        Oh don’t even get me started on wood/lump selection. I only barely scratched the surface to get to my usual go-to, but one of my future cooking pieces I’ll be using some raw mesquite or applewood.

        April 3, 2021 at 9:01 AM
  • Guilford Australis

    I did charcoal for a long time and still have a charcoal grill. Now I mainly use propane with a smoker box, and I’d contend that anyone would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a blind tasting between the two.

    Another worthy preparation for ribeyes and strip steaks is seared on high heat, finished in the oven, with a pan sauce made from the rendered fat and juices, butter, tarragon, and cognac or bourbon.

    April 2, 2021 at 2:13 PM
    • Aras Antollare Guilford Australis

      Not everyone can tell that they’re tasting the difference, but there’s definitely a difference to taste.

      And in the fine words of Wayne, “You’d be overhandling them there Squirrely Dan.” 😛

      April 3, 2021 at 8:59 AM
  • Rayford Carpathia

    Congratulations, on making me thoroughly hungry.

    April 2, 2021 at 5:01 PM
    • Aras Antollare Rayford Carpathia

      You think this is bad, you should see what we do in our cooking channel on Discord!

      April 3, 2021 at 9:02 AM
  • Froggy Storm

    I literally did teppanyaki ribeyes tonight over charcoal. I’ve never used one of those chimney starters, I need to look into one of those.

    April 3, 2021 at 2:26 AM
    • Aras Antollare Froggy Storm

      It makes starting coal or wood fires an absolute breeze, I love it. Highly recommend.

      April 3, 2021 at 9:01 AM
  • Caleb Ayrania

    This article gets 5 omnomnoms.

    April 3, 2021 at 11:28 AM
    • Aras Antollare Caleb Ayrania

      New one coming soon, just might get the glorious 6!

      May 10, 2021 at 6:45 AM