Searing gives your steak a crisp caramelization that makes it look like a work of art thanks to the science of the Maillard reaction. That’s the chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that happens when the meat hits the hot surface of the grill. It’s also what adds those classic grill marks.

Divide your grill into two cooking zones: direct and indirect. Click here for a primer on direct vs. indirect cooking.


For a steak that’s 1½ to 2 inches thick:

Grill on indirect heat first; see our beef temperature guide for optimal grill times.

Then sear on direct heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side.

The thicker the meat, the lower the temperature. Too much heat on a thick cut of meat will burn the outside before the inside can cook to juicy perfection. Also, if you’re grilling marinated steaks, pat them dry before putting them on the grill. Too much moisture will make the steaks steam instead of sear.