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Grill a Steak for Dad on Father's Day

Here are some tips for grilling the perfect steak for your dad for Father's Day.

Nashville, Ark. – It’s the one time of year when we take time to share how much we appreciate all the things Dad has done for us, and the time he has given us. So why not take time to grill his favorite steak with all the trimmings.

            Imagine his pleasure when he sits down to a juicy grilled steak with all the fixings, and he wasn’t “king of the grill” for the meal. But what if you have no clue where to even being? Relax, help is here!

            Follow these tips for giving Dad a steak dinner he will love. Remember, safety first with the grill and the food. Make sure the grill rests securely on the ground, deck, patio, or other surface. Never leave the grill unattended and never use indoors or in a garage where the fumes cannot be vented. Always keep children and pets at safe distances.

            When it comes to food safety, be sure to always pre-heat the grill to kill microorganisms before placing the steak on it. Always use separate clean tongs and plate when removing the steak from the grill. This will help to avoid cross contamination of bacteria with uncooked meat.

            As with any cooking project, the right ingredients are essential. Depending upon your budget, decide which type of steak to purchase. Your more tender cuts of steak include rib eye, T-bone or porterhouse, sirloin or top loin strip. Because they are most tender, they will also be more expensive. Your less tender cuts, such as flak and top round will be easier on the budget. Give Dad the best your budget can afford.

            Although grilling will give you a juicy, smoky steak, sometimes you want to add a little flavor to the mix. Do so with rubs and marinades, both of which add flavor and tenderness to anything you put them on.

            Rubs are dry spice blends which usually include salt and sugar. The advantage of a rub is that you can rub them on immediately before cooking, adding mild flavor; or do it a day or two in advance, bringing the spice flavor deeper inside the meat.

            Marinades are liquid and usually contain something acidic such as lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt or tropical fruit like papayas, pineapples or kiwi. Both acids and enzymes found in tropical fruit react with meat proteins to tenderize. To keep food from becoming over-tenderized, it’s important not to marinate too long. The general rule of thumb is 15 minutes for seafood, four to six hours for thin cuts of meat, and up to 12 for larger ones.

            A quick tip for marinades is to use a resealable plastic bag – put everything in, seal it and give a shake. Never reuse marinades. If you want to make a sauce out of the leftovers, either boil them for at least two minutes, or make a separate batch for sauce. If you choose to marinate, thaw meat and marinate in the refrigerator, on a low shelf, on a plate to catch drips.

            Understanding the difference between indirect and direct grilling and when to use each provides different results. Direct grilling means just that - you are placing the food directly over the flame; indirect means that the food is placed away from the heat source.

            Once the fire in your grill is lit, check the temperature. To do this, cautiously hold the palm of your hand about 6 inches above the coals or heat source where the steak will be cooking, and count the number of seconds you can hold your hand there.

            Your fire is considered to be at high heat at 3 seconds or 500˚ F; medium high heat at 5 seconds or 400˚ F; medium heat at 7 seconds or 350˚ F; medium low heat at 10 seconds or 325˚ F: and low heat at 12 seconds or 300˚ F.

            If the grill is too hot, the outside of the steak can overcook before the inside is ready. If the grill is too cold, you won’t get the right searing, or sealing of juices.

            An instant read thermometer gives you the internal temperature instantly. If Dad prefers his steak medium rare, the internal temperature would be 145 degrees F; medium 160 degrees F; and well done is 170 degrees F once cooked.

            Pay special attention to how you turn Dad’s steak. Tongs are one of the most important tools. These enable you to turn the steak without stabbing it. When you use a fork, or something to stab the steak and turn it, you are allowing the juices, which keep the steak moist, to be lost.

            To assure that juices in the steak have had time to redistribute themselves, let the steak rest before cutting. This doesn’t have to be a long time; just a few minutes are adequate. Many times individuals will add a pat of butter to the steak as it rests on the grill to give it a wonderful flavor.

            If you follow these guidelines, Dad is sure to be impressed. Who knows, you may become the steak chef at your house.

            If you would like more information on Outdoor Cooking, contact me at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service located on the second floor of the courthouse or call me at 870-845-7517. You may also e-mail me at or visit our website at

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a recipe that Dad is sure to love. Make the marinade the night before and you will be ready to go on Sunday after church.

Southwest Marinated Beef Steak with Grilled Peppers

1 beef flank steak or top round steak cut 1-inch thick (about 1 ½ lbs.)

3 red, yellow or green bell peppers, quartered


½ cup prepared Italian dressing

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 Tablespoon honey

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin, optional

            Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and 1/3 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally. Refrigerate remaining marinade.

            Remove steak; discard marinade. Brush bell peppers with some of remaining marinade. Place steak and peppers on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill steak, uncovered, 17 to 21 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness (top round steak 16 to 18 minutes for medium rare), turning occasionally. Grill peppers 12 to 15 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Brush steak and peppers occasionally with remaining marinade; do not brush during last 5 minutes.

            Carve steak across the grain into thin slices. Season with salt. Serve with peppers.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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