A steakhouse favorite, the top loin strip steak goes by several other names, including New York strip and Kansas City strip. This high-end steak is a smart choice for backyard grilling because, while it is easy to cook, tender and well-marbled, it does not have the flareup-inducing fat pockets that a rib-eye has. When grilling top loin strip steaks, it is best to use a steak that is between 1 1/2 and 2 inches thick, because thinner steaks are hard to sear properly without overcooking the center.
- Wire rack and platter/plate (optional)
- Butcher paper, cheesecloth or kitchen towels (optional)
- Paper towels
- Granulated garlic
- Grill brush
- Meat thermometer
- Serving platter
- Aluminum foil
For high-heat cooking on charcoal grills, whole lump charcoal is a better choice than briquettes. Lump charcoal burns substantially hotter than briquettes and will give you a better sear on your steaks. To get a more "natural" grilled flavor with a gas grill, cook the steaks with wood smoke. To create wood smoke on your gas grill, use smoking wood chips -- for steaks, oak, cherry, mesquite, olive and grapevine cuttings all have complementary flavors -- and soak for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Add these chips to a smoker box, if you have one, or an aluminum foil pouch punctured with several holes. Place the wood chip pouch or box on the cooking grate while preheating the grill, once the chips begin to vigorously smoke you are ready to grill. Flipping the steaks frequently will not allow for your steaks to have the traditional crosshatch grill marks, but they will cook more quickly and have a more consistent temperature throughout their interior with frequent flipping while grilling.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a safe cooking temperature of 145 F with a five-minute resting period for beef steaks. This will result in finished, rested steaks that are at or near medium well.
Rub the top loin strip steaks liberally with salt and allow to them rest at room temperature for 40 minutes to one hour. If you have the time -- and space -- you can get better texture and flavor by salting the steaks several days beforehand, storing them in the refrigerator on a wire rack set inside a plate or pan and loosely covering them with butcher paper, clean kitchen towels or several layers of cheesecloth. Then, when you are ready to cook the steaks, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature for 40 minutes to an hour.
Turn all burners to high on a propane grill and preheat the grill for at least 15 minutes. If you're using a charcoal grill, remove the top grill great and light the coals. Spread the coals out when they're blazing hot and covered with a thin layer of ash. Replace the top cooking grate on the grill once the coals are evenly spread.
Pat the steaks dry with paper towels.
Rub the steaks with freshly cracked black pepper and granulated garlic.
Clean the grilling grate surface of all burnt bits and grill grit with a grill brush.
Place the steaks on the grill and flip them at least every 60 seconds. Remove the steaks from the grill to a warmed platter when they reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit for rare, 130 F for medium rare and 135 to 140 F for medium -- the steaks will rise in temperature an additional 5 to 10 F while tented and resting. You should start checking for doneness, using a meat thermometer, after about seven or eight minutes of grilling.
Tent the plattered steaks, using aluminum foil, and allow them to rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.
Plate the steaks and serve with spooned-over steak drippings from the resting platter.
Things You'll Need
- Serious Eats: The Food Lab: How to Grill a Steak, a Complete Guide
- Super Crusty Grilled Steaks; Cooks Illustrated Summer Grilling 2011; Lynn Clark
- How to Grill; Steven Raichlen
- Simple Cuisine; Tim Creehan
- Food Network: Meat and Poultry Temperature Guide
- Cooking Issues: McGee Days Two and Three: Steak, Fish, Burgers and Love
- Foodsafey.gov: Minimum Safe Cooking Temperatures
Kurt Schrader has been writing professionally since 2005. He has also worked in the hospitality and travel industries for more than 10 years. Schrader holds a bachelor's degree in management, a master's degree in information studies and a Juris Doctor from Florida State University.