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How To Grill A 2 Inch Thick Steak

How to grill a 2 inch thick steak depends on the cut you choose. A thick t-bone steak is a delicious choice that’s tender and flavorful. But it grills a little different that a thick filet. The best way to cook thick cuts of steak is on the grill, pan seared using a cast iron skillet or in an oven. Pans create a wonderful crust that’s hard to match using other cooking methods. And you can use butter. Broiled steaks in the oven are a great choice and it’s easier to control the meats temperature. But I just love a grilled steak. The taste and grill marks are hard to beat using a pan or broiler. But no matter which method you choose, a tender and juicy steak should be the goal.

Always pay attention to steak grilling times and the quality of meat. No matter the cut of 2 inch steak you choose, the meat should be good quality. The better it is, the easier it is to cook.

2-inch steaks are on the thick side, but not too thick to cook properly. The most popular way to cook a 2″ thick steak is by grilling it to medium-rare. Medium rare steak ranges from 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the steak is cooked enough to develop a great tasting crust but isn’t rare. Use a meat thermometer to be sure your thick steaks are cooked just how you like them.

Best of all, you don’t have to go to a steakhouse to cook a thick steak, you can do it right at home with a grill or stove. This article provides a simple and easy guide on how to grill your 2-inch thick steaks to various temperatures, at home, on a grill or stove.

1. Gather Ingredients & Tools

The first step in cooking a great thick steak is gathering the ingredients and tools you’ll need. Cooking thicker steaks is harder because you have to adjust the heat as you go. A good sear on both sides is important because it locks in juices. But then you need a steady medium heat to cook the inside to the proper temperature. It’s easy to cook the inside too long or burn the outside crust if your not prepared.

Almost every great chef will tell you to salt and pepper both sides of the steak. Some also use marinades or butter. And some like to add herbs and other spices. Whatever recipe your following, gather all your ingredients together before you start cooking.

Cooking a great thick steak requires careful monitoring of heat and cooking time so you don’t want to be running to the fridge for something you forgot. Preparation is a key to success when it comes to grilling.

Grilling a 2’ thick steak typically needs the following ingredients:

  • Black pepper. I like coarse pepper I grind myself.
  • Salt. Use coarse salt instead of regular table salt.
  • Meat. You’ll need a 2’ thick cut of steak
  • Butter. Generally use unsalted because I salt the steak separately.
  • Fats. In some steak recipes I use olive oil.
  • Herbs. Chopped fresh rosemary is a great addition to steak. 
  • Other. Sometimes I add fresh garlic, onions, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or potatoes in the skillet with my steak.

You’ll also need cooking tools like a fork, tongs, bowls, a plate, skillet, cutting board or sheet pan.

When all your ingredients and tools are right where you need them, it makes cooking a great steak easier. You don’t want your steak to burn or overcook while your looking for things you forgot while preparing.

2. Thaw A Thick Steak Before Cooking

It’s very important to thaw out meat before you cook it. This will give you the best possible results. Cooking frozen meat will greatly effect its cooking time and outcome. The thicker the steak, the longer it takes to thaw. A 2 inch thick steak can take 2-6 hours to thaw out completely so plan ahead.

Thawing time depends on how cold your freezer’s temperature is. If your meat was in a fridge remove it 30-40 minutes before grilling. But a completely frozen piece of meat takes time.

Cooking meat while it’s still frozen usually produces a steak with a raw center because it has to thaw before it starts cooking. To overcome this you have to cook longer which overcooks the outer layers. Overall this produces a less than perfect steak. This is even worse when the meat is very thick because more of the center is far from heat.

Removing your steak from the freezer before cooking brings its center to room temperature. This means heat can penetrate and cook the meat without having to thaw it first.

I like to wrap the steak in a paper towel when I take it out of the freezer because it absorbs excess water from the ice. Just before I start putting spice on my meat, I wipe the steak a final time with another dry paper towel to get rid of any excess water.

During the thawing stage I usually trim excess fat off the steak. A 2 inch thick cut of steak can have chunks of fat on it that I don’t want to eat. This is different from marbling which you want. I’m talking about chunks of fat hanging off the sides of the meat.

3. Season Your Steak

Once the meat has thawed out completely and you’ve dried it with a paper towel, it’s ready for seasoning. Don’t season the steak before it’s thawed because water will shed from the meat and remove some of the seasoning with it.

There are a few good ways to season a thick steak before you grill it. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Salt & Pepper. The best way I’ve found to season a thick 2 inch steak is coarse pepper and salt. I usually use more salt than pepper but that’s just my personal preference. If you like a little more heat, use more pepper. Occasionally I use some red pepper flakes if I’m in the mood for a hotter steak. But you should always use a generous amount of salt on both sides. Don’t worry, it won’t make the meat salty. Much of the salt will run off as the meat cooks. But salt really brings out the flavor of the meat. Shake off excess salt and pepper before you grill.
  • Butter. Spreading butter on both sides of the steak is a great way to develop a thick crust. I use butter when searing steak in a cast iron pan.
  • Oil. Olive oil is great for developing a crust too and gives the meat a different flavor than butter.
  • Marinades. I like to brush marinades onto the before and during cooking.
  • Herbs. I use different types of herbs in the pan as I cook, directly on the meat and in the marinades I make.
  • Other. Adding other ingredients in the pan as you cook the steak is a great way to add flavor. Peppers, onions, and garlic are some great choices.

Spices, fats and marinades are all a great way to season a thick steak before and during cooking.

4. Preheat

It’s very important to preheat the grill, oven or pan. You don’t want to put a thick steak onto heat as it’s rising in temperature. Cooking steak properly is about steady controlled heat.

Clean your charcoal or gas oven grill as it heats up to remove any bits left from the previous grilling.

If your searing the steak, which I recommend, bring the pan up to as high a temperature as possible. The higher the heat the better. I like to add some butter to the meat and the pan. Don’t put the steak into the pan until it’s reached maximum temperature. Put the steak into the pan and let it sear not burn. Once seared, flip to the other side and sear it. Then sear the outer edges. A 2 inch thick steak is fat so sear the sides too.

How long it takes to sear a 2 inch thick steam varies based on the amount of heat you can reach in the pan. Some stoves can only get to 400 degrees while others can achieve 600+. This makes a big difference. Watch the meat and make sure it doesn’t burn. You want a nice thick crust not a black char. I like to use a 600 degree skillet to sear my steaks. Any hotter and you risk burning the meat. Cooler and it’s harder to get a good sear.

Use tongs to flip the meat instead of a fork. You don’t want to puncture the teak.

I don’t use any oils in my skillets, grills or pans unless I do it for flavor. Meat produces it’s own fat which should prevent sticking.

While you sear the steak, preheat the oven, grill or skillet you’ll be using to cook the meat’s inside. This should be a medium heat.

Once searing is done, I transfer the steak to the other heat source. Now that searing is done and you’ve developed a good crust, a steady medium heat will slowly cook the inside of your steak. You don’t want to transfer the meat to a cool heat as it comes to temperature. Transfer the steak to a source that’s been preheated.

5. Grill The Steak

Place your seasoned steak on the already hot grill, pan or skillet and let it sear for about 3 minutes. Let the surface form a crust but don’t let it burn. Flip the steak to the other side once a crust has formed. It’ll be brown but not black. Also sear the edges of the steak. A 2 inch thick steak has fat edges so cook it on its side.

Once searing is done, it’s time to cook the steak’s inside.

  • It takes about 5-12 minutes on medium heat to cook a 2 inch thick steak to medium rare. More time on the heat transitions from medium rare to medium and eventually well done.

Let the steak sit for 5-10 minutes before serving it. This waiting period allows juices to settle so that you have a more flavorful and juicy steak.

If you know how, test the meat’s temperature by touch. This takes some practice and experience but it’s a better way to do it. Using a meat thermometer to test the meat can erode the steaks juices, leaving it harder and more dry.

If you don’t have much experience cooking a thick steak, use a thermometer. Eventually you’ll get the hang of it and won’t need it anymore.

Use tongs to flip the meat instead of a fork. Puncturing the meat can let out juices that you want to keep in.

Cook High Quality Meat

When you grill a 2 inch thick steak, the USDA’s grading system will help you choose the best cut. The better the cut, the easier it is to cook because it’ll have less fat, gristle and bone. Whatever cut of beef you like, try to pick the best piece you can out of the rack.

You don’t have to get your beef from a butcher to get good quality. I buy lots of great beef from super-markets, Walmart and Target.

Beef is graded for its quality as follows:

  • Prime: Prime beef comes from young, well-fed cattle and has lots of marbling. That’s the thin lines of fat inside the beef. Prime steak is a great choice for grilling because it has great flavor, tenderness and juiciness.
  • Choice: Choice cuts are high-quality but have less marbling than prime cuts which is something I actually don’t mind. Steaks taken from the loin and rib are tender and flavorful. They make for some great grilling.
  • Select: These are much leaner than prime or choice cuts so they usually lack the juiciness and flavor of higher-quality beef. I actually cook a lot of select cuts because I like a leaner steak and I marinade. You can overcome a dryer steak by adding in juices with a marinade, butter, oils or sauces. Select cuts are some of my favorite 2 inch thick steaks to grill.

Ribeye, Filets, T-Bone and Porterhouse steaks are some of my favorite 2 inch steaks to grill. A tenderloin filet is the most tender type of beef, but it also lacks fat so some chefs don’t like grilling it as much. But I like to use butter, sauces and marinades so it doesn’t bother me.

Less tender cuts are usually better suited for roasting, braising or simmering with liquid rather than grilling. But you can achieve great results by using sauces or a good marinade. Pounding the meat also helps a lot to make it more tender and so does a soda bath.

How To Cook 2 Inch Thick Steak On The Grill

In my opinion, cooking a thick steak on a grill is one of the best ways to do it. The high heat can sear a thick steak and provide great grill marks. That’s something you can’t do in a pan or skillet. And if your using charcoal, the flavor of grilled steak isn’t something you can duplicate with other cooking methods.

  • Start by completely thawing your steak. If your steak is frozen, this can easily take 3-4 hours. A 2 inch thick cut of steak is fat so it takes a while for the center to thaw. When in doubt, give it an extra hour. You can check the meat by sticking a thin skewer through the center.
  • Bring the meat to room temperature. Remove your steak from the refrigerator 30-40 minutes before grilling.
  • Dry the meat if it’s been thawed to remove surface water. I pat it down with a paper towel.
  • Season your steaks. I recommend a generous amount of coarse salt and some pepper. Season the edges of the meat too.
  • If your using butter, now’s the time to cover your steak.
  • This is also the time to apply marinades to the steak.

Charcoal Grills

  • Preheat the grill before you start cooking the meat.
  • Place steaks over the hottest part of the grill and sear both sides for 1-2 minutes. A 2 inch thick piece of steak has fat edges so sear them too.
  • Then move the steak to medium heat and continue to grill. Reference the cooking chart for times.
  • For the perfect medium-rare 2 inch thick steak, grill for 18-20 minutes, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.

Gas Grills

  • Preheat on high. Sear both sides for 1-2 minutes. Then sear the edges of the meat.
  • Reduce to medium heat and continue to grill. Reference the cooking chart for times.
  • For the perfect medium-rare 2 inch thick steak, grill for 18-20 minutes, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.

After Grilling

  • Rest your steaks for 5-10 minutes before serving. Cover them lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time. This is called “carryover cooking”. The final temperature should read 135°F.
  • Resting steak is important because the heat pulls juices in the meat toward the surface. If you slice into the steak immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your steak. Letting your steak rest will give the juices time to settle throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.

How to Cook 2 Inch Thick Steak In The Oven

Cooking a thick 2 inch steak in the oven is a great way to do it if you use marinades or other ingredients. I like to cook my steaks with potatoes, carrots, peppers, onions and garlic. For fat I use oils or butter. It creates a very flavorful, tender and juicy steak along with some great vegetables. It’s also an easier cooking method because once you put the meat in the oven you don’t have to do much until it’s done.

  • Start by completely thawing your steak. If your steak is frozen, this can easily take 3-4 hours. A 2 inch thick cut of steak is fat so it takes a while for the center to thaw. When in doubt, give it an extra hour. You can check the meat by sticking a thin skewer through the center.
  • Bring the meat to room temperature. Remove your steak from the refrigerator 30-40 minutes before grilling.
  • Dry the meat if it’s been thawed to remove surface water. I pat it down with a paper towel.
  • Season your steaks. I recommend a generous amount of coarse salt and some pepper. Season the edges of the meat too.
  • If your using butter, now’s the time to cover your steak.
  • This is also the time to apply marinades to the steak.
  • When I cook steaks in the oven I usually cook them along side other things like peppers, onions, garlic or potatoes. Some of these ingredients require more cooking time than the steak but I like to cook everything in the same pan. To do it, start by cooking the other ingredients first, and then add the steak when ready.
  • Make sure to preheat the oven before you start cooking.
  • Place steaks on the rack of your broiler pan. Position the broiler pan in the oven so that the surface of the beef is 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Broil to the desired temperature. Reference the cooking chart for times.
  • For the perfect medium-rare 2 inch thick steak, broil in the oven for 19-21 minutes. Turn the meat about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.

After Grilling

  • Rest your steaks for 5-10 minutes before serving. Cover them lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time. This is called “carryover cooking”. The final temperature should read 135°F.
  • Resting steak is important because the heat pulls juices in the meat toward the surface. If you slice into the steak immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your steak. Letting your steak rest will give the juices time to settle throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.

How To Cook A 2 Inch Thick Steak With A Skillet & Oven Finish

I love cooking a thick steak in a skillet because the sear is rich and golden-brown with a fantastic flavor. This is probably my favorite method to cook thick steaks. And it can be done on a grill or on your stove top.

Generally I like to sear in the skillet and then oven finish the steak. But you can turn the heat down and finish cooking in the skillet if you don’t have an oven.

  • Start by completely thawing your steak. If your steak is frozen, this can easily take 3-4 hours. A 2 inch thick cut of steak is fat so it takes a while for the center to thaw. When in doubt, give it an extra hour. You can check the meat by sticking a thin skewer through the center.
  • Bring the meat to room temperature. Remove your steak from the refrigerator 30-40 minutes before grilling.
  • Dry the meat if it’s been thawed to remove surface water. I pat it down with a paper towel.
  • Season your steaks. I recommend a generous amount of coarse salt and some pepper. Season the edges of the meat too.
  • If your using butter, now’s the time to cover your steak.
  • This is also the time to apply marinades to the steak.
  • Heat a heavy nonstick or cast-iron skillet until it’s really hot. I like to get it around 600 degrees Fahrenheit but if you can’t get to that temperature just go as hot as you can. A hot pan delivers the best sear.
  • Place steaks in the hot skillet and don’t cover them. Sear for 3 minutes on each side and then sear the edges. I sometimes use butter when I sear my steaks.

Oven Finish

  • When the sear is done, place the meat in a 425°F oven and bake to desired temperature. Reference the cooking chart for times. Make sure the oven is preheated and 425°F before you put the meat in. Go right from the hot skillet to the hot oven.
  • For the perfect medium-rare 2 inch thick steak, bake for 12-14 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.

Skillet Finish

  • When the sear is done, lower the fire and cook the steak to the desired temperature. If I have two skillets I’ll transfer the meat from the really hot 600°F sear skillet to the medium heat 400°F cooking skillet. Reference the cooking chart for times. Occasionally I’ll cover the skillet as the steak slowly cooks.
  • For the perfect medium-rare 2 inch thick steak, cook for 12-14 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.

After Grilling

  • Rest your steaks for 5-10 minutes before serving. Cover them lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time. This is called “carryover cooking”. The final temperature should read 135°F.
  • Resting steak is important because the heat pulls juices in the meat toward the surface. If you slice into the steak immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your steak. Letting your steak rest will give the juices time to settle throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.

How To Reverse Sear A 2 Inch Thick Steak Like A Pro

A reverse sear is a professional restaurant way to cook a thick 2 inch steak, but you can do it at home. The great thing about it is that you cook the steak on very low heat which any oven can reach. It’s just 275°F. Then you sear the steak on high heat in a cast iron skillet. And because you cook the inside of the steak first, there’s no need to rest the meat after searing so you can eat it right away. There’s also less chance to overcook the meat because the oven temperature is so low.

  • Start by completely thawing your steak. If your steak is frozen, this can easily take 3-4 hours. A 2 inch thick cut of steak is fat so it takes a while for the center to thaw. When in doubt, give it an extra hour. You can check the meat by sticking a thin skewer through the center.
  • Bring the meat to room temperature. Remove your steak from the refrigerator 30-40 minutes before grilling.
  • Dry the meat if it’s been thawed to remove surface water. I pat it down with a paper towel.
  • Season your steaks. I recommend a generous amount of coarse salt and some pepper. Season the edges of the meat too.
  • If your using butter, now’s the time to cover your steak.
  • This is also the time to apply marinades to the steak.
  • Preheat the oven to 275°F. Place steaks on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
  • Place your baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Cook your meat until its internal temperature reaches 10°F lower than the desired final temperature.
  • Remove the steak from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Cover it lightly with foil.
  • Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s very hot. I like my skillets to reach around 600°F but if you can’t get to that heat don’t worry. Just get it as hot as possible. A hot skillet delivers the best sear.
  • Add some butter or oil and sear your steaks for about a minute on each side.Then sear the edges of the steak too.
  • The final internal temperature of your steak should be 135°F for medium-rare and 145°F for medium.
  • A sear will give your steaks a beautiful rich golden brown color and a wonderful flavor that’s typically associated with grilled steaks.
  • Serve the steak immediately after removing it from the heat. A reverse sear is different than other ways to cook steak, cooking the steak on low heat first doesn’t draw the juices to the surface so resting time isn’t needed.

Cooking Times For A 2 Inch Thick Steak

Always remember to fully thaw your steaks before you start cooking. Season them well before you start grilling. Sear on high heat for 1 – 2 minutes each side and then sear the edges. Once searing is done, move the meat to indirect heat and cook the inside. Turn the steaks 1 minute before the halfway point of the cooking time you choose.

To properly cook your steaks, use a meat thermometer or learn how to judge a steak by touch and looks.

  Gas Grill Charcoal Grill Oven Broiler
Rare 18-20 mins 18-20 mins 10-12 mins 17-20 mins
Medium-Rare 20-22 mins 20-22 mins 12-14 mins 19-21 mins
Medium 22-24 mins 22-24 mins 14-16 mins 21-23 mins
Medium-Well 24-26 mins 24-26 mins 16-18 mins 23-25 mins

Measuring Doneness Of A Thick Steak

To measure the doneness of a 2 inch thick steak, use a meat thermometer or judge based on looks and touch. This takes some experience with cooking thick steaks. If your a beginner I recommend using a good quality meat thermometer. An internal temperature of over 130°F is what I shoot for.

measureing steak doneness infographic chart 1

How To Cook A 2 Inch Thick Cheap Steak At Home

Considering today’s groceries and meat prices, there’s really no such thing as a cheap steak anymore. But there’s definitely a big difference in price between the filets I buy at a butcher and the cuts I buy at Walmart. And there’s a difference in quality too.

More expensive cuts of steak tend are generally more tender and have marbled fat. Cheaper steaks have more bone, gristle, fat, sinew, etc. The fat is in bigger chunks and there’s usually no marbling. These difference result in a less flavorful steak that’s dryer and tougher.

But you can overcome these draw backs if you no how. here are some tips.

  • Cook the steak in the exact same way so matter how much it costs. Thaw the meat, then season, sear, slow cook and let it rest.
  • The difference comes in the preparation. If a cut is tougher you need to tenderize the meat before cooking it. Pound the meat with a tenderizer to loosen up the muscle. You can also let it bathe in a soda bath overnight.
  • Because the meat is dryer you can compensate by adding fats and moisture. Cook with butter or oil. Use a marinade before and during cooking. Or use a sauce. Personally I love my steak with ketchup or A1 steak sauce.
  • Cook the steak in the oven with other ingredients that produce water. I cook my steaks with peppers, onions, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Spoon the gravy over the steak as it cooks.
  • Serve the steak with a salad. The dressing will provide some moisture to the steak.

If you know how to prepare and cook a cheaper cut of meat, they can be just as flavorful as the most expensive steaks.

Summary: How To Grill A 2 Inch Thick Steak

How to grill a 2 inch thick steak depends on the cut you choose. A thick t-bone steak is a delicious choice that’s tender and flavorful. But it grills a little different that a thick filet. The best way to cook thick cuts of steak is on the grill, pan seared using a cast iron skillet or in an oven. Pans create a wonderful crust that’s hard to match using other cooking methods. And you can use butter. Broiled steaks in the oven are a great choice and it’s easier to control the meats temperature. But I just love a grilled steak. The taste and grill marks are hard to beat using a pan or broiler. But no matter which method you choose, a tender and juicy steak should be the goal.

Always pay attention to steak grilling times and the quality of meat. No matter the cut of 2 inch steak you choose, the meat should be good quality. The better it is, the easier it is to cook.

2-inch steaks are on the thick side, but not too thick to cook properly. The most popular way to cook a 2″ thick steak is by grilling it to medium-rare. Medium rare steak ranges from 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the steak is cooked enough to develop a great tasting crust but isn’t rare. Use a meat thermometer to be sure your thick steaks are cooked just how you like them.

Best of all, you don’t have to go to a steakhouse to cook a thick steak, you can do it right at home with a grill or stove.

If you have any questions or comments about how to grill a 2 inch thick steak, email any time.

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