Skip to Content

How Long Should You Cook Steak on Charcoal Grill?

If you’re a die-hard fan of charcoal grilling, then you know how interesting it is to cook steak on it. Whether it’s a filet mignon, ribeye, or porterhouse, the expert BBQ master knows how to bring the best flavor out of them. But for those who wish to test the waters, knowing the proper doneness time is crucial. And this factor is the critical difference between a perfectly cooked steak and a poorly prepared recipe.

Here, we’ll look at the details concerning cooking steaks on a charcoal grill. And we’ll explore facts that work on a general basis so that you can use the knowledge extensively.

Steak Nutrition Facts

How Long Should You Cook Steak on Charcoal Grill

Factors to Consider for Charcoal-Grill Steak

Whether you’re a first-time or veteran in the BBQ field, knowledge regarding its cooking techniques is never excessive. And since charcoal grills come with their unique procedures, it helps to learn these facts before starting. But most grilled steak recipes rely on critical factors that help you attain great results every time. And some of the most important are stated below;

Steak Thickness


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Camillo Tomanek (@doncaruso_bbq)

By rule of thumb, the larger the steak, the longer it’ll take to cook on a charcoal grill. And this parameter mainly applies if you’re fond of cooking at a specific temperature. So, for example, a 2-inch ribeye will need double the time it takes to cook a counterpart half its thickness on a 500F grill.

Steak Temperature

Note that cooking your steak directly from the fridge would influence the grilling process. The reason is the steak will remain cold at the center, causing the meat to cook unevenly. The best method then would be to let the steak sit at room temperature before grilling. So, leave it on the countertop for at least 30 minutes before you season and cook.

Grill Temperature

Many believe higher temperatures cook steak faster, and this applies when you’re dealing with thick cuts. But thinner cuts will char faster on the surface, leaving the center somewhat raw. So while some may like this rareness in their steak, it’s mostly not advised. The reason is there’s an approved internal temperature beef needs to reach to be considered safe for eating.

As such, it’s advised that you master the right temperature for different cuts of beef. This factor helps create the right searing on the outside while driving the center to the proper doneness. One of the best ways to perfectly cook a steak is to use two heat zones on the charcoal grill. This way, the hotter side will encourage quick searing while the more relaxed side steadily cooks the meat’s interior.

Check for the perfect temperature at the two heat zone by holding your hand one inch above the grate. If you can keep it for two to three seconds, it means the temperature is perfect and at around 450F to 500F. Anything less means the grill is too hot, and the coals must be rearranged.

That said, at three to four seconds, you have medium heat, and four to five seconds indicate medium-low.

Cooking Time

The combination of the grill temperature and steak’s thickness determines how long it’ll take to cook. And this factor, in turn, relies on your preferred doneness. So, it’s advised that you cook at a specific temperature every time to ensure the measurement stays reliable. That way, you can tell how quickly the steak takes to reach the desired internal temperature.

But a standard rule that works for almost one-inch thick steaks over the two-zone grilling surface is;

  • Three minutes for both sides over direct heat,
  • Three minutes for both sides under indirect heat.

And in both times, the lid is closed over the charcoal grill. But it also helps to adjust this cooking time per the steak’s thickness and the grill’s heat. As such, reduce the cooking time if the steak is less than one inch thick, and increase it for thicker cuts.

Doneness Temperature for Charcoal Grill Steak

Analyzing the doneness of your charcoal-grilled steak depends on the use of a meat thermometer. And this variable is essential to preparing the best steaks on any grill. When observing your meat thermometer, look out for these temperatures to determine your preferred doneness;

  • 130F for Rare
  • 135F for Medium-Rare
  • 145F for Medium
  • 150F for Medium-Well
  • 160F for Well-Done

Once the steak attains the preferred doneness temperature, take it off the heat and leave it to rest for five minutes.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
How Long Should You Cook Steak on Charcoal Grill (2)

How Long Should You Cook Steak on Charcoal Grill?

Save Recipe

Charcoal Grilled Steak (2 Servings)


  • Two NY Strip steaks, 12 ounces each
  • Two teaspoons kosher salt
  • One teaspoon avocado oil


  1. Season the steaks, and heat the grill to create a two-zone surface. Grease the racks with avocado oil.
  2. Grill the steaks over direct heat for three minutes on each side. And once done, move them to the indirect heat and grill for three minutes on each side.
  3. Bring the down to rest for five minutes before serving.

If you want to know more about how to time your steaks on a charcoal grill, this video will be of great help.

  • Author: Bobby