Cooking meat over an open fire is the oldest form of cooking—and if you ask a lot of seasoned chefs, it’s still one of the best tests of a cook’s skill. Finding that optimal point between raw meat and leather-tough doneness is where the art of grilling lies. Before the advent of kitchen thermometers, cooks had to rely solely on their senses, judging doneness based on the color of the meat’s surface and its resistance to a gentle prod. (In fact, old-school chefs would say that a medium-rare steak feels like the fleshy part below your thumb when you make an “OK” gesture.)
The problem: the range of temperature in which meat is cooked through and remains juicy inside but hasn’t turned into a blackened brick on the outside is very narrow. With the help of an accurate thermometer that keeps you updated with alerts, however, you can banish the guesswork and explore exactly what’s happening on your grill at every step—and even feel free to walk away.
The Weber Genesis EX-335 Smart Grill with built-in Weber Connect Technology turns your smartphone into a griller’s best friend, thanks to an integrated, app-enabled digital temperature probe, inserted in the meat, that monitors every step of the cooking process. The app’s preset cook programs, temperature alerts, cooking countdown timer, and other features offer you extra control over the cooking process—and as any veteran griller knows, more control means better and more consistent results every time.
Check out the video above to see how to cook the perfect steak using Weber’s smart gas grill, and then scroll down for step-by-step instructions on how to bring your grilling game to the next level.
MARINATE THE MEAT
A simple dusting of salt and pepper is all any good piece of beef needs—in this case, we’re using a flank steak—but a marinade adds loads of flavor in a short amount of time. The red wine vinegar in, say, a garlicky chimichurri will contribute some tenderness but it primarily seasons the meat. (Scroll to the bottom for the full chimichurri recipe.) Other types of marinades might include pineapple, papaya, or kiwi juice, which contain enzymes that further tenderize meat, but that’s not necessary for this type of cut. A 30- to 45-minute dip will do. Be sure to set aside some extra marinade beforehand to use as a sauce at the end.
PREP THE GRILL
Next, turn your attention to the grill, which needs to preheat to the proper temperature in order to give your steak a good sear. (Meat also sticks more readily to a cool grill, making cleanup a nightmare and wrecking any chance of perfect grill marks.) While the meat soaks in its flavorful bath, fire up the Weber Connect app after pairing it to your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. Select a cook program for your chosen cut, altering the desired doneness to your liking and setting a temperature alert to notify you when your steak is ready.
For flank steak, preheat the grill to 450 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and set an internal temperature alert for 125 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare. The app takes you through the entire grilling process step-by-step, even showing you how to prep the grill for high-heat cooking and offering tips for achieving the best grill marks. When the meat is done marinating, guide a temperature probe into the center of the steak and plug it into one of the built-in Weber Connect ports.
SEAR THE SURFACE
Now it’s time to cook. Searing a cut of meat over high heat does not “lock in the juices”—that myth has been thoroughly debunked by food scientists—but it does begin the process of the Maillard reaction, a chemical transformation that browns the meat and gives it that distinctly umami, roasty flavor and aroma. (The Genesis includes a high-heat Sear Zone for achieving precisely that.) Place the steak on the hot grill and select “Start Monitoring” on the Weber Connect app. The app will even remind you when it’s time to flip the steak and display a countdown clock, just so you know how much time you have to crack open a cold one with the boys.
PUT A LID ON IT
Once you’ve got the crust you want, slide the steak over to a cooler part of the grill to allow it to continue cooking at a more gentle temperature. A dual-fire setup like this ensures that you won’t turn that beautiful flank into jerky. Close the lid, crack your knuckles, let out a deep sigh, and feel totally free to walk away. There’s no need to peek under the lid if you get curious. The app shows you the steak’s internal temperature in real time and will alert you at every point in the cooking process, including when it’s time to pull your perfectly cooked piece of beef off the fire.
REST, THEN SLICE AND SERVE
The second-most difficult part of grilling a steak is not immediately tearing into it after it comes off the grill. Patience is a virtue, because all of that kinetic energy that your meat was just absorbing now needs time to settle down. Rest the steak for a solid 10 minutes under a foil tent to keep it warm or risk ending up with a desiccated piece of meat sitting in a pool of steak juice. When it’s time to eat, slice that sucker against the grain, which you should be able to identify easily on a flank steak. (Cutting across the muscle fibers means less chewing, making your steak seem even more tender.) Serve it with the rest of the chimichurri and enjoy.
Yield: 3 cups
- 1 ½ cups chopped parsley (from 1 large bunch)
- 1 ½ cups chopped mint (from 2 bunches)
- 1 ⅓ cups olive oil
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons red chile flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine parsley, mint, olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots, garlic, and chile flakes. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If using as a marinade, place meat in a non-reactive container with lid and coat with half of chimichurri. Cover and marinate for 30 to 45 minutes in the refrigerator. Refrigerate remaining chimichurri in a separate covered container to serve alongside cooked meat.