How to Grill Thin Steak

Thin steak is a favorite for many people when it comes to grilling. It can be tricky to cook, but you’ll have the perfect steak every time if you follow this step-by-step guide! First, make sure that your grill is nice and hot before putting the steak on—season the steak with kosher salt and pepper about 30 minutes before cooking. Coat the steak with light olive oil. Grill for about one and a half minutes per side (depending on how thin the steak is), remove from heat, and rest the steak for a few minutes. Serve with your favorite side dish, and enjoy!

As a chef, I like thin steaks because it allows me to cook thin steaks much faster than I would thick ones. One downside is that it’s easy to overcook and cools down much quicker. All pros and cons aside, let’s get on with one of my favorite cooking methods – grilling.

Here are a few steaks cut recommendations from me:

How To Grill Thin Steak

grilling thin steak
Grilling thin steak

Grilling thin steaks is tricky since it cooks quickly; therefore, it’s easy to overcook them. As a steak lover, there’s nothing worse than an overcooked steak. Follow these simple steps to make sure your steak comes out perfectly every time!

Here’s what you need for this recipe:

  • Rib-eye steak (it can be any steak of your choice: flank steak, skirt steak, filet mignon, t-bone steak);
  • Kosher salt;
  • Freshly ground black pepper;
  • Butter;
  • Fresh thyme;
  • Fresh rosemary;
  • Light olive oil (Here’s a list of some of the best oils for cooking steak).

Here’s the equipment list:

Note: to cook a thin steak, you need to keep an eye on it for the entire cooking time. Unlike thicker steaks, there’s no room for error. Also important to know if grilling tough cuts of steak, make sure to dry brine or use a marinade to tenderize the meat first.

Step 1: Bring steaks to room temperature

One of the best ways to ensure a perfectly cooked steak is to bring it to room temperature before grilling it. Take the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before grilling it. Allowing the steak to come to room temperature will help it cook more evenly, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful steak. Simply place the steak on a plate or cutting board and let it sit until it reaches room temperature. While it’s coming to room temperature, season it with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (or your favorite seasoning). Seasoning with salt for about an hour before grilling will tenderize the meat.

Step 2: Preheat the grill

First and foremost, clean the grill grates and rub them with cooking oil before using them. It’ll prevent sticking. Next, prepare the grill for two-zone cooking. It means that you will be cooking the steak over direct heat as well as indirect heat. This is easy for charcoal grills by creating one pile of coals on one side while leaving another side without any coal (if a grill is large, spread a few coals to create some additional heat). For gas grills, turn one burner to high and the other burner to medium-low. Check the grill temperature by placing your hand about six inches above the grates. You should feel the heat radiating from the grill. If it’s too hot to hold hands, not even for a second or two, wait until it cools down before continuing. The hot side of the grill should be around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to master the grill cooking method, make sure to read this article,

Step 3: Pat steak dry

Patting steak dry before grilling may seem like an extra step, but it makes a big difference in the final product. Patting the steak dry allows it to develop a nice crust when it hits the grill, resulting in a more evenly cooked and flavourful steak. So take a paper towel and remove the excess moisture from the meat’s exterior.

Step 4: Grill Thin Steak

Place the steak on a grill over a high-heat area and sear for a minute on each side. When a brown crust has formed, move the steak to an indirect heat area, away from the flames. If using a gas grill, turn one of the burners to medium-low and place the steak over that burner. Grill for a few more minutes or until it reaches the desired doneness. I’m cooking my half-inch thick rib-eye steak medium-rare; therefore, it takes around 4 minutes to cook. You’ll find thin steak grilling times below.

Step 5: Baste The The Steak

This step is optional; however, I highly recommend trying it. Add a few knobs of butter to the saucepan together with fresh thyme and rosemary, and simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Halfway through cooking the steak, baste it with herb-infused butter to add an additional layer of flavor to the steak.

Step 6: Check the Steak’s Temperature

Take a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the steak. Alternatively, use a finger test method if you do not have a thermometer. Continue cooking until 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. The steak continues to cook for a few more minutes when removed from the grill.

Step 7: Leave The Steak To Rest

After you finish grilling your steak, it can be tempting to dive right in. But if you want to enjoy the full flavor and juiciness of your thin steak, you should resist the urge and let it rest for at least five minutes. The fibers contract when the steak is grilled, and the juices are forced out. By allowing the steak to rest, the fibers have a chance to relax, and the juices will be reabsorbed, resulting in a tastier, more moist steak. In addition, resting provides an opportunity for the flavors to meld and develop, giving you a more complex and well-rounded steak.

Steak Temperature chart

steak temperature chart
Steak temperatures
  • Rare steak: 125° F;
  • Medium rare steak: 135° F;
  • Medium steak: 145° F;
  • Medium-well steak: 150° F;
  • Well done, steak: 160° F.

To check a steak’s internal temperature, you need to use a meat thermometer.

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test for doneness by pressing on the steak with your finger.

Steak Cooking Times

Steak grilling times may differ based on the thickness of your steak, the type of grill you are using, how hot the grill is, and your desired doneness. However, these general guidelines will give you an idea of how long to grill a thin steak.

Thin steak grilling times (for one-inch-thick steak):

  • Rare: 3-4 minutes;
  • Medium-rare: 4-5 minutes;
  • Medium: 5-7 minutes;
  • Medium-well: 7-9 minutes;
  • Well done: 9-11 minutes.


How do I make a thin steak juicy and tender?

You can do several things to make a thin steak juicy and tender. First, choose a cut of meat that has a lot of marbling. Lean cuts of meat tend to be tough and dry. Next, properly season your steak with a generous amount of kosher salt for at least 30 minutes before cooking it. It will help to tenderize the meat. Finally, don’t overcook your steak. To keep steak tender is best to cook until it reaches 145° Fahrenheit and no more than that.

Do you close the grill when cooking steak?

Yes, it’s better to close the grill lid when cooking the steak because it’ll help the steak to absorb the smoke and grill flavor.

Renaldas Kaveckas
Renaldas Kaveckas
Renaldas Kaveckas is an accomplished chef with over a decade of experience in the culinary world, having worked in esteemed, high-end restaurants across Europe. With a talent for combining traditional techniques and innovative flair, Renaldas has refined his signature style under the mentorship of respected European chefs. Recently, Renaldas has expanded his impact beyond the kitchen by sharing his expertise through his online platform. Dedicated to inspiring culinary professionals and food enthusiasts, he offers expert advice, innovative recipes, and insightful commentary on the latest gastronomic trends.
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