Perfectly Grilled Ribeye Steak
Whether you’re grilling ribeyes with a gas grill or over charcoal use a little rosemary and garlic to highlight the steak’s natural flavors to create unforgettable grilled steaks
What makes this grilled ribeye steak recipe so delicious is how the tender, well-marbled cut, absorbs the flavors from the rosemary and garlic along with the heat and smoke from the grill.
Grilling ribeyes seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice is a perfect way to serve steaks from the grill. This classic combination elevates the steak’s natural flavors, adding rosemary’s distinctive aroma and character along with a touch of citrus from the lemon juice to brighten everything up.
In this Piece
What is a Ribeye Steak
A ribeye, or rib eye as it is sometimes written, comes from the rib section of a cow, usually between ribs six and twelve.
What makes this cut so desirable is that it comes from a part of the upper rib cage that isn’t used very much, producing a tender and flavorful cut with lots of marbling.
Ribeye is somewhat of an outlier among cuts of beef; typically, the more tender a cut is the less flavorful it is. Ribeyes buck this trend by being among the most flavorful and tender cuts you can get from a cow.
How to Grill a Ribeye
The two most popular ways to cook ribeyes are on the grill or roasting them in the oven. What we like about using the grill is how the fire caramelizes the outside and helps a slightly smokey flavor infuse itself into the beef.
Whether you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, learning how to grill ribeyes is relatively easy as long as you keep a couple of things in mind.
The first is to watch for flare-ups, the marbling is one of the things that make this cut so flavorful, it can also lead to pretty spectacular flames if a steak is left unattended for too long.
The second is don’t try and cook the whole thing in two minutes over high heat. The best ribeyes are thick around an inch to an inch and a half thick and take a little while to cook right.
We recommend grilling pretty much every cut of steak over medium heat to make sure it cooks evenly all the way through; because who wants to eat a steak that is charred on the outside and cold on the inside.
Also, there’s no reason to go through the bother of searing a steak over a super hot grill and then reducing the heat. As long as the grill has been preheated long enough for it to come up to temperature, it will do a fine job of searing the steak.
Tips for Grilling with Charcoal
One of the best ways to enhance the steak’s flavor is to grill it using a hardwood lump charcoal, such as mesquite or hickory. It’s the next best thing to cooking steaks over a wood fire — which you can learn to do in our piece on cooking steaks over a campfire.
The charcoal in the grill should be set up so there are two heat zones. This can be done by piling the majority of the charcoal on one side of the grill. Once the coals are ready the grill should have a hot zone where the steak can be cooked and a low heat zone where it can be moved if it’s flaring up or cooking too quickly.
A tip for this recipe is to add a couple of sprigs of rosemary to the charcoal right before starting to grill the steaks. The smoke from the rosemary sprigs will bring out the flavors in the rub and make the whole area around the grill smell amazing.
Tips for Grilling with Gas
Setting up a two-zone system is easy to do with a gas grill. When we’re cooking steaks on a standard four-burner grill we turn the two middle burners on medium to medium-high and leave the two outside burners off or on low if we’re grilling veggies or other items as sides.
A couple of other tips that work no matter what type of grill you’re using:
- Take the steaks out of the fridge and let them come up to room temperature. This usually takes 30 to 40 minutes.
- Get a good pair of long-handled tongs to handle the steaks and avoid burning yourself.
- Let the grill come up to temperature and clean off the grate before putting the steaks on.
- Use the steaks internal temprature to determine doneness.
A Quick Time and Temperature Guide for Grilling Steaks
One of the most frequent questions people ask is how long it takes to grill steaks. What we’ve found through years of testing is 8 to 10 minutes per side on medium heat is the right amount of time to grill a ribeye or similar cut to a beautiful medium-rare.
We’re usually cooking steaks that are 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick and weigh around a pound. Thinner steaks and hotter grills will cook faster — just as thicker cuts and lower temperatures take longer.
An advantage to using medium heat when grilling steaks is it provides a larger window of time to get the steak to turn out just right compared to scorching hot grills.
There are a couple of ways to tell when a steak is finished cooking. The first is to press your finger into the steak; it should feel slightly firm with a little bounce for medium-rare. The second is to use a digital thermometer. We recommend and use this instant-read digital thermometer.
To get an accurate temperature reading with a thermometer insert the probe into a thicker part of the steak from the side so the tip is in the middle.
It’s important to take the steak off the grill when it’s a few degrees under your preferred level of doneness to give it some time to come up to temperature while it rests. A general rule of thumb is to take a steak off the grill when its internal temp is 3 to 5 degrees under your preferred final temperature and to let the steak rest for at least three to five minutes under foil.
Here’s a quick guide for how done a steak is based on internal temperature. The guide is based on the internal temperature for the thickest part of the steak after it has rested.
|Very Rare||Very red, bloody, and cold||Below 130℉|
|Rare||Cold red center & soft to the touch||130℉ to 139℉|
|Medium Rare||Warm red center, firmer with a bit of spring||140℉ to 145℉|
|Medium||Pink all the way through & firm to the touch||146℉ to 160℉|
|Well Done||Gray and brown all the way through, very firm||160℉ to 170℉|
|Way Over Done||Dark and crusty inside and out||170℉ plus|
As an FYI – The USDA recommends that a steak reach a minimum internal temperature of 145℉ before it’s removed from the heat and to let it rest for at least 2 minutes.
Seasoning Grilled Ribeye Steaks
There are a lot of ways to season ribeyes. The marbling helps the steaks absorb flavors from herbs and spices. To help the spices adhere to the steaks and to add more flavor we often combine them with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
The ingredients in this recipe were inspired by the classic Italian dish Bistecca Alla Fiorentina, which is traditionally made with a porterhouse. Working together, the rosemary and garlic are magical, elevating the flavors in the ribeyes creating the perfect steak for hot summer nights.
When we’re serving the steak with Grilled Mushrooms we like to use a simple rub that includes smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper with a touch of Worcestershire to meld the flavors together.
What to Serve with Steaks from the Grill
The addition of rosemary and lemon juice opens up all sorts of options when you’re serving this steak recipe for dinner. The Tuscan flavors give the steak just enough Italian to make it a lovely companion to a nice Herb Risotto that is particularly delicious with some Grilled Asparagus.
It’s also an easy recipe to double or triple this recipe for summer dinner parties, we usually serve one steak for every two people. A few of our favorite side dishes for groups are Cheesy Polenta, along with Grilled Sweet Potatoes or Grilled Corn on the Cob.
An easy way to create a visually stunning presentation is to slice the steak on the bias, fanning the slices out on a platter.
Serving the steak sliced thin gives it an elegant appearance and helps it go further because people only take as much as they want to eat, which also means you can eat steak more often. And, let’s be honest, as delicious as it is, no one needs to eat a whole pound of steak for dinner.
Our favorite tip that brings the ribeye’s flavors to life is to sprinkle a little salt over the slices and give it a squeeze of fresh lemon juice right before serving.
In case you’re wondering, this grilled steak recipe is also delicious with NY Strip, T-bones, and porterhouses.
- 1 lb ribeye steak
- 2 tsp rosemary, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 lemon, sliced in quarters
- In a small bowl, combine the minced rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt, and pepper.2 tsp rosemary, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
- Rub the steak with the seasoning mixture, making sure to coat the entire thing.1 lb ribeye steak
- It helps to preheat the grill before adding the steak. Grill the steak on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes per side, depending on thickness. For steaks thinner than 3/4 of an inch reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes per side.
- Take the steak off when it's firm to the touch but still has some springiness. Let the steak reast for 3 minutes under foil whne it comes off the grill.
- Slice the steak on the bias, squeeze on a little lemon juice and sprinkle the rest of the salt over the top right before serving.1/2 lemon, 1 tsp salt