Let’s take a look at the techniques used to make the best grilled ribeye steak worthy of winning $1,000. This post is a breakdown of the techniques used by two different grill masters who have won championships through Steak Cookoff Association sanctioned events.
If you are not familiar with the Steak Cookoff Association and their events let me give you a quick rundown.
Teams are provided with two ribeyes that are a little over an inch thick and weigh approximately one pound. The cooks have three hours to trim, season and grill the steaks. Any type of grill can be used to cook the steaks.
The teams have a 30 minute window to turn in the finished steaks which must be presented in an ungarnished Styrofoam container. The ribeyes are judged based upon Taste, Doneness, Texture, Appearance and Overall Impression.
The winner of the event typically takes home a check for over $1,000.
So, with over a thousand bucks on the line, how do the professionals grill their ribeyes?
Killer Hogs Competition Ribeyes
Summary: The Killer Hogs barbecue team is composed of brothers Malcom and Waylon Reed. They have a great YouTube channel (make sure to subscribe) and an awesome website. Malcolm is cooking over Royal Oak briquettes and using cherry wood.
Equipment: PK Grill, GrillGrates, Thermapen
- Season the steak with salt, pepper and garlic and let the steaks rest for 30 minutes.
- While the steaks are resting light your charcoal and get your grill up to at least 500F.
- After 30 minutes add a layer of a steak seasoning that has some texture and follow that with a layer of a spicy barbecue rub.
- Place the steaks on the grill and close the lid for two minutes.
- After two minutes open the grill and rotate the steak 90 degrees.
- Close the lid and let the steaks grill for two more minutes.
- After the second two minutes interval open the grill, flip the steak over and baste with melted butter.
- Close the lid and let the steak grill for another minute and a half.
- Open the lid, rotate the steak by 90 degrees, baste with melted butter and start checking the internal temperature.
- Remove the steak from the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 128-130F and baste with melted butter.
- Let the steak rest for 10 minutes.
There are a lot of details about how Malcolm trims the steak, how much seasoning to use, etc. in his video below.
KosmosQ Competition Ribeyes
Summary: Darien, aka Kosmo, won the World Steak Championship in 2015. He has a great line of steak seasonings, barbecue rubs, sauces, etc for sale over at KosmosQ.com. This is a 7-8 minutes cook. Kosmo is cooking over Kingsford briquettes and using hickory wood. Kosmo also has an awesome YouTube channel so make sure you subscribe.
Equipment: PK Grill, GrillGrates, Thermapen
Kosmo has shared a couple of different variations on how to grill a ribeye. What follows is a summary of his general framework.
Apply a salt based rub and let the steak rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Option #1: When he won the 2015 World Championship he used a light coating of each of the following Kosmos products: Cow Cover, Dirty Bird HOT, and Texas Beef.
- Option #2: In his backyard video below Kosmo is using Cow Cover Hot.
- Option #3: In his competition video below he uses a 30 minute salt brine followed by a one hour soak in a beer marinade.
While there is a lot of variation in those options the key components are consistent. Get some salt on that steak at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. Add in some other flavors (black pepper and garlic work great) and include something with a little bit of heat.
While the steak is resting heat your grill to at least 600F.
Cook steak for 1:15 then rotate by 45 degrees. Cook for another 1:15 and then flip the steak and baste with melted butter. Rotate the steak by 45 degrees and start measuring the internal temperature.
Kosmo gives two techniques for finishing the steak.
- Option #1: In his backyard video Kosmo takes the ribeyes off they grill when they hit 119F, wraps them in aluminum foil and lets them rest for 20 minutes.
- Option #2: In his competition video Kosmo takes the ribeyes off the grill when they hit 127F and lets them rest in a foil covered pan for ten minutes.
After the steaks have rested, season with a sprinkle of Himalayan salt.
Here is Kosmo’s backyard video. It is fun to watch and there are lots of tiny details that you can learn better by seeing than reading.
Here is a great video showing you exactly what an SCA event looks like. The video is a blast.
You can find Kosmo’s products here.
Let’s take Malcolm’s and Kosmo’s techniques and smash them together!
Master Recipe for How to Grill Ribeye Steak
- Get your steak seasoning onto your ribeye at least 30 minutes before you start grilling.
- The seasoning can be as simple as salt and pepper. To take the flavor to the next level you will want to add a touch of heat and just a touch of sugar. The sugar helps the grill marks pop out a little better.
- While the seasoned steak is coming to room temperature, get your grill HOT. You want the grill to be at least 500F.
- Place the ribeye on the pit, grill for 2 minutes and then rotate the steak by 45 degrees.
- Grill the steak for another 2 minutes then flip and baste with melted butter.
- After 2 more minutes rotate the steak and start monitoring the internal temperature.
- Take the steak off the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 127-130F and let it rest covered by aluminum foil for ten minutes.
- Sprinkle the ribeye with another dash of your steak seasoning and serve.
Ribeye Steak Seasoning Blend
- 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2.5 Tablespoons crushed black pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon cracked black pepper (the cracked pepper has more “bite” than crushed)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
A key aspect of both Malcolm’s and Kosmos’s technique is the use of GrillGrate grill panels. The most OBVIOUS reason people use GrillGrates is to get those amazing grill marks. However, grill marks are not the most IMPORTANT reason to use GrillGrates.
GrillGrates are important because they heat evenly and transfer that heat to your steak through infrared energy. This lets the steak cook faster and more evenly. GrillGrates are also important because they prevent flareups. If you try grilling a fatty steak like a ribeye directly over a pile of scorching charcoal then you are going to end up with dripping grease catching on fire.
Some steak lovers think grill marks are useless and over rated and prefer a caramelized crust on their ribeyes. Even these folks use GrillGrates. They just flip the GrillGrates over and grill on the flat side. If you are interested then here is my full GrillGrate review that I wrote a few years ago.
You can use this recipe without GrillGrates but you have to really keep an eye on things and make sure that the steak doesn’t burn.