How to Grill Steaks on Charcoal

Learn how to grill steaks on charcoal by using a Weber charcoal grill such as Go-Anywhere model. Easy to read instruction and a video, for the perfect grilled rare, medium or well done steaks.

Selecting the right charcoal and steaks are the most important steps for the perfect grilling experience and tasty lunch.

There are several types of charcoal to use on the grill. Some experts say that the best charcoal is a real lump charcoal which has no impurities in it, while other prefer briquettes, which can be found in varieties.

Choosing the right steak is personal; some like fatty Rib-Eye steak as it gives lots of juices and flavor, while other like steaks with less or no fat, such as Sirloin or Filet Mignon. T-bone is also a great choice. The best steaks in US are coming with the USDA prime grade.

Starting your Weber Charcoal Grill

Weber Go-AnywhereWeber Go-Anywhere

Weber portable grill was taken as an example to show you how to grill steaks on charcoal properly.

Once you have steaks prepared for grilling, it is recommended to have your Weber charcoal grill heated up for at least half an hour before cooking. It is assumed that your Weber charcoal grill was cool, clean and free of the ash.

  • Make sure that all the vents are open, so there is enough air coming in, as the charcoal needs fresh air to burn. So, remove the lid, open the vents and have the briquettes piled up in the center of the charcoal grate.
  • For the fast lighting, use the lighter fluid or cubes (cubes are the preference as these are non-toxic and odorless) under the briquettes and light the fire.
  • If everything is OK with the fire, wait for half an hour and rearrange the briquettes, so they evenly cover the charcoal grate.
  • If you prefer additional smoke flavor, you can always add hardwood chips with different flavors. Use the instructions from the package how to use the chips for the charcoal grill.
  • Keep in mind that two of the most important steps when learning how to grill steaks on charcoal is to prepare the fire and avoid rushing or putting the steaks too early. Let the charcoal burn until it is covered with a light-gray ash.

During the grilling, keep the lid closed to speed up the process. To prevent the heat to escape from the grill and slower the process, don't open the lid too often. Don't poke or pres down the meat as all the juices will go out, and the steak will dry out and lose on flavor. This way, you also want to prevent flare ups.

In order to avoid sticking your food to the cooking grate it is recommended to put some oil directly on the raw meat.

Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill is a top seller, which is, due to its portability recommended as the table-top grill, for camping and tailgating.

It has a large enough steel cooking grate that can grill several medium steaks at once.

It uses the side air dampers for better temperature control so the heat is distributed evenly.

How to grill steaks on charcoal by using direct /
indirect methods

Direct grilling method is recommended for steaks and other food that require up to half an hour to cook. The steaks are cooked directly over the hot charcoal and turned only once; the steak will be grilled half of the required time on one side and on the other side, another half.

When using your Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill recommendation is to use 16 briquettes for direct method.

Indirect method is for foods that require over half an hour grilling and where direct exposure to the heat and fire can make them dry. This method can be used for fish steaks, for example.

As the heat circulates the food is slowly cooked so there is no need for turning the food over. Charcoal briquettes will be set over and on either side of your fish steak where the dripping pan will be below the grilled steak. If using Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill, there will be 16 briquettes total, 8 per side.

If asking experienced cooks how to grill steaks on charcoal and get the best results they will tell you that the best method is actually a combination of these two.

Example: Sear one inch thick New York steak for 5-8 minutes on direct and high heat and grill 1-2 minutes by using the indirect method.

Time required to grill steaks on the charcoal grill

Cooking time is very important for perfectly grilled steaks. Cooking time for steaks depends on many factors, such as thickness, weights, type of the cut, wind or outside temperature.

Here is the approximate cooking time for beef steaks such as Rib-eye, T-Bone, Tenderloin or New York:

For the 1" thick steak it will take 5-8 minutes total and 2" thick steak 14-18 minutes total.

If you prefer rare cooked steaks take the lowest number (5 or 14 minutes), and for well done consider cooking longer (maximum recommended time). And for a reference, rare done steak is soft on touch while well done is firm on touch.

An approximate grilling time for 1/2" fish steaks should be 3-5 minutes by using the direct method and 10-12 minutes for 1" thick fish steaks.


There are many articles out there how to grill steaks on charcoal so the recommendation is to use several (including this one) and collect group wisdom into one. Cut of steak and seasoning are per your taste but the best results, including an appearance with the diamond patterns of grill marks, are a matter of practice and experience. Preparation, such as letting the steak sit for 20-30 minutes at the room temperature and let them rest for 5 minutes after cooking are also important. The best grilled steak is juicy and nice, not burnt and not dry.

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