Summer may be winding down, but it’s never too late for another satisfying grilling recipe! This no-fuss steak recipe makes a perfect weeknight dinner, and the jalapeno salsa comes together while the steak is off the grill and resting. Don’t have a grill? No problem because the recipe includes stovetop and oven cooking instructions, too!
And suddenly, it’s September.
I can’t say that I’m terribly sad to wave goodbye to summer. And before you all go throwing rocks at me, allow me the next two sentences to defend my stance. I’m not a summer-hater; I’m just a parent.
With summer comes travel-related schedule disruptions, impromptu late nights, and – in Chicago, especially – so much construction (although that last one happens to be inexplicably enthralling for toddlers, meaning I have a few minutes to breathe every time we talk by a crane, so let’s call it a mixed bag).
Summer means being extra busy, extra exhausted, and extra “carefree”. All great in theory, and in moderation, but all guaranteed to wreak a bit of havoc on a routine-driven family’s sanity.
Recipe Inspiration for this Grilled Steak with Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa
But, while I’m a little relieved to see September — and the routine that comes with it — I’m still clinging to a few aspects of summer. The warm weather! The ability to go outside on a moment’s notice (without having to bundle up, like the other 9 months of the year)!
Clearly, I will grill just about any main dish or side, and while I don’t eat red meat, my husband loves a good steak, and the thought of attempting a grilled steak sounded like the perfect final farewell to summer.
How to Make Grilled Steak
Cooking steak, let alone grilling steak, can be intimidating. It’s an expensive cut of meat, and chances are you’re a little more comfortable with the stovetop than you are around the grill. I know I was.
Take a breath. Relax. You got this. If I can do it, so can you.
Start by lighting your grill. Wait for it to get to medium heat (for a charcoal grill, refer to this grill guide for temperature suggestions).
Pat two room temperature steaks dry on both sides with a paper towel. You don’t need to marinate your steak; just sprinkle both sides with fine sea salt and black pepper before placing on the grill.
Cook until you see those nice grill marks form, probably around 4-5 minutes, depending on your grill. Then, using a pair of sturdy tongs, flip your steaks, searing for an additional 2ish-4ish minutes. Again, the exact cooking time will depend on your doneness preference, your grill, and the thickness of your steak.
Need a little bit more reassurance around the grill? Grab a meat thermometer, and use it to confirm when your steaks are done. There is NO better way. They’re ready to go when the internal temperature reaches 130–135F (for a medium-rare steak).
If you don’t have a thermometer, use the Fist Test. Make a weak fist with your hand, turn it sideways, and use your other hand’s index finger to press on the skin between your thumb and index finger. That’s what a rare steak should feel like if you press it. Now strengthen your fist and press down in the same spot. That’s what a well-done steak feels like when you press down on it.
When your steak is ready, remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board before serving. The suggested steak rest time is typically 5-10 minutes, depending on the cut. If you’re not sure, more time is better than less.
Your steaks will retain heat better than you’d expect, but tent them with tinfoil while they rest if you’re concerned about them cooling down too much.
How to Make Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa
Yes, grilling reminds me of summer; and yes, I’m a big advocate of recipes that don’t bother overcomplicating things. But as a final season hurrah, this seared steak needed a little something extra. A little extra kick.
Something like…a fresh salsa.
With jalapeno peppers.
And pineapple. Because, why not.
Something a little citrusy, maybe a little tropical, and just enough heat without overpowering the whole dish. But still, you know, simple.
To make your homemade salsa, you’ll start by mincing pineapple, tomatoes, scallions, and fresh jalapenos (if you own a food processor, just give it a few pulses and you’re good — don’t overdo it or it will turn into a puree). Mix with a spoon in a medium-size bowl until well combined. Next, add minced fresh cilantro, a teaspoon of fresh lime juice, and 1/8th teaspoon salt. Mix until evenly combined, taste and adjust the lime juice and salt to your preference, then spoon it over your grilled steaks — that’s it!
Tips for Grilled Steak Recipe Success
If it’s your first time grilling, know that there are several factors which will impact how your steak turns out, notably: the cut you choose, the temperature you prefer, and what kind of grill you own.
- Cuts of steak: I used a strip steak for this recipe, and also highly recommend cooking with ribeyes or skirt steak. However, you can use any cut you prefer, including hanger, filet mignon, and New York strip steaks.
- Cooking time: You will need to adjust the cook time depending on the cut of steak you select. For example, a thick steak, such top sirloin, T-bone, or porterhouse, will require more time on the grill than a thinner cut, such as flank steak. A boneless steak will cook a little more quickly than a bone-in cut.
- Steak temperature: What I (ok, fine, Bryan) define(s) as a “perfect steak” might not match your definition. You will need to adjust your cooking process slightly, depending on the level of doneness you look for in a steak (again, a meat thermometer works great for this). If you’re looking for a rare steak, pull it off the heat just before it hits an internal temperature of 130F; wait for (almost) 160F for a well-done steak.
- Marbling: A cut of grass-fed beef will typically require less total time on the grill than a grain-fed cut, because it has less marbling (or fat). Be sure to keep this in mind when cooking!
- Grill vs. broiler: If you don’t have access to a grill (or you stumbled upon this recipe in the middle of winter), you can prepare your steak in a grill pan on the stove, or in the oven instead. The grill pan cooking process will be similar to the outdoor grill – just make sure you’re using a heavy pan (cast iron is best; I like this one), that the pan is screaming hot and your kitchen is well-ventilated. If you don’t have a grill pan, preheat your oven to broil on high heat, then set your steaks on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Place your steaks in the oven, allowing to cook for four minutes, or until the edges start to look crisp. Flip your steak (being aware of flare-ups from the grease!), and cook for an additional four minutes.
Love This Steak and Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa Recipe? How to Use the Leftovers
With a steak that’s incredibly easy to prepare (and a salsa that’s so much more than a condiment) there are few things not to enjoy about this recipe. And if it quickly rises in status to “fan favorite” in your household, I have one final suggestion: Double the ingredients, store the leftovers, and use them again tomorrow night. Hello, zero-food waste.
By making a double batch, you could easily use this salsa in a variety of Mexican dishes. Save the leftover steak to prepare steak salads or tacos the next day, add a few sliced peppers and white onions to make steak fajitas, or serve over homemade tortilla chips with avocado and black beans for a nachos appetizer. However you choose to recreate it, hopefully you enjoy it just as much the second time as you did the first.
Now, let’s get grilling.
For the Steaks
- 2 strip loin steaks
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Salsa
- 1/4 cup minced pineapple
- 3 tablespoon minced grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon minced scallions (white & green parts)
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro or flatleaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, or tot aste
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- Turn on or light your grill and close the cover, so it can preheat.
- Pat both sides of your steaks dry, and sprinkle both sides of each steak generously with salt and pepper.
- When your grill is hot, place both steaks on the heat, near (but not directly above) the flame.
- Cook until dark lines appear, then flip and cook until the meat reaches your preferred level of doneness (see note).
- Remove the steaks from the heat and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Set it aside for about 5-10 minutes (see note) while you make the salsa.
- To make the salsa, simply stir all of the ingredients together until the flavors are well combined.
- Serve immediately, once the steaks are done resting.
- I used strip steaks here, because that's what I had on hand. You can use whatever steak you prefer, but if it's thicker-cut or bone-in, you'll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- You can use fresh, frozen (defrosted), or canned pineapple.
- How you prepare the jalapeno determines how spicy this salsa will be. If you want a milder flavor, remove the seeds from the pepper before you slice it. For a spicy flavor, leave some or all of the seeds in.
- A meat thermometer is crucial for getting the meat to your preferred level of doneness. Pull your steaks off of the grill just before they hit 130 degrees F for a rare steak, 160 degrees F for a well-done steak. If you don't have a thermometer, use the Fist Test. Make a weak fist with your hand, turn it sideways, and use your other hand's index finger to press on the skin between your thumb and index finger. That's what a rare steak should feel like if you press it. Now strengthen your fist and press down in the same spot. That's what a well-done steak feels like when you press down on it.
- The suggested steak rest time is typically 5-10 minutes, depending on the cut. If you're not sure, more time is better than less. Your steaks will retain heat better than you'd expect, but tent them with tinfoil while they rest if you're concerned about them cooling down too much.
- If you don't have access to a grill (or you stumbled upon this recipe in the middle of winter), you can prepare your steak in a grill pan on the stove, or in the oven instead. The grill pan cooking process will be similar to the outdoor grill - just make sure you're using a heavy pan (cast iron is best; I like this one), that the pan is screaming hot and your kitchen is well-ventilated. If you don't have a grill pan, preheat your oven to broil on high heat, then set your steaks on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Place your steaks in the oven, allowing to cook for four minutes, or until the edges start to look crisp. Flip your steak (being aware of flare-ups from the grease!), and cook for an additional four minutes.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Separate the meat from the salsa for storage.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2 steaks
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 590 Total Fat: 39g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 174mg Sodium: 533mg Carbohydrates: 5g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 51g