Myths

MYTH: You should only flip a steak once — this allows a perfect crust to burn onto each surface.

REALITY: While there are some chefs who swear by the one-flip rule, others claim you can get a more evenly cooked steak by flipping it more often. In addition, frequent flipping will prevent a steak from curling or cupping, which can occur when connective tissue and fat shrinks more quickly than meat as it cooks.

MYTH: Seasoning steaks with salt prior to cooking will draw out all the juices, resulting in a tough, chewy steak.

REALITY: While it's true that salting a steak hours before it's going on the grill can draw out the juices and leave you with a soggy steak, seasoning with a healthy amount of salt right before it goes on the grill will actually eliminate surface moisture and allow the steak to brown up better.

MYTH: The best way to cook on a barbecue is to get it as hot as possible, and keep it there.

REALITY: Varying the temperature can yield better results and juicier steaks, says Bill Panos of Stack restaurant in Toronto. “Grilling is great at imparting flavour, but it’s a drying process. To retain moisture in the meat, the most important thing you can do is to start cooking at a higher temperature and then finish the cooking process on a lower temperature. These two steps are key.”

MYTH: Steaks will cook better if they're brought to room temperature before they're tossed on the grill.

REALITY: A steak that's left unrefrigerated for a few hours will not cook any better than steak right out of the refrigerator. Worse, leave a steak unrefrigerated for long enough and you're just begging for bacteria.

MYTH: Use tongs to flip a steak, since a fork will cause all the delicious sealed-in juices to leak out, leaving your steak to dry out.

REALITY: While this is true to a degree, the amount of juice that will leak out from three tiny punctures is negligible. The amount of juices lost is compared to "filling up an Olympic-sized swimming pool with water balloons then throwing a needle into it."