How to Grill Ribeye on Charcoal: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published By Kevin Turner

Last Updated Feb 12, 2024 is reader-supported. If you buy something using the links on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. This helps us pay our staff to keep making awesome content for you!

Grill Ribeye
Table of Contents

    Grilling the perfect ribeye over charcoal might seem intimidating at first. Trust me, I understand that moment of hesitation as you gaze at that beautiful cut of beef, the pressure to nail it weighing on your shoulders.

    But fear not! In this guide, we’re going to unlock the secrets behind expertly grilling up a juicy, char-kissed ribeye steak consistently. So go ahead and dust off that grill grate — let’s turn up the heat and get cooking!

    Key Takeaways

    • Start by choosing a ribeye steak with good marbling and an ideal thickness of 1 to 1.5 inches to ensure juiciness and flavor when grilled.
    • Prepare the charcoal grill by lighting coals in a chimney starter and arranging them for even heat distribution, aiming for high heat to sear the steaks properly.
    • Achieve perfect grill marks by placing steaks diagonally on preheated, oiled grates, turning them once without moving too much, checking doneness with a meat thermometer.
    • Allow your grilled ribeye steak to rest for 5 – 10 minutes after cooking; this step is crucial as it lets juices redistribute within the steak for maximum flavor and tenderness.
    • Experiment with specialty cooking methods like reverse searing, sous vide, air frying, or smoking if you want to try different flavors and textures beyond traditional charcoal grilling.


    What is Ribeye Steak?

    Ribeye steak is a flavorful and tender cut of beef that comes from the rib section of the cow. It’s known for its marbling, which adds to its rich taste and juiciness when grilled.

    Choosing the right cut

    I always look for a ribeye that has plenty of marbling. This white flecks of fat throughout the meat, because it will melt and add unbeatable flavor and juiciness as the steak cooks.

    The ideal thickness for a ribeye on a charcoal grill is about 1 to 1.5 inches—thick enough to develop a nice crust on the outside without overcooking inside.

    Choosing the right cut ensures I get that perfectly grilled steak with rich, savory goodness in every bite. Now, after selecting the best ribeye, my thoughts turn to preparing the grill; making sure it’s hot and ready so those grill marks are just perfect.

    Preparing the Grill

    To prepare the grill, start by arranging the charcoal in a pyramid shape and lighting it. Once the coals are hot, spread them out for even heat distribution. For more grilling tips and techniques, keep reading!

    Using charcoal

    I start by lighting the charcoal in a chimney starter, allowing it to heat until covered with gray ash. Then I distribute the hot coals evenly across the grill for direct cooking. Once the coals are ready, I place the ribeye steaks on the grill and sear them over high heat for a few minutes on each side, creating those desirable grill marks.

    After achieving beautiful charred lines, I adjust the vents to control airflow and lower the temperature slightly for more gentle cooking. Throughout this process, I keep a close eye on the steak’s internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer to ensure it reaches my desired level of doneness – typically medium-rare or medium.

    As soon as they reach that point, I remove them from heat and let them rest before slicing into tender perfection.

    Tips for achieving perfect grill marks

    After using charcoal to set up the grill, achieving perfect grill marks on your ribeye steak can elevate its visual appeal and flavor. To achieve this, ensure that the grill grates are clean and well-oiled before placing the steaks on them.

    Preheat the grill until it’s searing hot, then place the ribeye steaks diagonally across the grates. Resist the urge to move or press down on the steaks so that they develop distinct crosshatch patterns.

    Let them cook undisturbed for a few minutes before flipping them over to create those desirable grill marks on both sides.

    Grilling Ribeye Steaks

    Searing the ribeye steaks directly above the hot coals is key to achieving a delicious crust and juicy interior, so make sure to keep a close eye on them as they cook. For more tips on grilling ribeye steaks to perfection, keep reading!

    How to sear the steaks directly above the coals

    First, place the ribeye steaks directly above the hot coals on the grill. Ensure that the grates are clean and well-oiled to prevent sticking.


    1. Rotate the steaks by 45 degrees after about 2 – 3 minutes to achieve perfect crosshatch grill marks.
    2. After another 2 – 3 minutes, flip the steaks using tongs to sear the other side directly over the coals.
    3. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness – aim for an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare.
    4. Once done, move the steaks to a cooler part of the grill or onto a platter and let them rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.


    How to check for doneness

    To check for doneness, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Look for these temperatures: 120°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium, and 150°F for well-done. Once the desired temperature is reached, remove the steak from the grill. Remember to let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving to allow the juices to redistribute.

    Resting the steak

    Once the ribeye steak is done grilling, transfer it to a clean plate and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicier and more flavorful steak.

    During this time, cover the steak loosely with foil to keep it warm.

    The resting period is crucial as it allows the internal temperature of the steak to even out before slicing into it. It also ensures that when you do cut into your perfectly grilled ribeye, all those delicious juices stay inside where they belong.

    Specialty Cooking Methods for Ribeye

    Explore alternative cooking methods for ribeye, such as reverse searing, sous vide, air frying, and smoking to create unique flavors and textures. These methods offer different ways to cook ribeye steaks beyond the traditional grilling approach.

    Reverse searing

    To achieve a perfect reverse sear on a ribeye steak:


    1. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper, allowing it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat the grill to 225°F with indirect heat, placing the coals on one side and leaving the other side empty.
    3. Place the seasoned steak on the cooler side of the grill and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 110-115°F for medium-rare.
    4. Remove the steak and let it rest while increasing the heat on the grill for direct searing.
    5. Sear each side of the steak over direct heat for 1 – 2 minutes until a flavorful crust develops.
    6. Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving, allowing the juices to redistribute evenly.


    Sous vide

    To achieve a different cooking technique, I also love using the sous vide method for ribeye steaks. It’s a game-changer that delivers perfectly cooked steaks every time. Here are some key points to consider when using sous vide for ribeye:


    1. Preheat the water bath to the desired doneness temperature, typically 130°F for medium – rare.
    2. Season the steak with your favorite spices and herbs, then vacuum – seal it in a plastic bag.
    3. Place the sealed steak in the preheated water bath and cook for at least 1 hour (up to 4 hours for thicker cuts) to ensure even cooking from edge to edge.
    4. Once done, remove the steak from the bag and pat dry with paper towels.
    5. Sear the steak on a hot grill or in a blazing hot cast – iron skillet for just a minute on each side to develop a beautiful crust.
    6. Let the steak rest briefly before slicing and serving.


    Air frying

    To achieve a different cooking method for your ribeye steak, air frying offers a quick and convenient way to get the perfect sear and juicy center. Air frying locks in flavor and creates a crispy exterior without excessive oil. Here’s how to air fry your ribeye to perfection:


    1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and lightly oil the basket or rack.
    2. Season your ribeye with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices.
    3. Place the steak in the preheated air fryer basket or on the rack, ensuring it’s not overlapping.
    4. Cook for 8-10 minutes for medium-rare, flipping halfway through for even cooking.
    5. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness – it should read 130-135°F (54-57°C) for medium-rare.
    6. Once done, let the ribeye rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
    7. Enjoy your perfectly air – fried ribeye with all the flavors locked in!



    To infuse a rich, smoky flavor into your ribeye steak, start by soaking wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.

    Recipe FAQ

    How long should I grill a ribeye steak for medium-rare? Find out the answer and more by reading on!

    Cooking times

    Cooking times for a ribeye steak can vary based on the thickness of the cut and your desired level of doneness. I ensure my steak reaches the perfect temperature by referring to this handy table:


    Thickness of Steak Rare (120-130°F) Medium Rare (130-135°F) Medium (135-145°F) Medium Well (145-155°F) Well Done (155-165°F)
    1 inch 4-5 minutes 5-6 minutes 6-7 minutes 7-8 minutes 8-10 minutes
    1.5 inches 5-6 minutes 6-7 minutes 7-8 minutes 8-9 minutes 10-12 minutes
    2 inches 6-7 minutes 7-8 minutes 8-9 minutes 9-11 minutes 12-14 minutes


    I keep these times in mind as a guideline and always use a meat thermometer to confirm that my steak has reached the ideal internal temperature. Remember, these cooking times are for each side of the steak, and the grill should be preheated to a high temperature to achieve a good sear. After grilling, I give the steak a proper rest before slicing to ensure the juices redistribute for the most tender and flavorful experience.

    Grill Ribeye

    Side dishes

    For a well-rounded meal, consider these delicious side dishes to accompany your grilled ribeye:


    1. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Boil and mash potatoes, adding roasted garlic for rich flavor.
    2. Grilled Asparagus with Lemon: Toss asparagus in olive oil and grill until tender-crisp, then finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
    3. Caesar Salad: Toss crisp romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing, croutons, and Parmesan cheese for a classic salad option.
    4. Grilled Corn on the Cob: Brush corn with butter and seasonings before grilling until charred and tender.
    5. Creamy Macaroni and Cheese: Cook macaroni according to package directions, then stir in a creamy cheese sauce made from milk, butter, and cheddar cheese.



    Grilling ribeye on charcoal is a simple and rewarding process. Achieving the perfect sear and doneness is possible with the right techniques. Experimenting with different specialty cooking methods can add unique flavors to your ribeye steak.

    With these grilling tips, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with delicious charcoal-grilled ribeye steaks every time!


    1. How do you prepare a ribeye steak for grilling on charcoal?

    To grill a ribeye on charcoal, season the steak with your favorite spices and let it reach room temperature before placing it on a preheated grill.

    2. What’s the best technique to grill ribeye steak to medium-rare?

    For medium-rare grilled ribeye, sear each side over direct heat then move it to indirect heat and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F.

    3. Can I get barbecue flavors when cooking steak on a charcoal grill?

    Absolutely! Cooking ribeye on a charcoal grill infuses the meat with classic BBQ flavors from the smoke and open flame grilling.

    4. How long should I cook my ribeye steak on a charcoal grill?

    Grill your ribeye over high heat for about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness, for perfectly seared results that upscale any outdoor cooking experience.

    5. Do you have any tips for using grilling techniques to enhance my grilled ribeye recipe?

    Sure! For enhanced flavor, try meat preparation techniques like marinating or dry rubbing before grilling and always rest your steaks after cooking before serving.

    Learn More About Grilling

    If you want to learn more about grilling, check out these other helpful resources!


    How to Use a Weber Charcoal Grill: Easy Tips for Beginners

    Charcoal Grill Expert Tips

    How to Control Temperature on a Charcoal Grill: Expert Tips

    Can You Refreeze Chicken

    Can You Refreeze Chicken? A Comprehensive Guide


    How Long to Cook Beef Ribs on a Charcoal Grill: Tender and Flavorful


    Best Homemade BBQ Sauce for Chicken: Irresistibly Delicious!

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    Kevin Turner
    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you. You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional to grill great food!

    About The Grilling Master

    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of

    My passion has always been grilling, smoking and BBQ delicious meats that satisfy my inner carnivore!

    I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you, the hungry reader who wants to prepare the perfect meal. 

    You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional. 

    Send me a message and let's connect on Twitter here.

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