- First step: get a good steak. The more marbling (white specks of fat throughout the meat) the steak has, the more tender it will be.
- Here's a great publication on meat quality and preparation.
- Don't get in a hurry. I tend to screw up steaks by essential flash-burning them. I love the crunch of the fat (I know; that's just gross) but it's not the correct way to cook the steak.
- Make sure you get the safe internal temperature for the meat: minimum of 145 degrees F.
- Add whatever spices or seasonings you want. If I'm eating it as a grilled steak, I'll just add a little worchestershire sauce to it. If I'm going to use the steak in fajitas, I'll just add some southwest seasoning as a rub. A tender, top quality steak won't need anything at all. For the more tough the meat (usually also the cheaper cuts), a marinade can help break down the "tough" part of it and improve the flavor and tenderness.
- Consider adding an extra steak or two to the grill, while you've got it fired up. Leftover steak makes excellent fajitas!
When in doubt, go to the NCBA or your state beef organization. They KNOW beef like no others. Another great source: the K-State meat science department. Dr. Hunter KNOWS his stuff.