Brown Sugar Grilled Steaks

Steaks on a grill
Alexandru Stoica/EyeEm/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
647 Calories
40g Fat
13g Carbs
59g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 647
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 51%
Saturated Fat 16g 78%
Cholesterol 184mg 61%
Sodium 275mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 59g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 603mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A brown sugar glaze on a grilled beef steak may sound odd, but the result is fantastic. The sugar caramelizes on these sugar-grilled steaks for an unusual taste sensation. In fact, some of your favorite restaurant steaks may be using this trick.

This method is best used with steaks that are 1-inch thick or less. Otherwise, the sugar will burn before the beef is done, and it will become bitter. A thin steak that is 3/4- to 1-inch thick is the best choice (skip the Porterhouse). You will also need to carefully set up your grill to have a cooler area to move the steaks to if they are in danger of the sugar burning.

This recipe appears in Steven Raichlen's "Beer Can Chicken" cookbook and is reprinted with his permission. He notes that the recipe can be made using either brown or white sugar (both work well), but the white sugar seems to caramelize a touch better. When using sugar, don't be stingy with the salt as it is needed to offset the sweetness.


  • 4 boneless strip steaks, each about 3/4-inch thick and weighing 8 ounces

  • Kosher salt, or coarse sea salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, granulated or light brown sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place steaks on a large platter and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of sugar on the top of each steak and rub it into meat with the back of a spoon. Turn steaks over and repeat.

  3. Set up grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. It's a good idea to light the fire in such a way as to have a cooler section of the grill. That way, if the sugar starts to burn over high heat, you can move the steaks to a section that is less hot.

  4. When ready to cook, brush and oil grill grate. Arrange steaks on hot grate at a 45-degree angle to the bars of the grate so that they all face the same way.

  5. Grill steaks until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, rotating them 90 degrees after 3 minutes to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. Check underside of steaks as they cook by lifting one edge. If the crust starts to burn, you must move the steaks to a cooler part of the grill.

  6. Transfer grilled steaks to a platter and season again with salt and pepper. Let the steaks rest for 2 minutes before serving.

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