In the Czech kitchen: 10 tips for becoming a grill master from Prague steakhouse Čestr

Pros from a pioneering Prague steak restaurant teach us how to prep, season, and sizzle grilled steaks to perfection.

Klára Kvitová

Written by Klára Kvitová Published on 03.05.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 17.05.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Outdoor grilling season is almost here. As we wait for sunnier, barbecue-friendly skies the pro chefs from the renowned Ambiente mecca of meat Čestr share their tips and tricks for turning out succulent steaks every time you fire up the grill.

Čestr chef Pavel Brichzin gave us a sneak peek at a special course he teaches at the UM training center called Steak School, where he turns novices into grill masters when it comes to preparing beef steaks.

Meat from Čestr
Aged beef from Čestr

10 pro tips for grilling a steak

  • 1.Aged meat is best: Meat that has been dry or wet-aged is more tender, flavourful, and delicate. You may simply see the term “aged” in butcher shops, as well which is another name for dry-aged meat. Pork is left to hang on the bone but for a significantly shorter period of time and hence isn't an ideal choice for the grill.
  • 2.Choose cuts marbled with fat: The fibers of marbled meat are interwoven with thin veins of flavor-inducing fat, which doesn't mean that it is heavily streaked or, as they say, thick.
  • 3.Let the meat rest first: Temper the meat by letting it rest at room temperature for an hour or two before cooking. Taking a steak out of the fridge and throwing it on the grill shocks the meat causing it to stiffen up and lose its delicate tenderness.
  • 4.Don't marinade: If you buy a good quality cut, you needn't marinade the meat in oil or add extra seasoning, as the natural flavor of the steak will be enough. Butchers and chefs agree that marinading is a big don't considering all you really need is salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • 5.Shape your steak: Before throwing it on the grill or pan, shape the slice of meat into an even shape so it doesn't flatten. Steaks with bones will hold their shape better.
  • 6.Pan sear first: Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat slice and the temperature of the pan (if grilling a leaner cut of meat, lightly brush it with oil). The pan should smoke from being properly heated. If searing on the grill, watch the coals – once they turn red, the meat can be put on the rack. When turning the steak, be careful not to lay it on the part that has already been cooked, as it will have cooled slightly from the previous searing.
  • 7.Don't panic if it sticks: Can't turn the steak because it's stuck to the grill? Wait until the spots that are touching the grill are browned and the meat will loosen on its own. Then you can turn it over without any problems.
  • 8.Do use tongs: Most cooks are tempted to prick the steak with a fork and turn it. This is because when you prick the meat, all the juices run out onto the pan or into the grill. So use blunt instruments, ideally tongs, to turn it.
  • 9.Use the finger test: The flavor of the meat is best highlighted when it's not completely cooked through. You can easily test the degree of doneness with your finger - if the meat is soft and doesn't resist, it's less cooked. If you want a more well-done steak, wait until it's firmer to the touch. When using a thermometer the steak should have a temperature of 55-60 °C in the center for medium-rare doneness.
  • 10.Let the meat rest to finish: Allow the finished meat to rest in the oven or on a grill grate, never on a flat surface. Ideally, place it in the oven at 100°C for approximately 10 (medium-rare) to 15 minutes (medium). On the grill, simply divide the grill grate into two heat zones, meaning the heat over the coals and the radiant heat.

BONUS TIP: Chefs around the world have different answers been debating this for years. Should you salt the steak before grilling or after? You can't go wrong either way, but if you opt for the former, salt the meat just before it goes on the grill. If you leave it salted too long, the salt will draw out all the juices.

Steak from Ambiente
Steak from Ambiente

Where to buy a steak in Prague

Where can you buy the perfect steak to practice your new-found grill knowledge? Fortunately, Czechs no longer have to rely only on foreign suppliers of steak. Amaso from Jeneč has been supplying Ambiente restaurants with the meat of Czech breeds, such for several years.

Czech spotted cattle or Čestr

This is an indigenous Czech breed that makes up about half of the total cattle population in the Czech Republic. The Čestr is a highly productive, versatile breed for milk and meat. They are fattened so that a layer of fat forms under the skin and the meat is marbled with fat, which gives it a succulent and distinctive flavor.

Black-footed pig from Přeštice

The meat of the Preštice pig has a specific taste and "flair" thanks to the high proportion of fat in the meat and on the surface, and thanks to the intermuscular fat it is beautifully tender and smells nice. Local farmers have been breeding the Preštice pig since the early 19th century. Its high-quality meat was traditionally used mainly for the production of the renowned Prague ham. In the 20th century, the breeding of these pigs was suppressed in favor of heavily fleshed pigs, which bring a quicker and easier profit. Now the Preštice pigs are coming back to the fore.

Opt for a porterhouse sirloin or a suckling pig chop in the butcher's shop. Or go for something unconventional on the grill such as game or mushrooms. At the Naše maso butcher shop or in-house butcher counter at Kantýna, Ambiente butchers will be happy to advise you. Or order online from And if you'd rather just enjoy a perfectly-grilled steak minus the hassle, book your table at Čestr.

In the Czech Kitchen is a weekly column written in cooperation with the culinary experts from Ambiente. Established in 1995, the Prague-based collective of pubs, restaurants, and fine-dining outlets have transformed the Czech culinary landscape and lent to the widespread awareness of quality food service and production in Czechia. Follow their socials or book your table at

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