How To Cook Steak on Pellet Grill: Tips and Tricks

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You probably just purchased your first pellet grill, and you’re wondering how you can use it to satisfy your hunger for a lip-smacking steak. No matter what cut of beef you like, learning how to cook steak on pellet grills can yield you a delectable meal.

While we’re here to give you a rundown of the most basic procedures, we’ll also throw in some tips and tricks to help you cook the steak you so desire.

What You Need To Prepare

Like any good chef making good food, you need to have a knack for preparation and precise execution to cook a steak to perfection. Know which tools and ingredients you can put to good use, and learn which cuts of beef produce the flavor and texture you want.

Tools

Of all the different steak cooking methods, using a pellet grill is the best for infusing smokey flavors from burning hardwood pellets.

While mesquite or hickory are excellent for smokiness, pecan is a bit weaker on smoke flavoring. However, pecan adds a nutty vanilla-like layering that elevates the complexity of a steak’s taste profile.

Nevertheless, you can experiment with other wood types and combine several into your pellet hopper. This way, you can infuse several flavor layers and produce extraordinary results.

Aside from the wood pellets, you will need at least one probe thermometer, paper towels, and resting plates. Some pellet grills have built-in probe thermometers, and they connect directly to the control panel to deliver real-time measurements.

Beef Cuts

Different beef cuts for steak include tenderloin, ribeye, sirloin, T-bone, rump, hanger, skirt, flank, and feather.

The tenderloin is the leanest and blandest among these cuts, but its tip is the most tender cut. On the other hand, the ribeye has rich marbling, making it the most flavorful option.

If you want a good balance between leanness, tenderness, flavor, and juiciness, you should choose the sirloin. However, choose the T-bone to have both the sirloin and the ribeye in one cut.

The rump and hanger are full-flavored cuts with varying degrees of tenderness. Beef skirts and beef flanks prioritize flavor over tenderness and, as such, require some marinating and skillful execution.

Finally, the feather requires a lot of skill from a butcher, but it can be tender and delicious once cut to perfection.

Rubs and Sauces

As a general rule, a flavorsome cut of steak only requires a bit of seasoning with kosher salt and pepper before cooking.

That said, to add more layers of flavor, you might also want to try using thyme, onion, garlic, basil, cayenne, oregano, or sage. These herbs and spices go well with steak, and they provide several levels of complexity to the taste of the meat.

Some people might like adding sauces to barbecue meats. While it is not unheard of, especially for pork, turkey, or chicken, it is not common practice for cuts of beef.

About Steak Doneness

Before putting your steak into the pellet grill, you should also decide the level of doneness you want to accomplish. There are six levels of steak doneness, including blue-rare, rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, and well done.

You can check whether your steaks have reached a certain level of doneness by measuring their internal temperature. For many chefs, a steak is at its best when at medium-rare or medium doneness.

While medium-rare steaks equate to an internal temperature reading of around 135 degrees, medium doneness sits at about 145 degrees.

tips on how to cook steak on pellet grill

How To Cook Steak on Pellet Grills

Cooking a steak on a pellet grill can be as easy as using the pellet grill for any other meat. However, procedures can be slightly different depending on the beef cut you choose and the level of doneness you want to accomplish.

As long as you do the following steps, you’ll have better chances of producing the perfect steak you crave.

Step #1: Prepare the Steak

Steak preparation is as simple as taking it out of the fridge and letting it sit for at least an hour or until it adjusts to room temperature. Also, you will need to remove excess blood and moisture from the meat by dabbing all surfaces with paper towels.

Step #2: Choose a Sear

At this point, you should already decide whether to do a reverse sear or a traditional sear. Each method requires using a different set of cooking temperatures for successful implementation.

You can save time with a traditional sear, making it the best option for parties and family gatherings. Alternatively, the reverse sear may take up more than double the time but produces steaks with a more balanced texture.

Step #3: Preheat

Preheat your pellet grill while your steaks are resting and adjusting to room temperature.

If you plan to do a traditional sear, preheat your pellet grill to at least 450 degrees. When reverse searing, on the other hand, set the temperature to a maximum of 200 degrees.

Step #3: Season

This next step requires that you season your steaks generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. While these ingredients should be enough for a good cut of steak, feel free to assemble your own seasoning mix or use your favorite rubs.

Step #4: Sear

Now, here is the tricky part.

Before searing your steaks on the pellet grill grate, insert at least one temperature probe into each cut of meat. These probes will tell you when your steaks have reached your desired doneness.

  • Traditional Sear

Once your pellet grill has reached 450 degrees, position the steaks on the cooking grate to get enough smoke. Leave them on for about five or six minutes on one side and resist the temptation of opening the lid until this time is done.

Open the lid only when you’re flipping to the next side. Check the temperature while you flip, and recheck the thermometer after ten minutes total on the grill.

Once the temperature reaches your preferred doneness, take the steaks out of the grill and onto a resting plate.

  • Reverse Sear

To do the reverse sear, place your steaks on the grill as soon as it starts idling around 200 degrees.

Position the steaks away from direct heat and flame and in the path of smoke flow. If you have a pellet grill with a high smoke setting, turn it on for this purpose.

Smoke the steaks for 15 to 30 minutes but flip them over at the 15-minute mark. Begin checking the temperature every five to ten minutes after that and until the steaks reach an internal temperature of around 105 degrees.

When your steaks reach the 105-degree marker, take them out of the grill and crank the grill temperature to 450 degrees. Once the grill temperature is up, put the steaks back in and sear for a total of eight minutes, four on either side.

Finally, check the steak’s internal temperature and take them out of the grill as soon as the readings reach your preferred doneness.

Step #5: Rest

When it comes to cooking steaks, resting them after the cook is crucial.

During this time, the rendered fat within the meat redistributes, making the meat juicier for eating. The internal temperature of the meat also increases for a few minutes during resting time, so remember this when deciding the level of doneness required.

Successfully Cooking Steaks on a Pellet Grill

Not all pellet grills are the same, and most of them will have varying recommended temperature settings for different kinds of meat.

You can now learn how to cook steak on pellet grills and become a bona fide woodfired steak master using the steps we discussed. You can put your skills to the test and make steaks at home so that you can avoid spending top dollar on fancy steak restaurants.

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