Have you been craving a flawlessly cooked restaurant-quality steak lately? Well, you don’t always have to make the effort of physically going out to a restaurant for overpriced steaks. Why don’t you just fire up the pellet grill and make one for yourself?
It is a challenging task to cook steak on a pellet grill – granted. However, if you put your mind to it, it’s not rocket science and you can cook a great steak from the comfort of your home.
Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Equip Yourself with the Right Tools to Cook the Perfect Steak
Before getting down to the cooking part, it is necessary that you get hold of good grilling gear. They say that artists are only as good as the paints they use, and your equipment dictates how good or bad a job you do with the cooking.
You need a thermometer to keep tabs of the meat’s temperature accurately. You’ll also require grill grates, which allow you to sear your meat on the pellet grill with much ease. Use this tool for professional-level results.
Prepping up the Steak for the Grill
Now that you’re all geared up, let’s move to the meat. It is important to make sure that the meat you intend to cook is of high quality. Otherwise, you will not be able to achieve a good steak no matter the equipment.
The rib eye seems to be the king when it comes to steaks and is clearly the most popular cut. But there are basically 8 beef prime cuts you can choose from. Most of the people tend to enjoy the T-bone, strip steak, sirloin steak and, of course, our favorite rib eye.
Once you’re done deciding the type of cut you’d like, decide if you’d like a rare or well-done steak. A steak that has a thickness of at least 1 inch would be a perfect fit if you prefer your steaks to be rare. You’ll fail to get that crusty exterior and nice red center with a steak that is thinner than an inch. For a medium-rare, you should go for a steak that is somewhere between 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
It’s always a good idea to touch and feel your steak through the packaging before you buy it. This way you can find out if there is some solid marbling and avoid ending up with a steak that is too tough.
Getting the Flavor Right
Remember that simplicity is the key when it comes to marinating; you just need to figure out the right technique to get that texture on the steak.
Stick to the basics and just make use of salt and pepper to marinate the meat. You need to have a steak with a dry surface in order to achieve the proper sear. Two hours prior to cooking, use kosher salt and lightly salt both sides of the steak, and put it back in the refrigerator. To get a nice crust, rub same of black pepper and kosher salt on the steak.
Grillin’ it up to Perfection
When you’re all set to cook steaks on a pellet grill, you can choose either of the two methods mentioned down below.
- Option 1: If you wish to have a rare steak with crusty skin with a red center, this method should be your go-to.
- Option 2: if you want to get that smoky flavor in every bite of your steak and not just on the crust, reverse sear would be a good idea.
Option 1 – Searing the Crust of the Steak
After leaving your steaks out of the refrigerator for an hour, you’re ready to grill. Ensure that the surface of the meat has moisture. Moisture will ruin the texture of your seared crust because of the steaming.
If you want to get that perfect sear on your steak, it is important to consider that it can only happen when you put the steak on a grill that is sizzling hot. Remember to preheat the pellet grill to a temperature of above 350 degrees. As you do so, you’ll be able to hear the sizzling sound when the steak hits the metal of the grill.
The back is usually the hottest part of the pellet grill. Always place your steak there when you’re down to searing.
Option 2 – Reverse Sear
Instead of turning on the grill first, bring out the steak from the refrigerator and dry it up with a towel removing all the moisture present on the surface. Let it rest for a good 20 mins – 1 hr.
A good start would be to get rid of all the excess fat. It’s usually present on the outer skin, so is easier to eliminate before grilling and searing. Doing so won’t burn parts of your steak.
When using the reverse sear method, the steaks reach room temperature rather quickly, since you’re initially exposing them to lower temperatures before searing the skin.
Place your steak on the grill when the grill hits 180 degrees. Make sure to place them in a manner that they are not open to direct heat. To get the maximum smoke flow, top racks would be the perfect spot.
Smoke them for about 15-30mins keeping in mind the thickness of the stake. After 15mins, check the internal temperature, and at 5-10mins of regular intervals from thereon. Keep flipping them after every 15mins to make sure it gets cooked from all sides.
Once your steaks reach to 100-110 degrees, take them off the grill. Raise the temperature of the grill to 500 degrees. Bring out your grill grate and heat them up to a high before you use them on the steak. Now glaze the searing rub all over the meat.
It’s time to quicken things up a bit, so be set. Put the steaks on the grill gates in a tilted manner. After cooking them for a minute, rotate 45 degrees and cook for a minute more. Flip sides and repeat the same process.
Keep cooking until the steak reaches your preferred internal temperature. For
- Rare 120 to 130 degrees
- Medium Rare 130 to 135 degrees
- Medium 135 to 145 degrees
- Medium Well 145 to 155 degrees
- Well-done 155 to 165 degrees
Don’t worry, we won’t judge even if you like your stakes a bit more on the well-done side.
Put Your Steak to Test for Doneness of Meat
There’s nothing worse than a raw steak. Cooked to lower interior temperatures, an undercooked meat can get you sick.
To check if your steak is done according to your preference you can use these methods.
Cut the steak so you can see its center. A red center indicates rare; slightly red center turning into pink means medium-rare, whereas a medium-well would be a mostly grey or brown color throughout.
“Touch test” could also be handy. Rare will feel soft and just slightly springy, with nearly no resistance. Medium rare will seem tight and springy, with some resistance against your finger. Medium well will be tight and firm when pressed.
Or you can simply use a meat probe. A minimum interior temperature of 145 degrees is recommended by USDA when cooking steaks.
Some Final Tips to Cook Steak on a Pellet Grill
Make sure to keep these golden tips in mind when grilling.
Set your grill to the smoke setting when preheating your pellet grill. Let the lid stay open so you can monitor the flame. As soon as is begins to smoke up, close the lid for 10 minutes. Now you’re ready to sear.
We’ve said it before but will mention it again just to stress on it. It is important as otherwise, you’ll end up with a dry exterior and cold interior. The outsides tend to cook faster and you won’t like a steak that’s cold inside.
Avoid rubs that have high salt content. The moisture is drawn out due to abundance of salt. If you’re looking for a gorgeous char, try sugar as it will caramelize the exterior.
Use butter or spirits to grease your steaks.
Be patient with your steak and let it spend some time on the grill. The key to great flavor is to not flip it often. If you keep flipping it, you’ll end up with a raw center and dry steak.
Once you’re finished cooking your steaks, let it rest for 10 minutes at least. Don’t cut it up too early. This will lock the flavorful juices properly throughout each strip.
So, go ahead and fire up the grill. Invite your mates and enjoy a mouthwatering steak. After all, you now have all the tricks on how to cook steak on a pellet grill to perfection.
Soon enough, you’ll find yourself to be the best man in the grilling department.