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Can You Grill Steaks On A Pellet Grill

These days, it seems like nearly everyone is looking to buy a top-of-the-line pellet grill. But are pellet grills actually able to do justice on those pricey steaks? If you have bought one recently, you likely are very interested in knowing the answer.

You can absolutely grill steaks on a pellet grill and many backyard chefs actually prefer doing so over other types of grills, such as wood or gas. While you won’t get that flame kissed sear, pellet grills add a delicious smoky flavor, and are capable of producing high and consistent temperatures that yield equally satisfying results.

Wondering how to go about grilling the perfect steak using your pellet grill? This article will show you how!

Are pellet grills good for steaks

Pellet grills are incredibly good for cooking steaks. You can really cook steaks however you want using one. They provide supremely consistent temperature control so you can dial in your cooking style. Not only that, but they can add a delicious smoky flavor with absolutely no “burnt” flavor that you might get from a charcoal or gas grill. Using a pellet grill to cook steak can result in creating one of the best meals of the summer. This is one of the biggest reasons why I think pellet grills are still worth buying. (Check out my article to see more reasons why you should buy a pellet grill).

Something especially nice about pellet grills is that the type of wood pellets you buy for your grill can change the flavor of the meat. Whether you get hickory, mesquite, or cherry, you can subtly influence the final product of whatever kind of steak you end up grilling.

In addition, you have the option to slow cook your steak on the pellet grill at the lowest possible heat setting for an even more smoky flavor. Or boost the temperature to the max to get those classic sear lines on your steak. Alternatively, pellet grills also allow for the use of methods like reverse searing, which involves a low and slow cook followed by a hot searing blast to finish it off. This is my favorite method.

Should you cook steak slow or sear it quickly

Whether you should cook your steak slowly or sear it quickly can depend both on your own personal preference and the thickness of the steak you are trying to cook. Thin cuts of steak should be seared quickly to avoid drying out the meat resulting in rubbery disappointment.

Thicker cuts of meat are better off being cooked more slowly so that they cook evenly all the way through. This entails putting on a good sear followed by a slow cook to finish it off. Or, as I mentioned earlier, a reverse sear will results in steaks cooked to perfection.

Do pellet grills get hot enough to sear steaks

Pellet grills are more than hot enough to sear steaks, although some people prefer to sear steak at much higher temperatures that are only possible to achieve using charcoal or gas grills. That being the case, pellet grills can be heated to temperatures of up to 500 degrees, which is much higher than the 450 degree minimum required to properly sear a steak.

In fact, searing at temperatures significantly higher than 500 degrees can cause the steak to become charred and burnt. 450 degrees is generally regarded as the best temperature to sear steaks.

The difference in a pellet grill’s searing ability versus a gas or charcoal grill is quite subtle. However, steak aficionados claim they can tell the difference in the sear. Pellet grills don’t produce flames directly beneath the steak. Gas grills and charcoal grills put a flame directly below your meat which atomizes fat drippings to add additional flavor.

Personally, I can appreciate the difference in searing capabilities but pellet grills still produce exceptional tasting steaks every bit as good as their gas cooked counterparts.

How to grill the perfect steak on a pellet grill

All steaks reach their respective level of “doneness” at the same internal temperature, regardless of the type of steak they are. This is due to the way meat protein fibers break down under heat. Depending on the taste and texture you would like your steak to have, the temperature you are trying to heat your steak up to will vary by about 5 to 10 degrees. The following is a helpful chart to see what range you should be aiming for.

Steak “Doneness” from High to LowTemperature in Fahrenheit
Well Done Steak155+ degrees
Medium Well Steak145-155 degrees
Medium Steak135-145 degrees
Medium Rare Steak130-135 degrees
Rare Steak125-130 degrees
Blue Steak115 degrees
Type of SteakBest Doneness Level
RibeyePersonal Preference
TenderloinPersonal Preference
Strip SteakRarer than Usual
Flank SteakMedium-Rare
Hanger SteakPersonal Preference
Porterhouse/T-Bone SteakMedium-Rare
Skirt SteakGood Char (don’t overcook inside)
Flat Iron SteakPersonal Preference
Sirloin SteakPersonal Preference
Short RibsMedium-Rare
Tomahawk SteakPersonal Preference
Flap SteakPersonal Preference
Rump SteakMedium
Tri-Tip SteakMedium-rare or Medium
New YorkPersonal Preference

Smoking then searing your steak

One of the easiest options for cooking a steak on a pellet grill is to first smoke it over low heat and then sear it quickly afterward. Make sure that the steak you are cooking is at least a good one and a half to two inches thick, as this method can leave thinner steaks quite dry and chewy.

As with virtually every cooking method on this list, the first step is going to be to season the steak according to your personal preference.

This can be achieved by turning down your grill to the minimum temperature it takes to cook your steak to the desired doneness according to the chart above (this will vary from 43 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit). Once it is done cooking on the inside, you can then sear it if you like to get the seared crust on the outside.

Grilling your steak

This is one of the simplest methods of cooking a steak on the pellet grill and is achievable with virtually every model of pellet grills. All this method entails is to set your grill to moderately high heat and then cook the steak on one side for a few minutes, then for a few more minutes on the other side.

This can be a good method if your chosen steak is not particularly thick, as these kinds of steak can get much too burnt and dry if cooked for a long time. Be sure to check the internal temperature for desired doneness.

Reverse searing

Reverse searing is one of the best methods for cooking steak out there and once you get good at it, it can result in a near-perfect steak every single time, especially given the consistency of a good pellet grill.

This technique also requires quite a thick cut of steak. Any cut you use should be at least an inch thick or else this method will not work very well. Always start by bringing a steak to room temperature and patting completely dry.

The next step to getting the steak ready is to season it right. Opinions vary, but salt and pepper is all you really need. Let your seasoned steak sit for a few minutes so that the whole steak will absorb the seasoning throughout.

While the steaks are getting nice and happy with your seasoning, fire up the smoker. You are then going to cook the steaks till they get up to an internal temperature of around 120 degrees or whatever temperature you should be aiming for in order to get your desired doneness. Setting the grill to around 225 degrees will help you achieve this temperature in a reasonable amount of time, most likely around half an hour, although cook times do vary depending on the thickness of the steak.

Once the steaks hit 120 degrees, pull them out of the smoker and cover with foil while you crank up the heat. Shoot for at least 450 degrees or higher. Once the grill has had a little bit of time to heat up, you can then throw the steaks back on the grill and sear them for just a couple of minutes on each side.

Marinating your steak

If you find that your steaks could use more flavor even after adding a good steak rub, then try a good marinade next time. Most marinades use some combination of butter, lemon juice, and other seasonings. But whichever marinade you choose to use, pretty much every cooking method is compatible with a marinated steak.

Parting thoughts

There are many different ways to cook steak with a pellet grill, but almost all of them are going to result in a delicious, flavorful steak. Experimenting with a few different methods, marinades, and steak rubs is how you’ll discover your favorite grill technique. Happy grilling!