“How Do I Manage the Perfect Steak?”
The Searing Question Gets Answered.
Perfect isn’t always possible when it comes to grilling steaks, particularly on a pellet grill, but when you’re cooking on a Grilla, you’re on your way. Sick of eating dried up meat, missing the sear, or charring? Get a Grilla Grills and reach (near) perfection.
Tools of the Trade
Before we get too far down the how-to path, let’s cover some basic gear you need to sear a steak on a pellet grill. You’ll need a fast and accurate thermometer. I use the Thermoworks Thermapen, which is fantastic in reading the meat’s internal temperature.
You should also invest in a set of Grill Grates. They make searing on pellet grills much easier and help achieve pro results. Don’t worry, there is a set that is made specifically for whichever Grilla Grills you have. The grate is able to amplify 500 degrees to about 700 degrees on average, which is a great temp for searing steaks.
Getting the Meat
Now that you have the gear, you need the meat. It’s important to get high quality meat. Most folks think of steak in a nice marbled ribeye, t-bone, or perhaps sirloin or strip steak. Personally, ribeye is king and that is usually what I opt for.
No matter which cut you choose, take a minute to consider how rare or well done you like your steaks. If you like ’em rare, you’ll want to find a steak that is at least 1 in thick. Opting for steaks that are thinner than an inch makes it very hard to that nice red center and exterior crust. I look for steaks that are about 1.5-2in thick and go for medium rare center.
Next take the time to touch the steak though the packaging. You just want to see if there is some give to the meat and to look for solid marbling.
All About the Flavor
You can marinate to just throw salt and pepper on. There are merits to both, but if you want the proper sear, you have to have a steak with a dry surface. About two hours before your cook, lightly salt both sides of your steaks with kosher salt and place them back in the refrigerator. Then, use equal parts kosher salt and black pepper and make a great crust for the steak. If you’re looking to do it the Shane way, combine 2 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper, 2 tsp ground dark roast coffee, and 1 tsp granulated garlic for a great steak rub.
When it comes to flavor or pellets, use a stronger flavored pellet such as mesquite, hickory, or oak.
Ready to Cook
When it comes to steaks and pellet grills you have two options for cooking:
- Option 1: start with the hottest grill possible, sear the outside, and serve. This allows for the best opportunity to create a very red center and a crusty seared outside.
- Option 2: the reverse sear. This gets smoke in your steak beyond just the seared crust.
How To: Option 1
Allow the steaks to rest for an hour. Make certain there is no moisture on the surface of the meat before starting your sear. This will avoid any steaming and ensure the best texture in your seared crust.
How To: The Reverse Sear
Just before firing up your grill, pull the steaks out of the refrigerator and pat them dry with a towel to remove surface moisture. Leave them out on the counter for 20 min-1 hr. With the reverse sear method, you can get away with a shorter time for the steaks to come to room temperature since they will be exposed to a lower heat before the sear.
Once your grill is idling at 180 degrees you can place your steaks on the grill. Place them in the path of the most smoke flow and away from the direct heat. The top racks work great for this purpose.
Depending on the thickness of your steaks you will smoke them for 15-30min. Be sure to check the internal temperature starting at 15min and every 5-10min thereafter. Flip your steaks at the 15min mark to ensure even heating.
When your steaks hit 100-110 degrees pull them off the grill and increase the temperature of the grill to 500 degrees. This is when you can use a grill grate but be sure they have plenty of time to get really hot. Coat both sides of your steak with your searing rub.
From here forward everything moves pretty quickly, so have everything standing by. Place your steaks on the Grill Grates at a slight angle, cook for 1 minute, and then rotate the steak 45 degrees and cook for 1 min. Now flip and repeat.
This is where the thickness of your steak plays a huge role. A solid medium rare will register between 130-135 degrees, medium 145 degrees, medium well 155 degrees. Anything above 160 degrees is considered well done and considered punishable by law in some states. We won’t tell though if you do prefer your steaks a bit more on the well done side.
Once you hit the desired level of done, pull the steaks and serve, enjoying the fruits of your labor. Cooking a proper steak isn’t hard, but there are some tricks of the trade. With a little gear, some know how, and some practice you will be the king of your backyard grilling jungle.