How to Cook Steak on Pellet Grill and Other Food to Grill
Have you tried smoking steak on a pellet grill? If so, you already know how long to cook steak on a pellet grill. For those who are new owners of pellet grills, smoking steak will surely come into your mind because everybody loves steak. And Thanksgiving or not, people also love to smoke turkey on a pellet grill. Some also love to bake potato on there pellet grill and this is much better than baking it in an oven because your potato can get the Smokey flavor from your chosen flavorful wood and its skin will be crispier.
Pellet grills were introduced more than 30 years ago and have undergone a series of improvements over the years. But since then, they were used for smoking and grilling meat, particularly steak which is an essential food in the Western world. And now that we have the modern brands of pellet grills we can have good choices from the best brands such as the Pit Boss, Traeger, Camp Chef, Z-Grills and Camp Green.
What is so special about pellet grills is the way they are designed. They have hoppers on the side for the pellets and their flick ignition system, as well as temperature control are also added conveniences. And because most of them are electric types, you can use them indoors or outdoors. You don’t need to burn wood or charcoal with pellet grills but only pellets. Pellet smokers can cook a variety of food and you can even smoke or cook burgers on pellet grill.
Cuts of Steak to Grill
So what kind of steak cut can you easily cook or smoke on your pellet grill? Beef is divided into primal cuts. But to let consumers pick their “food-service cuts”, these meats are cut into smaller pieces so we have the steaks, the roasts and some smaller cuts that some meat sellers call the “retail cuts”. If you are to smoke steak on a pellet grill, you have to know the different cuts that would be easy to grill. Here are 3 of the most common cuts of steak that are perfect for pellet grills and we have included their cooking time:
This is a cut of beef that is taken from the end portion of the tenderloin. It has a tender and soft structure with a bit of a buttery texture. Almost without any fat, this is one of the favorites among beef eaters and also most chosen for smoking or grilling. Set your smoker grill to 225 degrees F then grill the filet mignon for about an hour. Using a thermometer probe, once the internal temperature of the steak reaches 130 degrees, this is now cooked medium-rare. At 145 degrees, that will be medium cook, 155 degrees F will be medium well and well done at 165 degrees F
The rib-eye steak is said to be the most prized cut among steak cuts. It has no bone or the rib bone may still be attached depending on your choice. Rib-eye can become more delicious if you grill it and have that crispy fat and marbled meat with the best beefy flavor. To enjoy its beefy taste, you can grill rib-eye by preheating the pellet smoker and switching it on high heat. Once smoke appears, place the rubbed rib-eye on the hot grill. For a 1-inch rib-eye cooked medium-rare, grill the steak for 5 minutes for each side at 135 degrees F. For the medium cook, 7 minutes for each side at 140 degrees F and for medium-well, 10 minutes on each side at 150 degrees F.
This is the part that is cut from the rear back portion of the animal. Sirloin is also where the T-bone, porterhouse and club steak cuts are taken. If you love to grill and smoke steak on a pellet grill, you will love the sirloin. Grilling it, you should start your smoker on the “smoke” setting until the temperature reaches 250 degrees F. Once the smoke gets going, place the seasoned sirloin (rubbed with salt and pepper) on the grate. Use a thermometer probe for the internal temperature of the meat. To cook rare, the internal temperature should reach 125 degrees F. For medium – 130 degrees, Medium – 140 degrees and well done 160 degrees F.
How to Cook Steak on Pellet Grill
Always choose the best meat
When planning to smoke steak on a pellet grill, you must only choose the perfect steak. Preferably, buy steak in the morning so that you can have time preparing it. Eventually, it will take hours or overnight to brine or cure the steak. Also, preparing the steak early will allow you to sit the meat at room temperature as you got it from cold storage. Avoid curing a cold steak because this can harden the meat more. Don’t worry about the thin streak of fat on your steak because these will melt and will make your steak softer and moist.
Preparing the meat
It’s up to you what kind of curing you want with your steak but make sure you season it accordingly. If you only want to put salt and pepper onto it, that would be fine but you have to massage these condiments into the steak and not only sprinkle it. This is to let the meat absorb the taste and make the meat tastier. In case you want to marinate your steak, you must do it 3 or 4 hours before cooking.
Preparing the Pellet Grill
Be ready with your chosen wood pellets. You can choose any of the following wood in pellet forms such as oak, hickory, or mesquite and all of these can provide a unique flavor to your steak. You can also choose Applewood for that sweet Smokey taste. Make sure that before you put your steak on the pellet grill, the grates are clean and without any residue or grease from the old meat. The firepot must be vacuumed and the grease bucket and drip tray must be emptied with water or grease.
Smoke the steak first before grilling
You can smoke your steak on a pellet grill for about 30 minutes first to let that flavorful smoke get infused while on a low setting. After 30 minutes, shift up your smoker’s temperature to 375 degrees F. Once this temperature is reached you can now choose the kind of cooking you want for your meat. According to Traeger, one of the best manufacturers of pellet grills/smokers, if you want your steak rare cooked, you can shift down to 120 -130 degrees F or 130-135 degrees F for medium-rare.
But if you want to medium cook, 135-145 degrees is better. For medium-well cook would be 145-155 and for well-done would be 155-165 degrees F. So how long to cook steak on pellet grill? It depends on the cut. And we have discussed the steak cut above though usually each cooking mode should not go beyond 10 minutes and you only need to flip the steak once.
Topping your steak
Whenever your steak is done, you can now pat some butter on top or sprinkle it with your favorite herbs like parsley. The butter could also help to put in more flavor and juiciness into your steak.
How to Smoke Turkey on Pellet Grill
Just to note, avoid putting your turkey in a roasting pan when smoking it because the pan may hold the liquid as the turkey cooks which could result in a bird with a soggy texture. Lay the turkey right on the grates instead and put a roasting pan underneath a few inches away with some liquids to catch the oil while maintaining the moisture on the meat. As the turkey is getting smoked, its skin can become crispier while the meat inside would be tender.
Avoid trussing the turkey
Trussing which means tying the bird its legs and wings will not do any good because the meat of turkeys is composed of dark and light meat. This also means that these meat parts will require certain temperatures for them to cook completely and trussing the limbs will prevent the smoke and heat from going all over the turkey. For the record, dark meat can get cooked at about 175 degrees while the breast which is generally light meat can get cooked at 165 degrees F. So to effectively smoke turkey on pellet grill, just lay down the bird on the grate without anything holding it up.
Avoid stuffing the turkey
We know that stuffing a turkey with lots of herbs or fruits is a tradition. But in our opinion, stuffing the turkey may prevent the smoke and heat to flow inside the turkey. So how would you get different tastes into the meat? Well, that’s where your choice for the best flavorful wood pellets come into play. You can also rub the turkey with your favorite seasoning. However, don’t over smoke turkey on pellet grill because it may lose its natural flavor. Or chose fruity wood pellets for that sweet taste.
Brine the turkey
If you can soak the turkey overnight to lock the flavors in the meat and make it moist as you smoke it, that would be perfect. After brining, keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
Smoke turkey on pellet grill.
After cleaning your pellet grill, smoke the turkey for about 2.5 to 3 hours while your griller is in a smoke setting. After 3 hours increase the temperature to about 300 degrees F and smoke to about 3.5 hours or depending on the size of the turkey.
Use a meat probe thermometer.
Insert a meat thermometer into the turkey’s breast and watch the reading on the digital display. If the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 to 170 degrees F, this indicates the smoking and cooking process is complete.
How to Bake Potato on a Pellet Grill
Potatoes are always part of our diet and you can cook a lot of recipes with them. But there’s nothing more delicious if you bake potato on a pellet grill because it can have the best taste of the wood flavor which you cannot achieve if you bake it in an oven. Once you have tasted a potato that was grilled with that sweet flavor from smoke, there’s no coming back and you will ask for more. So here are simple instructions on how to bake potato on a pellet grill.
Prepare what you need:
potatoes, salt, pepper, and oil. You can choose any kind of potato you want: russets, red potatoes, or gold potatoes.
Wash and dry the potatoes thoroughly.
Clean them up under tap running water and air dry them for a few minutes.
Pierce them with pork on both sides.
This is to allow the potatoes to release its steam once it gets hot and also to cook it evenly inside and outside.
You can use either avocado oil or olive oil and coat them on all sides. Then sprinkle them with salt and pepper and let these stick on the potatoes’ skin.
Avoid wrapping the potato with a foil.
As some people advise, wrapping the potato with foil can make it soggy and will look like it was boiled.
Grill the potatoes.
Preheat your pellet smoker for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. When this temperature is reached, grill the potato for an hour and you can flip it if you want. You can also take a barbecue stick or a fork and stab it to see if it becomes soft on the inside.
Adding flavor to a baked potato.
After taking the potato out from the pellet grill and letting it cool off a bit, slice it horizontally in the middle and squeeze it a bit to expose its flesh. You can now put your flavorings such as bacon, butter, mayo or anything you want. And this is how to simply bake potato on a pellet grill.
How to Grill Burgers on Pellet Grill
Burgers are very easy to grill and you can make your patties if you want to grill burgers on pellet grill. Find online how to mix up ingredients and how to choose the best meat for the patty.
Preheat your smoker.
Set your smoker to about 425 to 450 degrees F.Top up the hopper with more pellet if necessary. The most preferred wood for burgers is hickory.
Put the patties into the grate to grill.
Once 450 degrees is reached, arrange the patties along the grate, close the lid and let them cook for about 8 to 9 minutes. After 9 minutes, flip the patties and add again 8 to 9 minutes. If you have a thermometer probe, probe one patty in the middle. If the temperature reaches 160 degrees, this means all of your patties are cooked.
Follow the temperature setting.
As an additional tip, if you want your burgers to be cooked medium, you can set the thermostat of the pellet grill after preheating it to 160 degrees only. Or if you want your burgers to be cooked rare, set it to 140 degrees F. You can also observe that when the patties are fully cooked they may change color on top with a bit of the pinkish color when you slice it up and that is basically the smoke ring.
Add your favorite fixing.
It’s up to you now what kind of fixing you want for your burgers. You can put bacon or onion or barbecue sauce on top. Or you can also put cheese on top of each patty while these patties are cooking and this will melt and add flavor and moisture to your burger.
Having a pellet grill can bring about many opportunities for you to cook and smoke different kinds of food and that’s why we have also included how to bake potato on a pellet grill. We have also thought of including grilling burgers on pellet grill because any food that you grill using flavorful wood can become more delicious and naturally juicier.
For Thanksgiving, we know that a lot of you would be interested to smoke turkey on pellet grill
For our next blog, we shall be discussing propane vs electric smoker check it out here