Grilled steak seared over high heat on your backyard pellet grill. Find out how to cook the perfect steak every time with our easy pellet grill recipe and steak prep guide.
This easy pellet grill steak recipe takes your favorite beef steak cut and sears it over pellet flame on your backyard Traeger, Pit Boss, or Camp Chef pellet grill.
Made with your choice of ribeye, sirloin, flank, or filet mignon steak, this easy pellet grill recipe lets the beef do all the talking. We prepare it with a simple salt dry brine to lock in flavor and moisture, but the beef brings everything else.
From choosing the right steak cut to setting up your pellet cooker for perfect searing, discover how to cook steak on your pellet grill today.
How to Cook Steaks on a Pellet Grill
The key to beautifully grilled steak is to prepare it with a simple salt dry brine before grilling over high heat. Grilled steak is always best kept simple, and this recipe proves just that. This is how to do it:
- Dry Brine: Season the steaks liberally with salt before leaving them in the refrigerator for an hour. This salt stage is called dry brining and helps enhance the steak’s natural moisture and flavor.
- Fire Up: Preheat grill to high, about 450°F (230°C)
- Grill: Place the steaks on the grill grates and cook them to an internal temperature of 120°F for rare or 130°F for medium-rare. Use a digital meat thermometer to read the internal temperature of each steak accurately.
- Rest: Don’t forget to rest the steaks for at least 10 minutes to allow the beef to firm up and lock in moisture before you slice them.
Best Steak Cuts for Pellet Grilling
Everyone has their own go-to steaks, with each varying in quality and cost. In general, when choosing our steak for pellet grilling we prefer:
Few steaks are as perfect for grilling as sirloin steak. Taken from the top sirloin, it’s a lean and juicy cut with a moderately beefy flavor. It doesn’t have much fat marbling running through it, so to get its optimum level of tenderness, it should be cooked to medium-rare doneness.
Ribeye steak has a heavy amount of fat marbling which gives it its flavor and juiciness, and a layer of fat surrounding the ‘eye’, which separates the two muscles that make this cut of beef.
If you prefer your steak cooked to medium-rare, ribeye is the cut you want.
The main things you are looking for when picking a ribeye steak are a good distribution of marbling and a nice ‘eye’ of fat separating the two muscles. This eye part is what helps to give the ribeye its characteristic beef flavor.
Flank steak is a beautiful lean and tough steak cut that boasts a rich beefy flavor. Many people might go for sirloin or strip as their go-to grilled steak choice, but flank steak is much more versatile and flavorful.
Flank steak is lean and rich in tough muscle fibers, so will need to be dry brined first (more on that below) with salt before cooking. These tough muscle fibers are what load it with a uniquely intense flavor.
From rare to medium, everyone has their own preferences for steak doneness. But rather than guessing by sight or firmness, it’s important to measure doneness by using a digital meat probe (like this one on Amazon).
Our full guide to steak temperatures explains how these work, but here’s a quick glance at what you should aim for:
- Rare steak needs an internal temperature of 120 to 130℉ (49-54℃), which should take around 5 minutes on a medium-high grill. Turn the steak once, giving it 2 minutes and 30 seconds on each side. When cut into, the center of the steak should have a cool red center with a lighter pink color around the edges.
- Medium-rare steak needs an internal temperature of 130 to 135℉ (54-57℃), which should take around 6 minutes on a medium-high grill. Turn the steak once, giving it 3 minutes and 30 seconds on each side. When cut into, it should feel slightly firm, and the center of the steak should have a warm red center.
- Medium steak needs an internal temperature of 140 to 150℉ (60-65℃), which should take around 9 minutes on a medium-high grill. Turn the steak once, giving it 4 minutes and 30 seconds on each side. When cut into, the texture should be firm and springy and pink throughout with a slightly red center.
- Don’t forget to rest your steaks before serving. After pulling the steaks from the grill, leave them to sit on your counter or a chopping block for 10 minutes before slicing them. This will help each steak firm up as it cools, helping them retain its moisture and flavor.
- If you are slicing the steaks before serving, ensure you slice them against the grain. This will help keep each steak beautifully tender instead of chewy or tough.
- Pat Down With Paper Towels. Before you chuck your meat on the grill, give it a few pats down with paper towels. This will help dry the surface and help encourage the Maillard reaction, creating an extra delicious caramelized flavor on the surface.
- Clean grill grates before grilling, to avoid eating burnt bits.