I’ve previously produced my main article on the best methods for how to cook steaks on a pellet grill/smoker. This article is going to be more specific about cooking steaks on a Louisiana Grills pellet grill/smoker and their recommended methods. We’ll discuss searing and reverse searing (smoking then searing). We’ll also discuss why you might not want to follow Louisiana Grill’s methods to get the best sear possible on your steaks (safely). Right, let’s get into this!
Table of Contents
- Cooking Time Searing: Typically 3 to 5 minutes
- Cooking Time Reverse Sear: Typically 30 to 60 minutes
- Louisiana Grills Temp: Reverse sear (225 F), Searing (600 F)
- Steak Internal Temp When Done: 130 to 135 F (we’ll discuss this)
- Best Pellets For Steaks: Mesquite, Hickory, Oak, Pecan
I’m no BBQ expert, my expertise is how pellet grills/smokers work and the range of makes/models on the market. When it comes to how to cook on a pellet grill/smoker, I’ll be referring to the professionals.
Below we’re going to look at two methods of cooking steaks on a Louisiana Grill. First, straight searing with direct heat, and then we’ll look at reverse searing steaks.
There are other methods to cook steaks. However, I’ll explain why reverse searing (smoking then searing) your steaks is the best approach for pellet grill/smoker owners.
Searing/Grilling Steaks On A Louisiana Grills Pellet Grill/Smoker
Ok, so take the scenario of its a weeknight, you have got work in the morning, you’re tired, the kids are acting up etc. You just need to get some steaks on and cooked ASAP.
In that case, you are simply going to grill/sear your steaks at high heat to get a nice crust on the outside and let the Maillard reaction do its thing to get you some excellent flavor into your steaks.
For purely searing, you want your steaks to have hit room temperature just before you sear them. Therefore have them out of the fridge for between 30 minutes to an hour, no longer though.
You’ll also want to sear them, more on that below, and you’ll want your Louisiana Grill to be as hot as it gets. All models can get to 600 F and offer direct flame access, so that won’t be a problem.
Now, while I would encourage you to use the direct flame access of your Lousiana Grill to get the best sear on your steaks, I would also encourage you to only do so if you regularly clean your grill.
With the grease tray of most pellet grills sitting above the fire pot and with direct flames coming through that grease tray, you can see where this could go with a build-up of grease.
In terms of cooking time for purely grilling/searing steaks, it will be roughly 3 to 5 minutes, but if its a really thick steak, it will take several minutes longer.
For a medium-rare steak, the internal target temperature is between 130 to 135 F. I’ll explain below why medium-rare is the doneness that many people go for.
Now, while that process will cook a nice steak, its not the best a steak can be on your pellet grill/smoker. If you have the time (around an hour), I would strongly encourage you to reverse-sear your steaks.
Reverse Searing Steaks On A Louisiana Grill
While your Louisiana Grill is indeed a pellet grill, its also a pellet smoker. Therefore, instead of just searing your steaks, if you have the time, get some flavor into them first.
This is called the reverse sear (smoking then searing), and you will always want to do it this way around. Searing and then trying to smoke a steak is nowhere near as effective at adding smoke flavor.
Furthermore, you don’t want to start with a room-temperature steak, as discussed above, when purely searing. For the best results, you want a pre-seasoned steak straight from the fridge.
Why? Well, smoke will adhere and penetrate into cold meat more effectively. In terms of temperature for smoking the steaks, a temperature of 225 F is pretty common.
Now, I’ve included a video below of a Tomahawk steak being reverse seared on a Louisiana Grills Black Label pellet grill by CJ, and he set the temperature to 300 F, which is obviously a bit higher.
However, note where CJ places his Tomahawk steak on the top rack. Hence, he’s chosen to place the steak further away from the direct heat of the main grate.
CJ inserts the meat probe into the steak and was looking for a temperature around 125 F. That way, the sear will be ready for searing and will finish between 130 to 135 F for a nice medium-rare steak.
I’ll discuss more below why I will always recommend cooking a steak to medium-rare and purchasing the best quality steak you can afford, even if its not a Wagyu steak as CJ uses in the video above.
1: Does The Quality Of Your Steak Matter? Big Time
Ok, if you are going to spend over an hour preparing and reverse-searing steaks, you really want to invest in the best steak you can afford. So what does that mean exactly?
Am I referring to the cut of steak? After all, there are many. You can get cuts such as Ribeye, Strip, Tenderloin, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Hanger, Skirt, Short Ribs, Flap, Flank, Tri-tip, Rump, Top-Sirloin, Tomahawk and Denver.
While these different steak cuts can produce a different flavor, as some are on the bone and from different areas of the cow with different fat percentages etc, what I’m generally referring to is fat marbling.
Fat does mean flavor. Therefore, you want to purchase beef steaks with as much intermuscular fat as possible. I’m not talking about the fat on the outside of the protein here.
You can see the extent of fat marbling on a steak and compare it to another, but steaks are also graded on a USDA grading system. With the lowest grade of Select, then Choice, and at the top, Prime.
Above USDA Prime steaks, you have Wagyu steaks which you can get in the US from US ranches such as Snake River Farms, even though Wagyu steak is originally from Japan.
The extensive fat marbling of Wagyu steaks gives them great flavor when properly cooked. However, Wagyu beef is not so kind to your wallet, and it can sting when you’re paying for them.
Personally, Wagyu is my ‘treat meat’. It would be great if it was the only steak I cooked, but that’s just not viable unless I win the lottery at some point.
However, my general point is this, whatever grade/cost of steak you usually purchase. If you can afford to stretch the budget up a little to the next grade, your taste buds will thank you.
2: Preparing Steaks For The Louisiana Grill & Seasoning
When it comes to seasoning your steaks, as a minimum, you are going to want to apply salt and pepper. Sometimes though, salt and pepper may be all you want to apply to your steaks.
If I’m working with a high-quality USDA Prime or Wagyu steak, I personally would just stick to a dusting of sea salt and black pepper as I don’t want to mask the flavor of the meat. Just enhance it.
However, if you are cooking a USDA Select or Choice steak, that’s when you may want to play around more with BBQ rubs etc, and go beyond a simple salt and pepper seasoning.
As I stated above, if you are going to be purely searing your steaks, they are now ready for the grill. However, if you are reverse searing them, ideally, put them back into the fridge.
That way, once your Louisiana Grill is up to temperature for smoking, you can get out your chilled steaks, and the smoke particles will bond to the steaks better for an improved flavor.
3. The Best Louisiana Grills Pellets For Cooking Steaks
You have now seasoned your steaks to enhance their flavor. Well, you now have to choose which pellets are going to give you the flavor you’re after.
I have a dedicated article on choosing the best pellets for meat, but really, as I discuss in that article, there are only recommendations, its each to their own when choosing pellets.
So as a general rule, you would choose Apple/Cherry pellets, for instance, for a lighter/sweeter smoke taste. Oak is mild, Hickory is bolder, and then you have Mesquite, which is one of the strongest flavors.
There are also Charcoal pellet options, and if you are going to be purely searing your steaks, I would recommend going for Oak or Charcoal pellets. Why?
Well, the simple reason is you get more heat output from Oak/Charcoal pellets compared to, say, Apple/Cherry pellets. Hence, Oak/Charcoal pellets are good for searing.
While Louisiana Grills produce a reasonably wide selection of pellets, you may want to consider other brands of pellets. Pit Boss pellets, the sibling brand, are much cheaper per lb, and they are made at the same pellet plants.
4. Steak Internal Temperature Monitoring
In the video above by CJ reverse searing steaks on his Louisiana Grill, he uses the grill’s own meat probe to monitor the internal temperature of his steak, and I would encourage you to do so.
If you have a more modern Louisiana Grills model with WiFi built-in and access to the SmokeIT app, that can be very useful when reverse-searing steaks if you want to cook them perfectly.
Now, a ‘perfect’ steak for me personally, as I’ve said above, is medium-rare (130 to 135 F), and its for a good reason. A rare steak can lack flavor as the fat marbling in the meat hasn’t rendered and released its flavor.
However, a medium or well-done steak is starting to dry out, and not only is it losing flavor, but the muscle fibers are starting to turn fibrous and fluffy. Hence, a medium-rare steak is where its at.
While the meat probe on the grill should be used, I personally wouldn’t rely on it totally, especially if I was cooking a very expensive Wagyu steak. Therefore, another thermometer is a good idea.
There are lots of instant-read thermometers now on the market. However, how ‘instant’ they are and, importantly, how accurate they are can vary quite a lot.
Currently, Thermoworks instant-read thermometers (Thermapens) are regarded as some of, if not the best instant-read thermometers on the market, I have one, and I love it.
Whether you choose to get a Thermopen or not, I would encourage you to get a separate instant-read thermometer. As my Louisiana Grills error codes article shows, the grills meat probe can fail from time to time.
Final Thoughts About Cooking Steaks On A Louisiana Grill…
If you want to purely grill/sear your steaks, no matter what Louisiaian Grill you own, you will have the ability to direct flame sear for an excellent tasty crust on your steaks.
However, use flame searing with caution, and only use it if you have recently cleaned the grease tray, or you could end up with a nasty surprise/grease fire.
Though if you have the time, I would strongly encourage you to reverse-sear your steaks. It will take much longer (around an hour), but it will produce the best-tasting steaks as a result.
I would encourage you to cook your steaks medium-rare for the reasons I’ve discussed above, but each to their own. The same is true with your choice of pellets.
That’s it! I hope you found the above interesting/useful. I you would like more advice on cooking with a pellet grill, I’m building up a collection of articles. Enjoy 🙂
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