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 REC TEQ pellet grill/smoker and their recommended methods. We’ll discuss searing and reverse searing (smoking then searing). I also want to discuss choosing different grades of steak and the best pellets to suit beef and your personal flavor preference. Right, let’s get into this!
- Cooking Time Searing: Typically 3 to 5 minutes
- Cooking Time Reverse Sear: Typically 30 to 60 minutes
- REC TEQ 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 RECTEQ. 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 REC TEQ Pellet Grill/Smoker
The quickest method to cook steaks is to simply grill/sear them at very high heat. Doing so can cook a steak typically in 3 to 5 minutes, but it will take longer for thick-cut steaks.
Every REC TEQ pellet grill model can achieve at least 500 degrees, and there are a couple of models with FULL/RIOT mode which can achieve temperatures of 700 to 1000 degrees.
Whichever REC TEQ model you own, you can sear a great steak. However, ideally, you want a grate surface temperature of around 600 F for the Maillard reaction to properly do its thing.
Therefore, as shown in the official REC TEQ video below, you may want to consider a set of GrillGrates that will aid the searing process, as no REC TEQ models currently offer direct-flame access.
In the video, its recommended cooking the steaks to an internal temperature of 130 F (medium-rare), and its a doneness I would also recommend. There are specific reasons for this, as I discuss below.
While purely searing steaks on your REC TEQ can produce a very nice steak, its the not the best a steak can be from a pellet grill/smoker.
Therefore, if you do have the time to spend of around an hour before searing your steaks, you will slowly bring them up to temp while smoking them and then sear them, hence the reverse-sear.
Reverse Searing Steaks On A REC TEQ
When you bought a REC TEQ, you didn’t just purchase a grill; you also purchased a smoker. Therefore, to cook the best steaks, you’ll take full advantage of your REC TEQ’s capabilities.
With the reverse sear method, when cooking a medium-rare steak, for instance, the temperature of the steak is gently brought up to around 110 F before its seared to finish at between 130-135 F.
To do this, the steaks are first placed in the REC TEQ set to a temperature around 225 F, and it will typically take the average steak around an hour to get up to 110 F reading for searing.
Within that time, the steak will have been absorbing smoke from your favorite pellet flavor. Quick tip, start with cold steaks pre-seasoned from the fridge. They will absorb smoke flavor better.
So as you can see, the key principles of cooking a good steak are pretty basic. You want to carefully monitor the internal temperature, and when searing, you want a grate hot enough (around 600 F).
However, to go from a good steak to a great steak or even better, you need to pay attention to the grade of beef you are starting with and choose the best pellets to suit your personal preference.
First off, let’s discuss the different grades of beef and how your choice of steak plays a significant role in its taste and texture.
1: If You Can Afford It, Upgrade Your Beef
While BBQ rubs can add flavor to a steak and simple a simple salt/pepper rub can bring out the flavor of a steak, the starting point for a tasty steak is obviously the steak itself.
There are lots of cuts of beef steak from Ribeye, Strip, Tenderloin, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Hanger, Skirt, Short Ribs, Flap, Flank, Tri-tip, Rump, Top-Sirloin, Tomahawk, and Denver.
And while different cuts can play a role in their taste/texture, its the grade of meat and the extent of fat marbling/intermuscular fat which is the really important part.
The cheapest steaks on the USDA grading system are Select steaks which have the least amount of fat marbling. Next up is Choice and, finally, the highest grade Prime.
While Wagyu beef is originally from Japan, there are now US-based ranches such as Snake River Farms, which imported and now breed their own US Wagyu beef cattle.
Wagyu beef has extensive fat marbling, greater than Prime-graded beef. Hence, it offers some of the best-flavored beef and succulent texture you can get when buying steaks.
However, its also significantly more expensive than the average steak you’re going to pick up from the local store. Hence, for me, that’s why Wagyu is my ‘treat meat’.
Even if you cannot afford Wagyu beef steaks, I would encourage you to think more about the beef steaks you are buying. If you only previously bought Select steaks, try and up the budget a little to Choice steaks.
If you can going to put in the time and effort to reverse-sear your steaks, you ideally want to be starting off in the best place possible, and that starts with the quality of the meat itself.
2: Preparing Steaks For The REC TEQ & Seasoning
If your steaks do have really large chunks of fat around the edges of the steaks, its not a bad idea to trim them down while their cold, as its easy to cut through the fat.
When it comes to seasoning, you have a couple of choices to make. As shown in the REC TEQ videos above, there are various different BBQ rubs you can apply to flavor your steaks.
However, personally, if I’ve spent a decent amount of money on a Prime/Wagyu steak, I’m just going to just go with a light coating of sea salt/black pepper to bring out the natural flavor of the meat.
Then again, if its a Select/Choice steak, sure, I would consider adding a wider range of flavors with BBQ rubs to aid the flavor of the steak to get the best result possible.
Now, if you are purely going to sear your steaks seasoning them as they come up to room temperature before placing them on the REC TEQ is perfectly fine.
However, if you are going to reverse-sear your steaks, ideally, you’ll have time to season them and then place them back into the fridge for around 30 minutes.
The reason is if you can place a cold/cool steak on the REC TEQ during the smoking section of the cook, a cool steak will take on more smoke flavor than a room temperature steak.
3. The Best REC TEQ Pellets For Cooking Beef Steaks
I have a dedicated article on choosing the best pellets for different meats, but it also really depends on how you are going to be cooking your steaks.
If you are just going to sear them, your best option from REC TEQ is to use Ultimate Blend, as the Oak within the blend will provide the best heat output.
However, if you are going to be reverse-searing your steaks and getting some smoke flavor into them, then for a light/sweet smoke flavor REC TEQ offers Apple or Cherry pellets.
If you are looking for a much stronger/bolder flavor, then the REC TEQ Mesquite pellets would probably be the better option, or again, you could go in the middle with Ultimate Blend.
Now, just because you own a REC TEQ pellet grill/smoker doesn’t mean you can/should only use REC TEQ pellets. There are several flavors out there not currently offered by REC TEQ.
For instance, you might want to try mild Pecan pellets or something bolder like Hickory. Alternatively, there are whisky barrel pellets or charcoal pellets for an even higher heat output than Oak pellets.
I would encourage you to check out my main best value pellets article not only to explore the wide range of flavors on the market but also to find the best value pellets ($ per lb).
4. Properly Monitoring Your Steaks
To properly cook your steaks to the doneness you prefer, you need to be carefully monitoring their internal temperature. Your REC TEQ actually has a meat probe that I would encourage you to use.
If you own a REC TEQ model with WiFi/App support, you can keep a careful eye on your steaks. Remember, for a medium-rare steak; you want a finished internal temperature of between 130 to 135 F.
When reverse-searing, you want to start the searing stage when the steak hits between 110 to 120 F. However, don’t cook the steak up until the 130 to 135 F mark.
The reason is the best steaks are given a little time to rest (15 mins or so) as this will let the fat/juices reabsorb into the muscle fibers. Well, while resting, the temp will continue to rise by about 5 F.
Hence, for a finished medium-rare steak, after resting, you want to take it off the heat when the internal temperature is between 125 to 130 F.
While the REC TEQ meat probe is a very handy tool, like any tool, as I discuss in my REC TEQ error codes article, they can fail from time to time.
Therefore, you don’t want your steaks to depend only on one meat probe. So its a good idea to have an instant-read thermometer on hand.
I have a Thermapen, as seen in the image above, and its a great bit of kit. But there are lots of other instant-read thermometers on the market. Read reviews the though, there is some cheap rubbish out there.
Final Thoughts About Cooking Steaks On A REC TEQ…
As a starting point, purchase the best quality steaks you can afford, and look for the extent of fat marbling within the steaks. That’s where the flavor and succulence is going to come from.
If you are purely searing steaks on your REC TEQ, then a set of GrillGrates and some Oak pellets (Ultimate Blend) or maybe some charcoal pellets is going to serve you best.
When it comes to reverse searing steaks, your range of pellet flavor options opens up. While people like myself can recommend how to choose the best pellets, its really a personal preference.
Carefully monitor the internal temperature of the steaks and remember while resting, their temp will continue to rise a little (5 degrees typically), so factor that into your desired final temperature.
As I’ve stated multiple times above, and as REC TEQ do in their own videos, I would encourage you to cook to medium-rare (130 to 135 F) for the best balance of flavor and texture.
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 🙂