How to Sear Your Meat to Perfection Using a Z Grills Pellet Grill

How to sear meat

There’s nothing better than perfectly smoked meat just off your pellet grill, but if there’s one thing that takes it over the edge, it’s searing! Searing is essentially where you ramp up the temperature and char the surface to get that slightly crispy, firm exterior. Searing is the secret to sealing in all those incredible flavors and adding a little sweetness to the surface of the meat. Before taking your smoked meats off the grill, you can sear a steak for that perfect medium-rare doneness. 

You may have heard that you can’t sear meat on a pellet grill… well, you’d be wrong! Z Grills pellet grills are designed to sear meat to your heart’s content, and our 600 series even has something a little special up its sleeve (more on that shortly)! 

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    How to Prepare Meat for Searing 

    If you just want to sear your smoked meats to give it that much-desired exterior, you don’t need to do any additional prep. However, if you plan to sear a steak (or similar) from cold, here’s what you need to do to get the best results:

    • If it’s a large cut, trim off the excess fat from your meat and any silver skin (a silvery membrane) 
    • Pat the surface of the meat dry with paper towel, leave it in the refrigerator uncovered overnight, or salt the meat and leave it for an hour – the goal is simply to dry the surface of the meat. 
    • Add a thin layer of olive oil for taste if you desire it, but you don’t need to oil the meat to keep it from sticking to the grates. 

    How to Sear Meat to Perfection on a Z Grills Pellet Grill 

    1. (Optional) When your meat reaches the right internal temperature (AKA it’s done), remove the meat and ramp up the temperature to the highest it will go – for the majority of our pellet grills, this means around 450 °F. This is not necessary for seared steaks and anything you don’t plan to smoke first.
    2. For best results, use a lightly oiled grill plate, especially if you are searing smaller cuts of meat.
    3. When your pellet grill reaches 450 °F, open the lid and add your meat – most cuts only require a few minutes on either side, about 2-5 minutes depending on whether you’re searing a thin steak or something much bigger. Resist the urge to move the meat before you’ve given it sufficient time to sear – you’ll end up losing some of the flavorful juices.
    4. Grab your tongs and/or a spatula and flip your meat. Again, leave it untouched until time is up. 
    5. Remove from the heat, allow to sit for about 10 minutes, and serve!
    smoking meat

    How Long Do Different Cuts Take? 

    Here are a few tips help you sear different cuts and types of meat: 

    • Burgers: Aim for an 80:20 meat-to-fat ratio and don’t be tempted to squash the burger with your spatula to get it to cook faster or more evenly, in most cases, this will actually slow the process and result in a drier burger.
    • Chicken: For breasts and thighs, try to get cuts with the skin-on, and sear skin-side down for about 3.5 minutes on each side.
    • Pork chops: Make sure you trim down the outer layer of fat and check the internal temperature as it cooks (180F is done). Generally, you only need to sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, so keep an eye on that internal temperature.
    • Ribs: Ribs typically take much longer than other cuts here – you’re looking at 10-15 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on it and look for a golden-brown color. Start with bone-side down for the best results.
    • Tuna steaks: tuna only takes 2.5 minutes on either side and will likely still be a little pink in the middle.
    • For tender and high-fat steaks, reverse sear. This means you should cook them at around 225F first until it reaches the right internal temperature, and then sear the outside. 

    Searing meat with your Z Grills pellet grill is extremely easy and you’ll soon find yourself searing the majority of your grilled meats! Make sure your grill is as clean as possible before you get started for the best results that will have you and your friends coming back for more again and again.

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    About The Author

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    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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    1. Barry Beattie says:

      This article is stupid. No mention of how to sear except by using a grill plate which most z-grills don’t have (certainly not mine), no mention of open flame sear and the teaser for some secret later on doesn’t materialize.

    2. Michael Sanford says:

      Should have done more research I didn’t realize you had to take the drip pan out to be able to sear steaks… My pit Boss had a slide part of that cover over to expose the flying to sear without having to remove the drip pan…. And I noticed that first I would not have bought this grill

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