Do you have a Traeger and want to make that perfect seared or grilled steak? Traeger grills are great for many things but are not very good at searing so if you like a seared steak, you need to find another option - or not - there is a way! In this instructable I'll show you how to get the most out of your Traeger grill to make that perfect steak using a cast iron pan.
Step 1: Setting Up Your Traeger Grill
There is an grilling accessory designed for Traegers called a 'Smok N Fire' and is an easy installation by replacing the Traeger drip tray and removing the flame plate. This is all a drop-in - no hardware or modifications are required. By using this accessory you have 3 advantages - (1) is exposing the flame to the center portion of the grill, making this a direct hot area and (2) the design allows for moving your seared / grilled food off to the sides to continue to slowly cook to the done temperature you like. (3) since the accessory replaces the drip trays, these areas can be covered in foil for easy clean-up just like the original Traeger drip plate.
HOWEVER for this instructable of cast iron searing of a steak, all you really need to do is remove the Traeger drip plate and the flame plate and this exposes the flame directly under the cast iron pan. The cast iron pan contains all of the 'drippings' so there should not be a mess to clean-up. Well, at least within your Traeger.
Step 2: Steak Preparation
Ok, everyone appears to be a cooking expert and has their own method. I don't claim to have my own secret recipe but I can follow directions pretty well and the directions I have adopted is from America's Test Kitchen and it turns out great on a Traeger and cast iron!
Hint: Watch the video for a great explanation of prepping and finishing the steaks. See the summary below.
- Use a thick cut of meat
- Pat dry and season the steaks with salt / pepper
- Get your pan hot - use maximum heat on the Traeger knob and place the cast iron cookware directly over the flame. Your pan will take about 15 minutes to stabilize.
- Coat the pan lightly with oil
- Flip steaks every 2 minutes - 4 times (twice per side) use timer as needed.
- Take your steaks temperature with a quick read thermometer. Set the pan off the direct heat and let cook to bring up to done temperature of your liking. At this point, you can close the lid as needed to finish.
- The butter / shallot / parsley / chive / garlic mix is optional but very good and you should try.
How else does the Traeger come into play? A Traeger, is basically a wood fired oven and with all wood fired ovens, you get natural heat, a hint of smoke, and the open flame does add a unique flavor beyond an electric or gas oven. BBQ always has a unique flavor regardless of the food cooked so give this method a try.
Step 3: Steak Sides Anyone?
If you have a Traeger Texas or Lil-Tex (or similar) these are large enough to handle a couple of 10" cast iron pans or griddle. If you are like me, the sides such as grilled onions, peppers, and / or mushrooms add to the overall experience. Just like the steak pan preparation, add a little oil and seasonings to the sides of your choice and let em cook. If you find the pan is too hot, move off to the side of the direct flame.
Step 4: Cast Iron Isn't Just for Steak
The real point of this instructable is to show how you can expand the use of your Traeger grill. If you decide you like using the cast iron, you can control the temperature so it works better with different meats, fruit, or seafood. Also , there is no reason you can't make a full breakfast with crispy hash browns using your Traeger and cast iron and if you want direct flame, you have that option with the Smok 'N Fire grilling accessory.
I hope you found this instructable useful and Happy BBQ!
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