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Pellet Grill Cowboy Steak

This mouthwatering pellet grill cowboy steak will quickly become one of your favorite go-to meals! Our recipe guide will walk you through how to make the perfect reverse-seared cowboy steak, all in the comfort of your backyard.


There is nothing more rewarding than biting into a perfectly cooked cowboy steak. And even better, we take these bad boys to the pellet grill for a low and slow cook, then reverse sear them to form a delicious savory crust. This steak is impressive, and honestly, it was one of the best we’ve ever had.

What is a cowboy steak?

The cowboy steak is an impressive looking, french cut ribeye steak. This steak cut comes from the rib section of the steer and is thick, meaty, and contains a fair amount of marbling, similar to a ribeye steak. Other names for cowboy steak include bone-in ribeyecowboy ribeye, and tomahawk ribeye steak (with a shorter, cleaned or frenched bone). 

Cowboy steaks are perfect for the grill or smoker, but can be seared in a cast-iron pan as well. Once cooked, they will be juicy and tender, with a rich beefy flavor.

What is a cowboy steak?

Ingredients for pellet grill cowboy steak:

  • Two cowboy steaks, about 2″ thick
  • Fresh garlic
  • Coarse salt (I use kosher, sea salt, or Argentinian salt)
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Herbs, like dried thyme and marjoram
  • Smoked paprika (a little goes a long way)
  • Olive oil (for brushing onto the steaks before seasoning)
  • Compound butter ingredients (see below for the recipe)

Recommended wood pellets: oak or hickory. However, if you have a favorite, then please use it.

Steak cooking – plan ahead:

Your cowboy steaks will spend anywhere from 45-60 minutes in your pellet grill. After the initial smoke cooking occurs, you will need to reverse sear your steaks to form a nice crust. Doing this amps up the flavor and gives it a nice presentation.

Have a good meat thermometer handy, so you can pull your steak at the right time!

What is reverse searing?

“Reverse-sear” means to searing the steak at the end of cooking, rather than at the beginning. The steaks is brought close to the desired doneness through a low and slow cooking method. After this, the meat is seared at a high temperature to seal in juices and create golden brown, savory, caramelized crust on the surface.

Reverse sear method

Since we will be using specific outdoor cooking equipment for these pellet grill cowboy steaks, it’s best to know what your grill is capable of doing. Can it achieve high temperatures between 450-500 degrees F? Do you have the option to swap out your grill grates if needed? If not, don’t worry. There are solutions! Remember, you can always reverse sear your steaks in a cast-iron skillet on your stovetop. A flat-top griddle or griddle pan will also work in a pinch!

Cowboy steak on a pellet grill

Seasoned steak on pellet grill
  • Prepare your pellet grill for 225 degrees F. Combine the rub ingredients listed in the recipe card below. Brush both sides of the steak with a light coating of oil, and season well with the rub.
  • Place steaks on the grill, close the lid, and let the steaks cook for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 125 degrees F. If you’d like them medium, pull them at 130-135 degrees. Please refer to my steak temperature guide to determine the right doneness for your needs. I recommend removing them about 5-7 degrees before they reach your target temperature.
Reverse searing a steak

When we developed the recipe, we were fortunate to have a flat-top grill at my disposal. Of course, we wanted to test the searing capability of this Cuisinart 360 XL. We were pleasantly surprised. However, if you have a Traeger or another pellet grill that can reach high temperatures, then definitely stick with the same unit, or finish the job on the stovetop in a cast-iron skillet.

Turning reversed seared
  • Pull the steaks about 5-7 degrees before your desired doneness, and place them onto a clean plate. Crank up your grill’s temperature to 500 degrees F.
  • Once it’s up to temp, place your steaks back onto the grates and sear them for 2-3 minutes per side. 
  • If using your stovetop or a flat top grill, melt a pat of butter on the surface right before adding the steak. Sear for 2-3 minutes, turn over, and repeat the process.

Remove your cowboy steak from the heat. Top with 1-2 pats of garlic-herb butter, and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice, and serve. I find that the addition of the flavored butter adds a nice creaminess to each bite.


Garlic-Herb Butter

  • Combine 1/2 cup of softened (not melted) butter with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary, and 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme (or your favorite herbs like parsley, chives or mint). Stir together—scoop mixture out onto a 12″ piece of plastic wrap, and form into a log shape. Twist the ends and place the butter into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • To use: unwrap and slice into 1/2″-1″ slices.
  • Tip: Make this compound butter right after the steaks go on the pellet grill. The butter will be good and solidified by the time the steaks have finished cooking. Serve these steaks with my phenomenal Pellet Grill Funeral Potatoes.

More Pellet Grill Recipes


Pellet Grill Cowboy Steak

There is a trick to the perfect steak on a pellet grill. Follow this steak recipe to get it right. Put the sear on at the end (reverse sear) and then top with this fantastic garlic and rosemary butter. You will never order a steak in a restaurant again.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pellet recipes, tomahawk steak
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 494kcal
Author: Derrick Riches


  • Pellet Grill


  • 2 cowboy steaks about 1 3/4” to 2” thick


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • For butter:
  • 1/2 cup softened butter room temperature, not melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons thyme


  • Prepare pellet grill to 225 degrees F.
  • Brush steaks on both sides with a little olive oil. Combine rub ingredients and season liberally with mixture.
  • Place steaks on the cooking grate, close the lid, and cook to an internal temperature of 120 degrees F (about 45 minutes). If you'd like your steak a little more cooked, then leave it on for another 15 minutes or so.
  • Remove steaks from grill, place onto a clean plate and set aside. Turn pellet grill to its maximum temperature (or 500 degrees F).
  • Place steaks back on the hot grill and sear each side for 2-3 minutes or until a nice golden brown crust forms.
  • Once seared to perfection, remove steaks from grill and place onto a clean cutting board. Let them rest for 5-7 minutes and serve with a pat or two of garlic-herb butter on top, or carve and share.
  • For garlic butter: Combine softened (not melted) butter with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary, and 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme (or your favorite herbs). Stir together—scoop mixture out onto a 12" piece of plastic wrap, and form into a log shape. Twist the ends and place the butter into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    To use: unwrap and slice into 1/2"-1" slices.


  • Pellet recommendation: Hickory for a strong smoke flavor or oak for a milder smoke flavor.


Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 2007mg | Potassium: 344mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 856IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg

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