As the saying goes, “why go out for tacos when you have steak at home?” These Traeger tacos combine Tex-Mex seasoned ribeye steak that’s pellet smoked and reverse seared alongside peppers and onions to make the perfect setup for an elevated Taco Tuesday.
We’ve had a ton of Central Texas tacos in our day, and these are some of the best steak tacos we’ve come across.
How to Make Ribeye Tacos on a Traeger Grill
Ribeyes and thicker steaks are perfect for reverse searing on a Traeger or pellet smoker. You can pick up a great smoky flavor while cooking the steak to the perfect internal temperature before searing hot at the very end to achieve a nicely browned and caramelized exterior.
Smoking the Steaks
I like to smoke the steaks at a lower temperature like 200ºF and use the Super Smoke function on the Traeger to extend the time in the smoker before the steak reaches the desired internal temperature range for reverse searing (115ºF for rare, 120ºF for medium-rare, 125ºF for medium).
If you’re in a hurry, you can crank the temperature up to 225ºF (and probably even 250ºF) to reach the internal temperature range in 30-45 minutes.
Searing the Steaks
My recipe calls for searing in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, but you can reverse sear directly on a Traeger. I’ve included instructions in the recipe card below, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
When using a skillet or griddle, I like to sear the fat around the edges of the steak to render as much fat as possible before searing both sides.
Speaking of fat, you don’t need much fat in the skillet. Just enough to barely coat the bottom of the pan. You’re looking to sear the smoked steak, not deep fry it.
Smoked Peppers and Onions
While you can throw a steak on the grill on its own, the smoked peppers and onions are the perfect accompaniment for tacos. They pick up a ton of smoke flavor and soak up all the great rendered fat from the steak after searing.
The recipe calls for poblano peppers and Fresno or mini sweet peppers. Feel free to substitute for green and red bell peppers or jalapeño and serrano peppers for a spicy kick.
They also work as a forced rest time for the steaks. Not saying you’d be the overly eager steak slicer that slices too soon and ruins all their hard work. I’m just saying it happens too often!
Warming the Tortillas
Speaking of ruining hard work. It would be a shame to serve these Traeger steak tacos on tortillas straight out of a package. My favorite way to warm tortillas is over an open flame.
Just use a medium-low to medium heat and tongs to place corn tortillas directly on the stove’s grates for about 30 seconds. Look at the charred edges and all that added flavor!
If you don’t have a gas range or an open flame, you can heat tortillas in the same skillet you seared the steak in or in an oven. Or worst case, wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20-30 seconds.
What to Serve with Ribeye Tacos
The steak, and the veggies to a lesser degree, are the stars of the show here. A drizzle of your favorite salsa or Mexican chili crisp and a pinch of queso fresco or cotija cheese is about all you need. Or like I mentioned in my smoked pulled beef tacos, diced white onion, fresh cilantro, and a little lime juice all do a great job accentuating the flavor of beef.
With this being a shorter cook, I’m hesitant to recommend other smoked side dishes like our guacamole salsa, drunken Traeger beans, or smoked charro beans. But if you’re making a day of it, throw those on ahead of time for a real treat.
You could, however, make my creamy Mexican-fusion grilled summer corn salad in a skillet while the ribeye is on the Traeger. Add some Mexican rice, tortilla chips, and sparkling margaritas, and you’ll be ready to rock.
Okay, that’s everything you need to know. I hope you enjoy these ribeye steak tacos! If you do, I always appreciate recipe reviews!
And if you end up with a big pack of ribeyes and want to mix things up, check out my recipe for ribeyes with grilled broccolini and baked sweet potatoes next. Everything cooks on the Traeger together at the same time for another complete meal.
For the Steak
- 1.5-pound Ribeye Steak (about 1.5" thick)
- 2 Tablespoons Mexican-Style Beef Seasoning
For the Veggies
- 1 large White Onion, cut into thin strips
- 3 Poblano Peppers, cut into thin strips
- 6 Fresno Chiles or Mini Sweet Peppers, cut into thin strips
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
For Searing and Serving
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 10 Corn Tortillas
- Season the ribeye on all sides with your choice of rub. For best results, dry brine the steak by refrigerating it on a wire rack with the seasoning for 24-48 hours before cooking.
Smoking the Steak and Veggies
- When ready to cook, preheat your Traeger to 200ºF with Super Smoke (if your grill has the capability).
- Toss the onion and pepper strips with the olive oil, salt, granulated garlic, and black pepper. Transfer to a grill pan or smoker-safe wire rack and place on the Traeger with the steak.
- Cook the steak for 60-75 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 115ºF for rare or 120ºF for medium-rare before transferring to a sheet pan and tenting with foil. Transfer the peppers and onions to the sheet pan as well.
Searing the Steaks and Serving
- To sear, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. (See notes below for instructions to sear on the Traeger.) Once the oil begins to smoke, use tongs to sear the edges of the steak for about 30 seconds each and both sides of the steak for 60-90 seconds each. Once you're happy with the crust on the steak's exterior, set it aside and tent with foil to rest.
- Add the smoked peppers and onion to the skillet with the rendered fat and sauté for 3-5 minutes to soften.
- Set the veggies aside and warm the tortillas in the skillet or char the edges of the tortillas while warming over a burner (pictured here).
- Slice or dice the reverse seared steak and serve on the tortillas alongside the veggies. Garnish with your choice of salsa, diced onion, chopped cilantro, cotija cheese or queso fresco, and lime wedges (see notes below for my recommendations).
Note about the second steak pictured here: I smoked and reverse seared an extra ribeye for Vanessa to make Texas style klobasnek and leftover beef fried rice (instead of brisket). The amount of peppers and tortillas is the right amount for one steak. So if you'd like to make a beaucoup of tacos with two ribeyes, double the veggies and tortillas.
I used H-E-B beef fajita seasoning, which is a blend of salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, citric acid, and meat tenderizer. Any Mexican-style beef rub should work fine.
I've used both Choice and Prime ribeyes for these tacos, and I'd recommend Choice to save the money for this application. You can use other cuts like strip steak in place of ribeyes, but you'll want to make sure it's a thicker steak (around 1.5" thick) to work well for reverse searing.
Searing on the Traeger
To sear on the Traeger, transfer the steak to a sheet pan and tent with foil once it reaches the 120ºF internal temperature mark. Increase the grill temperature to 500ºF. (Keep and eye on the peppers and onion. Pull them once they're fully softened and are slightly browning around the edges.) Once the grill reaches 500ºF, place the steaks directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Be sure to place the steak in a different spot on the grill when flipping.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 steak taco
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 219mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g