How to Smoke a Steak – A Concise Guide

Most of us certainly enjoy sinking our teeth into juicy and mouthwatering steak. When it comes to cooking steak, there are numerous options, with each of them giving different outcomes. If you are used to just slapping your steak on the grill, you should know that you have been missing on something that smoking can add to your meat: the complex taste.

Many people may actually not know how to smoke a steak. Smoked meat tends to give such a unique flavor that is hard to resist. While it takes a little more time than grilling, the process is pretty easy. You may use a smoker, but if you don’t have one, you can convert your grill into a makeshift smoking apparatus. You might now want to learn how to smoke a steak.

To smoke steak, you will need the following:

  • Boneless steak
  • Spices or marinade
  • A grill or a smoker
  • Flavored wood chips
  • A metal tray filled with water
  • Charcoal
  • Thermometer

Here is a step-by-step guide to smoking steak:

1. Ensure that You Pick a Good Cut of Meat

Buying a juicy and succulent piece of steak is one of the most crucial parts of cooking a steak. What seasoning and cooking can do for a piece of meat is limited. As much as seasoning is important, it is only useful in accenting the complex taste of the meat. A boneless cut, such as a boneless rib-eye is ideal for smoking.


If you want a very great cut, you need to visit a butcher instead of buying meat from a grocery store, although that is okay. For best results, look for meat that is as fresh as possible (with a bright red color) and a piece that is roughly one inch thick.

You should always look for a piece of meat with marbling running through it. Most people dread any form of fat and while buying meat, they wrongly choose steaks with no fat running through them. As a matter of fact, marbling gives steak most of its flavor, making it tender and juicy. This is why it is important to choose meat with small streaks of fat running through it.

2. Allow Your Steak to attain Room Temperature

Before you smoke your steak, it is important for you to bring it to room temperature. This is because smokers don’t normally reach a high temperature. Cold or frozen meat will not cook properly. On the other hand, you should allow your meat out for only one hour or so because leaving it out for a longer may allow bacteria to grow on it.

Should you choose to marinade your steak, then you should ensure that you leave it the fridge during this process. Good quality marinade is very acidic, which makes the meat tender. Some people tend to put their meats in the marinade when they are already sitting outside. However, this is not the way to go. It actually works well in the fridge and you may leave the steak in the marinade for a longer time. If the steak is of good quality, it will not need marinade. However, you can try it if you want a unique flavor.

3. Smoke Your Steak

A smoker is not all that difficult to use. All you need to do is to remind yourself that you are not cooking your steak using a flame. To ensure that there is no flame, just place the charcoal into your smoker, light it and give it time until it gets covered with gray ash. At this point, it is nice and hot and you need to put it into two separate piles. Put your metal tray filled with water between the two charcoal piles and place your steaks on the grate above your smoke source.

smoked steak

You should add to your charcoal every hour or so to ensure that it remains nice and hot. If you are looking for additional flavoring, you need to add in your flavored wood chips (wood chips are small pieces of wood which are used in enriching the flavors of the steaks you are cooking). You can add unique and delicious flavoring using apple, cherry, maple and pecan.

You can follow the same process when using a grill. Put your smoking paraphernalia beneath the grate before putting the steaks over a pan of water. You should always ensure that your lid remains closed, while the vents on the side are open.

4. Keep the Temperature Constant

When you are smoking steaks, you should keep an eye on the temperature of your steaks and the smoker, which should be constantly at 225 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In case your smoker or grill has a built-in thermometer, you can use it to help you estimate the heat levels. If not, an oven safe food thermometer that can be left in the smoker will do the job. You should smoke your steaks till they get to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which normally takes between one and two hours.

Bear in mind that smoked meat has a different appearance the moment you take it out of the smoker. It is likely to have a different color hue to it. And in case you are the kind of person who likes to have several grill marks plus coloring on your steak, you can use your grill to scorch it on both sides for one minute to two minutes.


Smoking steak helps to bring out its authentic and rich taste; it tenderizes your steaks like no other method can ever do. If you want to try something new, why not try smoking? Although the process is longer than grilling, it is not necessary for you to monitor your meat from time to time while it is cooking. Now that you have seen from this guide how to smoke a steak, you can easily smoke your meat to tasty perfection.

Settling down to munch a succulent, tasty steak is no doubt a pleasure that is quite hard to beat!