At Omaha Steaks, grilling tends to be the go-to outdoor cooking option, but we’re hot on smoking too. Smoking isn’t just for ribs and brisket – it enhances steak flavor using the same power and chemistry of wood smoke and gradual cooking. The basics of smoking are simple: cooking at a low temperature and slow pace while allowing smoke to flavor and change the meat, creating new and delicious flavors you’d never get on the grill.
In order to begin smoking steak, you’ll need four key supplies: a smoker, wood or wood chips, an internal meat thermometer, and a big (think Omaha Steaks KING CUT™) steak. Most meat is smoked between 200-250 degrees, and that easy-to-achieve temperature range works well for steak.
Don’t Have a Smoker? Turn Your Grill Into One.
- Start with wood chips – they’re available at most grocery stores – choose apple, hickory, red oak, or maple wood chips for great smoky flavor.
- Soak your wood chips in water for 10 minutes — damp wood chips help reduce flare-ups on the grill.
- Lay the wood chips flat on a sheet of tin foil, and cover them with another sheet connecting the two pieces to create a foil packet.
- Poke a few holes in the top of the packet with a fork to create good, moderated airflow and allow the smoke to get out.
- Put the foil packet directly above the grill burner or flame.
- Once you start to get a trickle of wood smoke from your packet, grill your steak indirectly and at a lower heat than usual to allow the smoke enough time to saturate the meat. You can move your steak to high heat to sear after smokiness is achieved.
Which Types of Food Can Be Smoked?
The most popular cuts of meat to smoke are brisket, ribs, pork shoulder, or turkey (all typically large in size) but virtually any meat can be smoked including salmon, steak, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, trout, shrimp, and many more. Smoking isn’t limited to meat either; vegetables and cheese also are delicious smoked items.
How To: Smoking Steak
An Omaha Steaks Porterhouse, T-Bone, or an Omaha Steaks KING CUT™ Steak are great for smoking because they’re very thick and heavy that won’t dry out during the longer smoking process. If you go any smaller than 1.5 lbs., pay special attention to step number one.
- Marinate your steak can help you get a juicier result, but the choice is yours. If your steak is smaller than 1.5 lbs., it’s recommended to flavor it overnight then pull your steak out prior to turning on the smoker.
- Prepare your smoker for a 230 degrees F cook, and put the steak(s) on the grates. If your smoker has a water pan, make sure that it’s full so the atmosphere inside isn’t too dry.
- The general rule of thumb is that for every 1.5 lbs. of meat, an hour of smoking is necessary; however the real determinant is the temperature.
- Smoke your steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F (rare) to 145 degrees F (medium).
Reaching this temperature will ensure that the steaks have been smoked appropriately. In most cases, smoking steak takes around 45 minutes, but remember the thinner the steak, the faster it will reach a higher internal temperature. It also is important to remember as you smoke more items simultaneously, the longer the smoking process will be.
Once you’re finished smoking a steak, serve it with Roasted Potato Salad, Green Beans, Aged Cheddar & Bacon Gourmet Tots, or Omaha Steaks new summer side dishes for a complete meal that’s sure to impress all of your friends and family. Now it’s time to go out and enjoy the weather, while you smoke your first steak!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.