Unique Ways to Cook a Steak: Beyond the Grill
- by Omaha Steaks
OK, so you can grill the perfect medium-rare steak. You can cook a ribeye in your cast iron pan with aplomb. What’s next? Follow this steak lover’s guide from Omaha Steaks, America’s Original Butcher, to add some unique ways to cook a steak to your cooking arsenal.
Smoking a Steak
Why Smoked Steak is Delicious
The flavor of wood smoke adds depth and complexity to beef – that’s why brisket is the king of barbeque. But the usual way to cook smaller, more tender cuts of steak is quickly over high heat, which doesn’t leave time for smoke to work its way in. So, how do you smoke a steak?
Choose the Right Steaks
Steaks are smaller than typical smoked meats, so you need to work with steaks that are as big as possible. T-bones or porterhouses, extra-thick-cut ribeyes, or giant Omaha Steaks KING CUT steaks are the best bet. Look for something over 1.5 lbs. for best results.
Using a Smoker
If you’ve already got an offset or bullet smoker on your patio, you’ve got the supplies. Here’s how to dial it in for smoking steaks.
- Consider marinating your steak, especially if it’s small. Blasphemy, usually, but your main goal here is to prevent the longer cook from drying out your beef.
- Prepare your smoker for a 230°F cook with a medium-flavor wood such as hickory or apple. If yours is a water pan smoker, make sure the pan is full for a high-moisture cooking environment.
- Place your marinated/seasoned steak on the grates and close the lid. Even though the time is shorter, your regular smoking guidelines apply (if you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’).
- TIME: Generally, plan on 1 hour of smoking time for every 1.5 lbs. of beef (that’s why you can’t start with small steaks).
- TEMP: Aim for the same temperature you love with grilled steaks. 125°F to 140°F is best… it just takes longer to get there.
Smoking With Your Grill (Making a Smoke Bomb)
You don’t need a dedicated smoker to smoke a steak, especially because you’re dealing with shorter cook times than most barbecue. The biggest challenge is maintaining an even temperature, so plan on staying grillside for most of the cook. Here’s how to make and use a “smoke bomb” on a gas or charcoal grill.
- Light your grill for an indirect cook.
- Gas grillers, turn on the burners on only one side of your grill, experimenting with settings until you can hold the grill around 250°
- Charcoal grillers, light your coals as usual and pile them on only one side of the grill. Your smoke bomb will sit over the heat source, your steak on the no-heat side.
- Soak a good-sized handful of hickory wood chips in water for 10 minutes, then wrap them up in an aluminum foil packet. Poke plenty of holes in the packet with a fork. This is your smoke bomb.
- Place the smoke bomb directly on the grates (or on the coals). The wood chips will slowly start to smolder and your smoke will last about an hour. If you’re working on a project where you need smoke for longer… make more smoke bombs!
Sous Vide Steak
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is a uniquely precise cooking method that’s been used by chefs for years, but has recently gotten very popular at home. Cooking steaks sous vide involves sealing the steaks in airproof plastic and submerging them in temperature-controlled water for a period of time. The machine that brings sous vide to your kitchen is called an “immersion circulator.” The most popular brands are Anova and Joule.
Why Sous Vide Steak is Delicious
Edge-to-edge temperature control. Usually when you cook a steak, you’re measuring the middle for your target doneness. The temperature goes up and up towards the edges of the steak. Cooked sous vide, a steak is the exact same temperature throughout. It’s the only way to dial in your doneness for maximum juiciness, flavor, and consistency. BUT! You will have to sear your steak, too.
Sous Vide Steak, Step-by-Step
- Season your steak
Use sea salt and cracked pepper or a good blend like Omaha Steaks Signature Steak Rub. Note – you won’t lose seasoning like you would on the grill, so you won’t need as much salt.
- Set up your pot for sous vide cooking
Attach your immersion circulator to a large stockpot and fill with water above the line indicated on the cooker. Set your cooker to your steak temp and let it heat up.
- Preheat a pan
Place a cast iron pan or stainless steel pan on a burner and pre-heat the pan to medium-high. Add a little bit of oil, just enough to coat the surface of the pan.
- Sear the steak
Place your steak in the hot pan and sear for about 2 minutes on each side.
- SEAR BEORE OR AFTER?Many people sear their steak after it has reached temperature in the immersion cooker. That works, too! There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.
- SEAR FIRST:You’ll get perfect temperature control over the final product, but the outside of your steak won’t be as crispy.
- SEAR AFTER:You’ll have a perfect crunchy sear but your steak won’t be as evenly cooked edge-to-edge.
- Seal your steak in a bag and cook
Seal your seared steak in a plastic bag as recommended by your immersion circulator. Place the bag in the water until the steak is up to your desired temperature. Depending on steak thickness and target temperature, it may take 45 minutes to a few hours.
- Remove steak and let it rest
When your steak has reached its target temperature, take then bag out of the pot and the steak out of the bag. Place your steak on a plate and let it rest about 5 minutes before serving.
Reverse Seared Steak
What is Reverse Sear?
Traditional steak cooking methods sear the steak first over high heat, then the rest of the cut raises in temperature until it’s done. “Reverse sear” is a blanket term for cooking methods where that order is reversed. Some sous vide methods are reverse-sear, and so is cooking a steak in a low-temperature oven and then searing in a pan.
Why Reverse Seared Steak is Delicious
Control and slow-cooked juiciness. By bringing the entire steak up to temperature before it hits the blazing-hot pan or grill, there’s less split-second timing to worry about… and the marbling in your steak is going to slowly melt into rich flavor. Big steaks are problematic on the grill or on cast iron because you’re likely to blacken the outside before the middle cooks. Reverse searing is THE way to get even cooking results when your steak is 1.5 inches thick or more. We love cooking Omaha Steaks KING CUTS with this method.
Reverse Sear Methods
To reverse sear, you’re going to use two cooking methods every time. But you can combine nearly any two direct and indirect cooks to get great results. Try these combinations as you learn the reverse seared steak that you love most.
- Cook: Sous Vide; Sear: Cast Iron Skillet
- Cook: Sous Vide; Sear: Blow Torch
- Cook: Indirect Grill; Sear: Hot Grill
- Cook: Oven; Sear: Cast Iron Skillet
- Cook: Oven; Sear: Very Hot Grill
- Cook: Smoker; Sear: Cast Iron Skillet
The Omaha Steaks Difference
No matter how you’re cooking steak, there’s one universal truth: quality matters. Making sure grillers like you start with the best possible beef is the reason behind everything we do at Omaha Steaks. Our staff of 100+ master butchers puts experience and craft into every steak so that you can focus on the fun part. Every Omaha Steak is:
- Aged at least 21 days to naturally maximize tenderness
- Hand-selected, cut, and trimmed by master butchers
- Individually flash frozen to deliver flavor and tenderness perfection
- 100% guaranteed (seriously, you get your money back if you don’t like them)
If you’re ready to try these techniques with some of Omaha Steaks very, very best, shop here right now.
Check out more articles in this steak cooking series:
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