How To Smoke A Steak To Perfection

Sick of overcooking your steaks on the gas grill or oven? Or maybe you are looking to take your steak to a new level of deliciousness. Regardless your reason, today we show you how to smoke amazing steak. This process will work on practically ANY cut.

How Do You Smoke The Perfect Steak?

Preparing the Ingredients

Before you begin, choose your seasoning, butter (or olive oil), garlic, and other spices you want to add. For some recipes, you may prefer a specific style of seasoning mixes, such as Montreal steak seasoning rub, chili rub, sea salt with cracked pepper, or any store-bought or homemade creation of your spices. 

You’ll find many great seasoning options to experiment with once you become familiar with the smoking process. For best results, choose organic, locally grown garlic, butter, olive oil, dried herbs, and spices if available.

The last step is to grab the cut of steak you’ve chosen to smoke – for first-timers who are still unsure how to smoke a steak (or if they’ll even like the end result), Porterhouse is a great option. Smoking it enhances the natural flavor, but won’t taste too overpowering.

How to Effectively Use a Pellet Grill

Pellet grills are easy to use and offer an excellent option for adding new, delicious flavors to your filet mignon, Tomahawk ribeye steak, or sirloin cut of steak. A pellet grill cooks your choice of meat cut using convection heating with your selection of hardwood to create that smoked flavor. To prepare your grill, keep it clean and clear of debris, then choose your style or taste of hardwood such as cedar, hickory, mesquite, cherry, or others that you want to sample with your next meal.

If you prefer to sear your meat in the smoker, a sear box is ideal to use for this purpose, as pellet grills take longer to heat up and cook slower than traditional barbeques. Alternatively, you can transfer your steak to a pan or propane grill to char instead. 

Before you prepare to use your pellet grill, ensure that you have more than enough space to work with, so you can spread out your utensils, seasoning options, and other ingredients and equipment you’ll be using.

How to Smoke Steak Depending on the Cut You Choose

Depending on the cut you pick, here’s how to smoke a steak until it’s brimming with flavor. 


New York Strip

For this recipe, you’ll need two one-pound New York strips of steak, the seasoning of your choice, and one tablespoon of garlic mixed with two tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Combine the garlic, butter, or oil with the seasoning and rub it into each steak evenly. Let it marinate. In the meantime, heat the pellet smoker to 250 degrees. Smoke the steaks for about 35-40 minutes.

You’ll find the steaks turn a greyish color at this point. To enhance the flavor, char them on the grill for a few minutes or in a hot skillet. This will give the steaks gorgeous grill marks.

To prepare a rare or medium-rare steak, smoke at 120 degrees or slightly lower to achieve the effect. If you choose to fry your steaks in the pan, add extra garlic and butter or oil, and cook on both sides until they reach approximately 130 degrees internally, as indicated by the meat thermometer.


Porterhouse Steak

The finest cut of steak and a favorite in steakhouses, you’ll want to savor the delicious natural taste of this cut with a simple rub, such as cracked pepper and sea salt with olive oil. Prepare a one or two-pound Porterhouse steak with the rub while the smoker heats up. 

This cut of steak is best to smoke at 225 degrees, which can also be used with sirloin cuts. Since the Porterhouse steak is low in fat content, it cooks fast.

If you want to char or sear your steak, increase the pellet smoker to full heat, or remove to fry on a cast-iron skillet over the stove or a gas-powered grill. To prevent your steaks from drying in the smoker, add extra olive oil and keep an eye on them as they cook.


Ribeye Steak

When you consider an excellent budget cut of meat, ribeye steak is also delicious and works well with many seasoning rubs and flavor combinations. It’s easy to prepare with your favorite store-bought or homemade seasoning (three tablespoons) and two tablespoons of olive oil. 

As you rub your steak to marinate, heat the smoker and cook at either 120 degrees or 225 degrees; the lower temperature will give your steak a medium-rare finish.

The smoking process can take about one hour or more, depending on your preference. For best results, remove your steak from the smoker ten degrees before reaching your target temperature. Just before searing the meat, brush with olive oil and cook on a grill or pan for a couple of minutes on each side.


Tomahawk Ribeye Steak

Tomahawk ribeye steaks offer an excellent, intense flavor with any choice of steak seasoning or your salt and pepper mix. Prepare a two-pound cut of Tomahawk ribeye with seasoning and heat the pellet smoker to cook the steak at 275 degrees. 

To avoid overcooking the steak, you can remove the steak and sear on a grill or cast-iron pan to finish. If you decide to cook in the smoker, it will take over an hour to reach the desired temperature.

Add a light brush of butter or olive oil before transferring to the pan or grill to finish. You’ll notice the steaks will change to greyish color, though this will change once they are seared.

Frequently Asked Questions

While many pellet smokers are capable of reaching charing temperatures, we don’t recommend cooking at this heat. To avoid the grey look, we recommend finishing your smoked steaks on a piping hot grill or cast iron pan.

Our personal favorite is the competition blend by Pitboss. However, try different pellets and respond in the comments and let me know which one YOU like best.

We’ve found the best success smoking our steaks at the 250-275 degree level. It’s important to smoke at a heat that allows the steak to take in the smoke and not cooking it too quickly.