When you have some extra time and want to create a true flavor sensation, try smoking your steak instead of grilling it. Our guide on how long to smoke steak at 225 degrees will help you yield delicious results every time.
How Long to Smoke Steak at 225 Degrees
As a basic rule, steak that’s smoked at 225 degrees will cook at a rate of 1 hour for every 1-1/2 pound of meat. Thinner cuts will cook through more quickly, while thicker ones may take more time. The process might also take longer if you’re smoking a large quantity of steaks at once.
Smoking vs. Grilling
When you grill a steak, you’re giving it a solid char over high heat. This results in a crisp exterior and a juicy interior (assuming that you don’t overcook the meat).
It takes longer to smoke steak, but you should still achieve a nice crust on the outside. As a reward for your patience, the meat will be suffused with robust smoke flavor.
You can smoke steaks to your preferred temperature, but tougher cuts will benefit from longer stints in the smoker. That way, the connective tissue will have a chance to break down. If the meat is tender to begin with, then it’s better not to cook it past medium.
What’s the Best Temperature for Smoking Steak?
You can smoke steak at any temperature between 200 and 250 degrees. If you set the smoker any lower, the meat might take so long to cook that it dries out. But if it’s set higher, you won’t get as much smoky goodness in every bite.
We would suggest aiming for a smoker temp of 225 degrees in most cases, but thicker steaks might call for raising the temperature to 250 degrees. That will save you a little bit of time while still imbuing the steak with smoke flavor.
What You’ll Need
There are only a few basic supplies that you’ll need to begin your steak-smoking adventures:
- A smoker
- Wood chips or pellets, depending on what type of smoker you have
- An instant-read meat thermometer
- A premium steak
If you don’t have a smoker, you can transform your grill into one easily enough. Home chefs who plan on smoking meat on a regular basis should invest in a smoker, but this shortcut will work in a pinch.
To begin, you’ll need to purchase some high-quality wood chips. Oak and hickory are both good choices for steak. Mesquite is another solid option, but be careful—it’s strong enough to impart a bitter flavor if you overdo it.
Arrange the wood chips in a single layer on a sheet of tin foil, then cover them with a second sheet of foil to create a packet. Use a fork to poke several holes in the top of the packet to promote airflow and allow the smoke to escape.
Place the prepared packet directly on the flame. If you’re using a charcoal grill, set it on the bed of coals.
When you see tendrils of whitish-gray smoke trickling out of the holes in the packet, you’re ready to start cooking. Remember that the heat of the grill should be lower than you would use for grilling the steak.
How Long to Smoke Steak at 225 Degrees
As with all cuts, the total cooking time will depend on size. Smaller steaks will reach the optimum temperature in less time, while oversized steaks will take longer. Similarly, if you’re smoking several steaks at once, the progress will be slower.
When the smoker is set to 225 degrees, the steak should cook at a rate of about 1 hour for every 1-1/2 pounds. You’ll want most steaks to hit an internal temperature of 130 degrees—that is, medium-rare—before you take them out of the smoker.
If you prefer your meat rare, 1-1/2 pounds of steak might need just 45 minutes in the smoker. For best results, rely on the internal temperature of the meat, not the clock.
Tips on Smoking Steak
—When choosing steaks that weigh less than 1-1/2 pound apiece, consider using a marinade. Most smoked meats don’t require this step, as they’ll be flavorful enough without it, but the marinade will help prevent the meat from drying out in the smoker.
—Set the smoker a bit higher than 225 if it runs on the cooler side. If you know your unit tends to run too hot, set the temperature a few degrees lower.
—Consider using the water pan when smoking steaks. This is another step that you can skip with larger cuts, but in this case, it will allow the steaks to retain more moisture.
—Thin steaks will reach the desired temperature sooner, so be sure to check them after the first 20 minutes or so.
—Don’t be tempted to smoke naturally tender cuts past medium. Despite the fact that they’ve been cooked over low heat, this could make the meat tough and dry. Save the long stints in the smoker for cuts that are tough and fatty to begin with, such as chuck steak.
—The long, largely hands-off cooking process will give you plenty of time to focus on your side dishes. Now is the time to get creative with gourmet mashed potatoes, refreshing slaws, hearty veggie casseroles, and savory mac and cheese.
Smoked Steak Recipe
1. Pat the steaks dry, then season them with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a bit of garlic powder to the mix if you’d like.
2. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees, using the wood of your choice. Filet mignon is particularly elegant when it’s oak-grilled. Steaks with bolder beef flavor would hold up well against the strong bite of hickory.
3. Let the steaks sit at room temperature while you wait for the smoker to heat up, but don’t allow them to sit out for longer than 1 hour.
4. Clean the cooking grates and coat them lightly with a neutral oil.
5. Set the steaks on the cooking grate and close the lid. Let them smoke until their internal temperature reaches 115 degrees for rare, 125 degrees for medium-rare, or 135 degrees for medium.
6. Remove the steaks from the heat to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Pro Tip: If you’d like a hearty char on the steaks, sear them briefly over high heat before allowing them to rest. This will be easy if you used a gas grill. Alternatively, you can sear the steaks in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet.
Though grilling is a more popular choice for steak, smoking the meat provides a lovely change of pace. You won’t need to get too fancy with the seasonings, as the smoker does that work for you. Just prepare the steaks, fire up the unit, and get ready to enjoy.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!