How to Cook Steaks on a Smoker

by Carol Luther

Steak with vegetables on a plate.

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A smoker combines slow heat with moisture to cook meats. Use the pan that holds your smoking liquid to hold water or boost the flavor of your meat by adding herbs or diced vegetables in wine or broth. The drip pan also collects meat drippings that you can use for final additions such as gravy.

Season your steak by marinating overnight or applying a dry rub of herbs and spices of your choice.

Prepare the smoker pans according to the manufacturer's directions. The majority of smokers have two levels, for a charcoal pan in the lower section and the drip pan and meat rack at the top.

Fill the charcoal pan 2/3 full and light the coals.

Let the coals burn uncovered until they start turning white and you see no flames in the charcoal pan. This normally takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of charcoal and the dimensions of the smoker.

Add 1/2 cup of wood chips that you have soaked in water if you want to enhance the steak's flavor while smoking. Hickory, mesquite and apple are common choices for smoking meat.

Place the drip pan in the section provided for it inside the smoker and cover it with the meat rack.

Fill the drip pan halfway with water or your smoking liquid. This leaves room for drippings without the pan overflowing onto the charcoals.

Put the steaks on the meat rack and insert an ovenproof thermometer into one of the steaks at the thickest part.

Close the smoker with the top.

Keep the smoker temperature between 220 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit by adding 10 to 15 charcoal briquettes through the firebox door per hour. To maintain the smoke level, add more wood chips at the same time that you add charcoal.

Tip

  • Smoke steak cuts of similar size and thickness for more uniform cooking and completion time.

    The weather, size of your smoker, fire temperature and weight of your steaks determine how long it takes them to finish.

    To avoid excessive browning and flareups, add barbecue or finishing sauces 10 to 15 minutes before the steaks are ready.

Photo Credits

  • Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

About the Author

Carol Luther has more than 25 years of business, technology, and freelance writing experience. She has held leadership roles in higher education management, international development, adult education, vocational education, and small business support programs