A juicy, medium-rare, boneless rib-eye steak is a reason to celebrate at any meal. Smoking the steak adds flavor and doesn't take much more time than straight grilling. Try hickory, peach, apple or mesquite wood for different smoke scents and flavors. Throw a handful of moist woody herbs on the coals to infuse the steak with the scent of the herbs. The trick to a smoked boneless ribeye steak with a brown crust and tender meat is searing the steak before the cooking process begins.
Season the steak with your choice of salt, pepper, onion or garlic salt, oregano, sage, rosemary or basil. If you use fresh herbs, combine them with a little lemon juice, wine or beer to make more of a paste than a wet marinade. Pat the rub onto both sides of the steak. Let the steak absorb the rub for 2 or 3 hours, or as long as overnight in your refrigerator. Rib-eye steak is already tender, so the rub's job is to flavor the meat, not to tenderize.
Light the charcoal and soak the chunks of wood in water. Throw a few twigs of herbs such as rosemary, oregano or thyme into the water with the wood.
Place the steak over the coals when they're covered with fine white ash. Sear both sides for 2 or 3 minutes -- no longer, or the inside of the steak starts to cook. Remove the steak and place on a fresh plate. Insert an instant-read digital thermometer into the steak. Since it's boneless you don't have to worry about the thermometer staying away from the bone to get an accurate reading.
Take the grill grate off carefully and push the coals into two piles about 3 to 4 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long. The piles should be about 8 inches apart. Put the wood chunks on both sides of the piles, close enough so the wood starts smoking but not so close that the wood catches fire.
Replace the grill grate and put the steak in the center of the two coal piles. Smoke for 1O to 20 minutes or until the thermometer reaches the degree of doneness you prefer. Throw the herbs directly on the coals during the last 5 minutes of smoking. FoodSafety.gov recommends beef reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but some chefs think that borders on well done and let the steak reach 120 F for medium rare. The steak will continue cooking for a few minutes after you take it off the grill from internal heat.
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- Keep the grill covered while smoking. Every time you open the lid smoke escapes and so does heat.
- Use a chimney or electric coal starter rather than lighting fluid, which contains chemicals.
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