At Steak University, we like to think there’s no bad way to cook a steak (unless it’s any more than medium-rare, but that’s another article). Braised, pan fried, grilled, oven roasted or finished, each method lends a distinct set of flavor and texture characteristics to your high quality cuts of beef. There’s one method, though, that tends to be a bit mysterious for the home chef; the smoked steak.
While online or cable television cooking shows may have you convinced smoking your meat is something best left to the pros, we’re here to debunk that myth. Smoking your Chicago Steak Company steaks can add a punch of flavor and is easier to accomplish at home than you may think. If you’re ready to impress at your next gathering of meat lovers, read on. From how to smoke a steak to the best smoked steak recipes, we have everything you need to know to get your smoked-meat game on.
Just What Makes a Smoked Steak
While smoking steaks may seem like a new age phenomena, perfected by those TV food stars with loads of BBQ awards and impeccably trimmed beards, it turns out smoking meat is a technique that dates back to ancient times. While in the modern era of refrigerators, smoking steak tends to be less of an exercise in necessity the process is still used to impart a host of BIG flavors and nuanced changes in texture to your already delectable cuts of beef.
The technique of smoking refers to the process of burning a variety of woods in an enclosed space over low heat where the meat can cook slowly and take on flavors from the charcoal, fruit or other hard woods. Smoked steak recipes usually begin with a dedicated meat smoker, a piece of equipment you can buy online or at your local BBQ specialty store. BBQ grills can also be adapted to smoke meat using items found in your local home improvement store. While both of these methods will result in authentic, delicious and flavorful meat, when it comes to how to smoke a steak at home from the comfort of your kitchen we have a few handy shortcuts up our sleeves.
How to Smoke a Steak at Home
Before we get into the details for how to smoke a steak at home, a quick disclaimer. We know that our indoor prep isn’t quite the same as traditional smoked steaks, but it sure is easy and accessible for most home cooks that know their way around a kitchen. Sure, you will probably still need to finish your meat via a traditional skillet, pan or indoor grill (we’ve got advice for that too) but our alternative smoking method will still give you that great smokey flavor, without a lot of extra equipment or fuss. Now, onto the process:
First you are going to need a few supplies, most of which can already be found in your kitchen:
- Fruit or other hard wood appropriate for smoking*
- Deep, high temperature stable pan, such as a quality cast iron or stock pot
- Metal rack that fits inside your pan of choice (we love steamer baskets for this)
- Lots of foil
Line the bottom and sides of your pan of choice with plenty of foil, all the way to the top. Next, arrange your wood chips on the bottom of the pot or pan. At this point you can use a long fireplace match to pre-char or light a few of the wood chips, but if you’re leery of indoor flame or don’t have a fire extinguisher handy you’re fine with skipping this step. Another layer of foil should go loosely on top of the wood, allowing smoke and heat through but not fire.
Next, place the steamer basket or rack on top of the foil, then drop in your meat, carefully with tongs if you’ve opted to pre-heat. Place a heavy duty lid on top of the pot, or seal well with foil. The trick is to prevent as much of that smoke from escaping as possible, forcing it to surround the meat.
Place the entire pan on the stove and turn the heat on to medium. Monitor the heat closely and adjust your burner flame as needed to ensure you’re creating smoke and not starting any fires. After 30-45 minutes, remove from heat and allow smoke to escape (preferably through a nearby window). Carefully remove your steaks and finish in a pan or oven per your favorite cooking method until desired temperature/level of doneness has been attained. While not quite the same intensity as a steak slow smoked for hours, you’ll have managed to infuse a good deal of the smokey wood flavor of choice. All that’s left is the eating!
*Can be purchased online or at local specialty BBQ stores