When thinking about T-bone steaks, your smoker may not be the first cooking method that comes to mind. But with this easy-to-follow smoking guide, you’ll never prepare it any other way. It’s that good!
Smoked T-bone steak finished with a quick reverse sear is a simple but powerful technique when it comes to leveling up your steak game.
Jump to Section
How to Smoke a T-Bone Steak (Step by Step)
Smoking steak is just as easy as grilling steak but is more interesting and impressive when your boss asks you what you’ve been up to lately.
With a little love and a good plan, you can have a five-star quality smoked T-bone at home that would rival any fine dining restaurant. This is the technique that you can steak your reputation on.
Prep And Fire Up Your Smoker
Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for thirty to forty-five minutes. I’m jealous of them already.
While your steaks are lazing around, gather up your seasonings and wood chips. If you plan to season your steaks with a rub, keep the flavor profiles of both the spices and your wood chips in mind. Play around with the combinations of flavors, each mix will bring a different element to the steak.
Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
Season The Steaks
Your steaks have been resting on the counter for a few minutes, acclimating to their new home. Now it’s time to unwrap them like the gifts they truly are.
Gently and thoroughly pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. Then season each steak, measuring seasonings with your heart. There’s no perfect amount of seasoning, just be sure the steak is covered on all sides.
Be strategic when choosing your wood chips. For a more mild flavor that highlights the natural t-bone flavor choose cherry, pecan, or maple wood. Feeling more bold and smokey? Go with mesquite, hickory, or oak wood. For maximum flavor (my personal favorite) pair a rub with a coordinating wood.
I used Kinders Hickory Molasses Blend paired with Mesquite wood chips.
Because we are using the smoke as a distinctive flavor you can keep it simple with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt (fancy meat means fancy salt and pepper 😉) to let the smoke flavor shine and play with different types of wood for unique flavors.
Related >> My Snake River Farms Meat Deliver Review
Smoke The Steaks
Double-check your smoker temperature is holding steady at 225°F, then place your steaks on the grates, place your thermometer probes, close the lid, and smoke the meat until the steaks reach about 10 degrees below your preferred doneness / internal temperature. Resist the urge to peek at your steaks unless absolutely necessary.
The next step of searing can continue to cook the meat. Knowing this, we will want to slightly undercook at the smoking step to end up at a final desired temperature from smoking plus searing.
A quick t-bone steak temperature reference:
- 120 degrees for rare
- 130 degrees for medium rare
- 140 degrees for medium
- 150 degrees for medium well
- 160 degrees for well done
- 165+ degrees for danger you’ve gone way too far!
Reverse Sear The Steaks
You can rest and serve your tbone steaks right out of the smoker. But you’ll notice that simply smoked tbone steaks lack that sexy charred look you visualize when you think of a truly amazing steak. Reverse searing will make your tbones look as good as they taste.
Reverse searing simply means that the meat is first cooked at a low temperature until it’s evenly cooked throughout; then seared quickly over high heat to create the crusted exterior. Reverse searing creates juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside steak.
To reverse sear the tbones, preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. It’s important to allow the cast iron to heat up fully so that you sear – rather than continue to cook – the steaks. Once it’s ready, lightly coat the bottom of the skillet with either butter or a high-heat oil – like avocado oil.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, first we need to have a talk because you are seriously missing out. Secondly you can sear steaks directly on your grill, just give them a quick rotation to get the crossed grill marks.
This next step moves quickly! Sear the steaks for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, then remove them from the heat. You may want to sear them for slightly longer, depending on your crispy-ness preferences. Keep in mind that we want to limit skillet time to avoid overcooking the steaks at this step.
Let The Steaks Rest
Muster up all your self-control and do not cut into those perfectly seared tbone steaks yet. Just like me, the steaks need a bit of rest to be their best. Pull your steaks from the cast iron and allow them to rest for a solid ten minutes. Tent aluminum foil over the top to preserve the moisture because literally no one has ever said “man, I loved that super dry steak!”
As the meat is resting, the juices (where the flavor lives) can redistribute throughout the meat to create an evenly flavorful and moist steak. If you don’t rest the meat, much of the moisture and flavor will end up on your cutting board – rather than in your mouth.
Serve and Enjoy The Compliments
The combination of the unique smoke flavor with the reverse seared char takes the smoked T-bone steaks to the ultimate level of flavor. If you’re like me, you’ll be a smoked steak convert.
Smoked T-Bone Steak
- 2 Tbone Steaks 1/2 Inch Thick With Nice Marbling
- Seasoning Blend Of Your Choice Or Simply Salt And Pepper
- Wood Chips Of Your Choice - We Used Mesquite
- Let steaks rest at room temperature for thirty to forty-five minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your smoker to 225°F.
- Gently but thoroughly pat the steaks dry with a paper towel.
- Then season each steak, measuring the amount of spices with your heart. There's no one perfect amount of seasoning but be sure the steak is covered on all sides.
- Place your steaks on the smoker grates, place your thermometer probes, close the lid, and smoke the meat until the steaks reach about 10 degrees below your preferred doneness / internal temperature.
- Preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Once it’s ready, lightly coat the bottom of the skillet with either butter or a high heat-oil (like avocado oil).
- Sear the steaks for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, then remove them from the heat.
- Let the steaks rest, tented aluminum foil, for ten minutes.
- Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Can You Cook T-Bone Steak In A Smoker?
Absolutely! You can smoke just about anything with the right attitude. But seriously smoked T-bone steaks are nothing short of phenomenal.
When most people think about smoking beef cuts, the more fatty or tough cuts that need the magic of low-and-slow cooking (like smoked brisket) come to mind.
While the t-bone is a top-quality cut of beef – magic in its own right, infusing it with the unique depth of flavor you only get in a smoker will elevate your steak experience to a level you’ll wanna call your momma about.
How Do I Choose The Best T-Bone Steak?
A T-bone steak is a premium cut of meat combining two top cuts of meat: the strip loin (AKA New York Strip) and the tenderloin (AKA Filet Mignon) in one cut. Basically, it’s fancy-fancy.
On top of being pinky-up fancy, it’s also a huge cut of meat. Its large size, exceptional flavor, and unbeatable tenderness, makes it super popular for a classic nice dinner.
To get the best tbones, choose a thick cut of meat (1.5-inch minimum) with even marbling. A thicker-cut steak will give you more opportunity to get a solid crusty sear without accidentally overcooking the steak. While even fat distribution (marbling) is what gives the tbone its renowned flavor.
Visit a local butcher or meat market to talk to a pro about the best options for cuts and advice. They love meat just as much as you and I do.
Related >> How You Can Tell if Your Steak Has Gone Bad
How Long Does It Take To Smoke T-Bone Steaks?
There isn’t one solid answer for how long to cook t-bone steaks, because the cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the cut of your steaks, how done you prefer your steaks, and even the weather.
It took about an hour for our steaks to reach medium-rare with a finished temperature of about 135°F.
I recommend using a quality meat thermometer and keeping an eye on the meat temperature throughout the process. Remove the steak from the smoker as soon as the steak hits an internal temperature of 15 degrees F below your desired finished internal temp.
Related >> How To Calibrate A Meat Thermometer
What To Serve With Smoked TBones?
We paired the T-bones with smoked baked potatoes (although we really considered smoked mac and cheese) and grilled onions. The meal was ‘special occasion’ level good, we even broke out the good napkins.
And if you’ve got leftovers, which you probably won’t, this is how you can reheat your steak.
This smoked T-bone recipe is so simple and delicious, you’ll have the impressive smoked dinner of your dreams with much less effort than it seems.
Want to learn more about grilling? Check out our other useful resources!