How Long Should I Smoke a Steak?

By Elle Hanson

Although very few individuals attempt it, smoking meat is a easy, inexpensive way to make mouthwatering barbecue. The smoking process involves cooking the meat at a low temperature over a long period of time with a thin mist of smoke present to enhance its flavor. Although very few types of steaks are commonly smoked, they can be delicious if prepared correctly.

Smoked steak can be very tender and flavorful.

Smoking Temperature

In regards to the quality of the finished product, the duration of smoking is much less important than the temperature. Steak is best smoked at a temperature between 225 degrees and 250 degrees.


The size of your steak determines how long it must cook. If you are cooking a tri-tip steak, it will probably be 2 to 3 pounds. T-bone and sirloin steak cuts are usually 1 to 2 pounds. Determine the size of your cut before proceeding.

Cooking Time

As a general rule, there should be an hour of smoking for every 1.5 pounds of steak. However, since smoking takes place at a very low heat, leaving the meat in a little longer will not dry it out. Rather, it will make it more tender. Thus, a tri-tip steak should cook for two to three hours. A t-bone or sirloin steak should be smoked for one to two hours. If you have more than one cut of meat in the smoker, the cooking time will be extended.

Finished Temperature

Never assume that your meat is finished simply because you followed the guidelines for temperature and time. Always check meat with a thermometer to determine its doneness. A rare steak is cooked to 125 degrees, while a well done steak is cooked to just over 155 degrees. Let the steak smoke until it reaches the desired degree of doneness but do not remove it until it is at least 125 degrees.