Beef Recipes

Smoked T-Bone Steak Recipe (Includes Pro Tips)

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Matt Hollingshead | Mar 9, 2023
smoked t-bone steak recipe

If you’re looking for a flavorful and easy way to cook a T-bone steak, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to prepare, season, and smoke a T-bone steak to perfection using a simple rub and a few tricks.

What Is a T-Bone Steak?

A T-bone steak is a cut of beef with a T-shaped bone in the middle, separating two different muscles: the tenderloin and the strip.

The tenderloin is the smaller and more tender part, while the strip is the larger and more flavorful part. A good T-bone steak should have both parts well-balanced and evenly sized.

How to Find the Best T-Bone Steak

The meat quality is one of the main aspects affecting taste. So here are some tips on what to look for when buying t-bone steak.

  1. Check the grade: The USDA grades beef as Prime, Choice, Select, or Standard based on factors like marbling and age. Prime and Choice t-bone steaks have the best taste due to their high marbling content.
  2. Look at the thickness: The thickness of a steak affects its cooking time and juiciness. Thin steaks cook quickly but may become dry, while thick steaks retain more moisture and take longer to cook. Choose a thickness of at least 1 to 1 ½ inches.
  3. Inspect the overall appearance: Check steak for bright red color, even fat distribution, clean and smooth bone, and fresh smell. No cracks, chips, or unpleasant odors.

What You Need

Here is what you need to smoke a T-bone steak.



How to Smoke T-Bone Steak

Have your equipment and ingredients ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Preheat Your Smoker to 225°F

Before preparing the steak, you should preheat your smoker to 225°F. While waiting for the smoker to reach the desired temperature, you can simultaneously prepare everything else.

It typically takes around 20 minutes for the smoker to preheat.

2. Add Your Choice of Steak Seasoning

You can use your favorite store-bought steak seasoning (like Montreal steak seasoning) or make your own.

The easiest way to make seasoning at home is to mix salt, pepper, and garlic powder (optional). Then, spread olive oil on both sides of the steak, add the seasoning, and you’re ready.

3. Cook the Steak to an Internal Temperature of 115°F

Now your steak is ready to place into the smoker. Cook it to an internal temperature of 115°F, which takes about 35 to 40 minutes.

Heads Up! You don’t want to cook until the doneness temperature because you still need to sear the steak after to give it the perfect exterior.

When smoking steaks, don’t flip them over. Indirect heat allows even cooking, producing a consistent and tender final product. Leave the steaks untouched for a perfect bark and deep smoky flavor.

Remember to use a meat thermometer to accurately determine the steaks’ internal temperature.

4. Prepare the Garlic Butter

Roast the garlic cloves and crush them. Soften the butter and stir in the garlic. Put the butter in the fridge to firm up until your steaks are finished cooking.

5. Reverse Sear the Steaks

You can either do this on a cast-iron pan or directly on the smoker rack after increasing the temperature of the smoker to 450°F to 500°F.

This will quickly raise the steak’s internal temperature, allowing it to finish cooking, while creating a traditional sear. Only sear the steaks for 60–75 seconds on each side.

Here’s a table so you can determine your level of steak doneness in case you don’t already know.

Doneness LevelInternal TemperatureAppearance
Rare120°FSeared on the outside, cool red center. Dark red color throughout with a cool, almost raw center.
Medium Rare130°FSeared on the outside, warm red center. Red center with a hint of pink, slightly warmer than rare.
Medium140°FPink center with a slightly warm hue. Pink color throughout with a hot, rosy center.
Medium Well150°FSlightly pink center, mostly gray-brown. Light pink center with a predominantly gray-brown color.

I don’t recommend cooking until well done, so I didn’t include it in the table above. If you cook a steak to that extreme, there’s no purpose in smoking it.

6. Let the Steak Rest for 10 Minutes

Lastly, top with the garlic butter so it melts and forms a delicious coating. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing so the juices can settle.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some other pointers to ensure you get the most out of your smoked T-bone steaks. 

  1. Experiment with different seasonings: You can use a simple salt and pepper rub or add garlic, onion, paprika, or other spices for more flavor. Additionally, try marinating your steak overnight in a ziplock bag with oil, vinegar, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Try different wood chips: Experiment with different types of wood chips to enhance the flavor. Various kinds of wood, such as hickory, mesquite, cherry, or oak, offer distinct flavors that complement steak well.
  3. Use a skillet for reheating: When you reheat your smoked T-bone steak, try to do so in a skillet or directly on the smoker rack (if the temperature can reach 450°F). Other cooking methods are more likely to lead to you overcooking it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions people have about smoking T-bone steak.

How Long Do You Smoke a T-bone Steak?

For a medium-rare T-bone steak, you should smoke it for about 35 to 40 minutes, then sear it for about a minute on each side.

What Temperature Do You Smoke a T-bone Steak?

You should smoke a T-bone steak at 225°F.

Does T-bone Steak Need Seasoning?

T-bone steak doesn’t require seasoning, but adding some (for example, Montreal steak seasoning) can improve the taste.

Why Is My T-bone Steak Tough?

Several factors contribute to the toughness of a T-bone steak, such as its cut, fat content, preparation and cooking methods, meat freshness and quality, and even the slicing technique. Cutting against the grain enhances tenderness compared to cutting with the grain.

Final Thoughts

The smoked T-bone steak recipe is a mouthwatering satisfaction that elevates the classic steak experience to new heights.

By combining the rich flavor of the T-bone cut with the enticing smokiness from the grill, this recipe delivers an incredible experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or an amateur looking to impress your guests, this recipe offers a simple yet remarkable way to achieve tender and perfect steak every time.

Matt Hollingshead is the founder of Grill Mentor, a site with everything you need to know about grilling and barbecuing, from tips and techniques to recipes and more.
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