Nothing is better than a perfectly cooked ribeye! This cut of meat has the most perfect balance of flavor and texture, making it the king of all steaks. Figuring out how to combine two loves, smoking meat and eating steak, has been an obsession of ours for a while. Turns out our Smoked Ribeye Steak recipe is the perfect marriage.
🍽️ Why This Works
Smoky Goodness. If you’ve been grilling steaks for a while and you’ve been longing for that smoky flavor you get from hours in smoke, you will want to try our recipe for smoked ribeye. It’s precisely what you want.
Fast to Smoke. While it is slower than the grill or skillet, the ribeye is really fast for smoked meat, finishing in 25-30 minutes. And it doesn’t need a babysitter. Put it in the smoker and leave it alone.
Perfect finish. Cooking the meat low and slow gives all that beautiful marbling time to break down and infuse the meat with juicy flavor and tenderness. All of your favorite things about ribeye are amplified by the smoking process.
🥩What Is Ribeye?
Ribeye steaks are small cuts taken from the longissimus dorsal muscle located near the spine of the cow, in the rib primal cut. It comes from the same part of the cow as prime rib, but the latter always includes a bone and is cooked like a roast.
Ribeye delivers intense flavor and a wonderful texture when cooked correctly.
You can find it boneless or bone-in and both versions will taste amazing. Of course, boneless rib eye will cook faster, so take that into account when you make a choice.
Here are some comparison guides that highlight the differences between ribeye and other common beef cuts:
- Filet Mignon vs. Ribeye
- New York Strib vs Ribeye
- Porterhouse vs. Ribeye
- Ribeye vs. Sirloin
- Prime Rib vs Ribeye
📝 Ingredient Notes
Ribeye Steak – If you can afford it, get the prime ribeye. It’s the best for flavor, marbling, and all things yummy. Use boneless or bone-in ribeye, either will work. At the very least, you need to get a Choice ribeye. For more information, check out the different grades of beef.
Steak Seasoning. We chose this classic McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning you can find in any grocery store.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
- Smoker. We enjoy using the Big Green Egg, but any smoker will work.
- BBQ Tongs. To flip your steaks.
- Meat Thermometer. An Instant Read Thermometer makes testing meat fast and easy so that you get the perfect finish.
- Smoking Wood. We used cherry wood this time which is sweet and mild. You can definitely try other types of wood. Feel free to consult our free printable Smoking Wood Chart for a larger array of options.
Step One: Season your steak with your favorite seasoning blend.
Step Two: Set your meat out on the counter to get it to room temperature. While it is relaxing on the counter out of reach of animals, get your smoker heated up and ready.
Step Three: Put the steaks on the smoker grates and allow them to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 110°F.
Step Four: If you want a reverse sear, now is the time to move it to a hot cast iron pan or grill set on high heat for the finish. If, instead, you just want to let it finish in the smoker, that works too.
Step Five: Cook your steaks until they reach the internal temp coinciding with your finish of choice.
Here is a rough guide to doneness:
- Medium rare: 130°F
- Medium: 135-145°F
- Medium well: 145°F to 155°F
- Well done: over 155°F
Step Six: Let your steaks rest while you bring everything else to the table and call your people to come and eat. Do not skip this step as it will allow the juices inside the steak to redistribute.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Steak responds well to various types of smoking wood. We used cherry this time, but have used apple, almond, oak, or cherry in the past. Pick your favorite or use what you have on hand. Pecan, hickory, and mesquite are also options but carry a stronger flavor.
If you have some time on your hands, dry brine the meat. Simply apply the seasoning and allow the steaks to rest in the fridge for 2-4 hours before smoking.
Don’t forget that your meat will continue to rise in temperature as much as 5-10º after it is removed from the heat. The hotter your meat when it comes off the grill, the more it will continue cooking off the heat. Remove your steak early to avoid overcooking it.
When you pull the steak off the smoker or skillet to rest, be sure to cover it with foil while you finish up getting the rest of your meal to the table.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Leftover ribeye can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three to five days. If you don’t think you will use it up in that time frame, move it to the freezer, where it will keep for up to six months.
You can reheat ribeye quickly in a hot skillet on the stovetop. When it is cooked to medium rare or medium to begin with, it will still taste great reheated and work perfectly for different applications.
You can use leftover steak for steak and eggs at breakfast, just dice it up and heat it in the skillet with butter as you scramble your eggs. It works great when sliced and seasoned for fajitas, added to quesadillas, or layered on sandwiches with provolone, pickled onions, and homemade aioli. It can also be added to a soup, pasta, salad, or a baked potato.
If you take leftover steak for lunch at work, I recommend cutting it up into bite-size chunks before placing it in your lunch box. Then, you can microwave it for a short amount of time without risking it getting chewy. You do not want to microwave it for too long.
🌶️Additions and Substitutions
While I don’t think I will ever get tired of eating ribeye, you can vary this recipe simply by changing up the seasoning blend you use. The BBQ rub you use, doesn’t have to be store-bought either. Our all-purpose dry rub for grilling, this homemade dry rub for ribs, and this brisket dry rub recipe all work flawlessly for smoked ribeye steak too!
Or feel free to mix and match classic dry rub ingredients such as salt, black pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground mustard, and fresh herbs to create your own dry rub recipe.
Other flavoring options include adding sauteed onions or finishing it with a pat of butter (plain or flavored with fresh herbs).
It’s also a good idea to make a beautiful sauce such as this homemade chimichurri to serve on the side. It’s a flavored mixture of Italian parsley, fresh oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and sea salt that will come together in minutes!
Sometimes, we just add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Other times, we go all out with fancy seasoning or we make Bourbon Barrel Smoked Cranberry Sauce to drizzle.
Ribeye goes well with so many BBQ sides!
Serve it up with a classic steak side like smashed potatoes, grilled corn on the cob in the husk, smoked potato salad, grilled baked beans, smoked mac and cheese, or a simple fruit salad. Add a crusty French bread or soft biscuit with butter.
It’s also very convenient to smoke a side dish while your ribeye steaks are in the smoker. Smoked sweet potatoes, smoked baked potatoes, smoked asparagus bundles, and smoked cauliflower pair nicely with steak and will smoke at the same time.
Serve your steaks with some BBQ sauce and I guarantee it will be a welcome addition. Try our honey sriracha BBQ sauce, whiskey BBQ sauce, or smoked pumpkin Bourbon BBQ sauce if you’re looking for some simple homemade options.
🍳Other Ways To Cook A Ribeye Steak
Don’t have a grill or a smoker? That’s OK! There are other ways to cook a ribeye steak and as long as you pay attention to the internal temperature of the meat it will have the perfect texture.
As long as you have a stove and a cast iron skillet or another heavy-based frying pan, you’re good to go.
- Season the steak and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature.
- Add a few tablespoons of cooking oil to the skillet and preheat it on high heat.
- When it’s sizzling hot, add your steaks.
- Flip the steaks every 30 seconds to 1 minute so they get a nice sear.
- Remove once the internal temperature of the meat reaches your preferred degree of doneness. It will take about 4 minutes for rare, 5-6 minutes for medium, and 8-10 minutes for well-done but my personal recommendation is to use a digital meat thermometer for the most accurate results.
Stovetop To Oven
Your steak will turn out great if you sear it first. This is super easy and has never failed me.
- Season the steak and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Preheat your cast iron skillet or another type of oven-proof pan on the stove, using high heat.
- Sear the ribeye steaks on the stovetop for 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and cook until the steaks reach your desired doneness.
- Allow the steaks to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Oven To Stovetop
You also have the option of cooking the steak in the oven and finishing it on the stovetop.
- Prep the steak the same way you would for cooking on the stove, grill, or smoker.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Let the steak roast in the oven until its internal temp is 10 degrees below your target temperature.
- Finish it off in a hot pan, on high heat, until it gets a nice crust on both sides. This method is known as a reverse sear.
- Let the meat rest for 10 minutes and enjoy!
♨️More Ribeye Recipes
We are huge fans of this rich-tasting steak and there are so many wonderful ways to cook it!
The grill will help you enjoy your juicy steak faster and it’s perfect when you’re in a rush to put food on the table. Try our herb butter grilled rib eye steak, reverse seared grilled ribeye, and grilled ribeye cap steaks to add variety to your BBQ cookouts.
❓ Recipe FAQ
No. This gorgeous meat is already so full of flavor you do not need to add extra, and if it were to do anything at all it would detract from the flavor instead of adding to it.
The answer to this can vary. A grade of Prime will have the perfect ratio of marbling to meat. Choice is very good as well, but anything less than this will be difficult to cook perfectly. In addition, cooking the steak for too short a time will not allow the fat to break down. Cooking it for too long a time will cause the steak to dry out.
Smoked ribeye steak is amazing, but you do have several other options that will produce a great steak. We also love this reverse sear method.
Finishing the steak off on a hot cast iron skillet or grill great will give it a beautiful, color, crust, and flavor.
Smoke it low and slow until it is just at the temperature for medium-rare or medium doneness. This allows enough time to render all the fat without overcooking the meat and drying it out.
The total cooking time for smoked ribeye steak depends on a lot of factors, including your equipment, and the steak thickness. As a rough guideline, it can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes, or even more if you’re smoking a bone-in ribeye.
The best approach is to smoke based on internal temperature not time. Pull off the steak from the smoker when it’s 5-10 degrees F under the target temperature or 15-20°F, if you also have to sear it. During the 5-10 minute resting time, the carryover cooking will increase the internal temperature by another 5-10°F.
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Smoked Ribeye Steak
- 2 Ribeye Steaks
- 2 tbsp Montreal Seasoning
- Heat the smoker up to 225°F to 250°F using your choice of smoking wood. We used cherry this time.
- While the smoker is heating up, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Sprinkle both sides with Montreal Seasoning (or other seasoning of your choice).
- Put the steaks on the grill and allow to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 110°F if choosing to reverse sear (see next step). Remove the steaks from the smoker. If you want to finish off the steaks by simply smoking, that is a great and easy choice as well. Cook until the internal temperature reaches medium rare: 130°F medium: 135-145°F medium well: 145°F to 155°F. well done: over 155°F.
- OPTIONAL: Reverse sear the steaks by heating up the grill to medium high heat or on the stove top in a hot cast iron skillet. Place each steak on the grill grate or the hot cast iron skillet and sear each side for 2-3 minutes