The Omaha Cut ribeye steak comes from the center of the ribeye, is thicker cut, and tastes incredible!
The Omaha Cut ribeye steak comes from the center of the ribeye, is thicker cut, and tastes incredible!

This post is sponsored by Omaha Steaks and contains affiliate links. The FCC makes me say this for some reason.

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are very high that you’ve had a ribeye steak before. You’ve probably come here because you’re curious of what an Omaha Cut ribeye steak is compared to a regular ribeye. And there’s a chance you’re wanting to learn of different methods on how to cook a ribeye steak (and/or steaks in general). I’ll tackle these topics and get you to the recipe as quick as I can type.

What is an Omaha Cut Ribeye anyway?

A breakdown of the three different parts of the ribeye steak.

Plain and simple, the Omaha Cut comes from the center of the ribeye. Your average ribeye is made up of three parts: the spinalis dorsi (aka- ribeye cap), longissimus dorsi (center area, makes up the majority of the cut), and the complexus. The Omaha Cut ribeye comes from the longissimus dorsi area. The folks at Omaha Steaks, cut it round and thicker, similar in size to a top of the line filet mignon. But it tastes and bites just like a ribeye, which has a unique, extraordinary flavor!

My favorite way to cook a steak

If you’ve read the other steak posts on my blog, such as the one where I cook up tomahawk ribeyes, you’ll notice that I like to reverse sear in a cast iron skillet. The reverse sear method is when you slow cook the steak first, then finish it off with a hot sear.

Season the Omaha Cut ribeyes with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
Season the Omaha Cut ribeyes with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.

Steak Prep

When prepping the Omaha Cut ribeye steaks, keep the seasonings simple: four parts kosher salt, two parts ground black pepper, and one part garlic powder. I go light-to-moderate with the amount I put on the steaks. That’s because I want the natural flavor of the beef to stand out. Get the grill preheated to 225 degrees over indirect heat with either hickory or pecan wood. Once up to temperature, put the seasoned steaks on and cook until about 120 degrees internal temp.

Sear the Omaha Cut ribeye steaks in the cast iron skillet to get an even crust all around.
Sear the Omaha Cut ribeye steaks in the cast iron skillet to get an even crust all around.

Searing time!

Remove the steaks to rest on a cutting board. Get direct heat on a cast iron skillet to searing temps, which start at 500 degrees. Season the cast iron with avocado oil because it has a higher burn rate than most cooking oils. I like to throw a sprig or two of rosemary and a couple of cloves of garlic in there to impart a little aroma and flavor to it. Place the ribeye steaks on the cast iron and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. Since the Omaha Cut is thick, give a few seconds to searing the sides, too.

Rest then slice

Remove the steak and let it rest before slicing. It is wise to rest the steak for about 10 minutes because A) the carry over heat will cook the steak a few degrees internally and B) the meat builds up juices as it starts to cool and will give you more flavor in the meat. Slice up and savor every juicy bite!

The recipe!

Yield: 1 serving

Omaha Cut Ribeye Steak

Omaha Cut ribeye steak sliced and ready to eat!

The Omaha Cut ribeye steak is a unique cut to Omaha Steaks. It comes from the center cut of the ribeye and is done thicker than usual. These steaks have a look of a filet mignon and that recognizable flavor the ribeye provides. Reverse sear, rest, and enjoy!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 4 Omaha Cut ribeye steaks (6 oz each)
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat grill to 225 degrees on indirect heat, using hickory or pecan wood. In a small bowl, mix kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle on all sides of the steaks. Place steaks on grill until internal heat reaches 120 degrees.
  2. On a separate grill (or burner), get cast iron up to searing temps. Put avocado oil in skillet, along with rosemary and garlic cloves. Sear 60-90 seconds on each side. Remove and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


1. Substitute garlic butter for regular butter if you want that extra garlic flavor.

2. If you don't have a grill or smoker, feel free to low cook in oven and then sear on the stove.

Nutrition Information:


4 steaks

Serving Size:

6 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

BBQ Travels: BBQ Summit at Certified Angus Beef ® HQ

Certified Angus Beef  ®  tomahawk ribeyes reverse seared to perfection at the BBQ Summit.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@learningtosmoke), you may have seen my IG story back in late April/early May when I made the trip to Wooster, Ohio for the BBQ Summit at Certified Angus Beef  ®  headquarters. To be honest, initially I was indifferent on going to this event. I’m traveling to Ohio in April? I’m going to tour facilities? Yay.

But then I spoke with my friend Christie Vanover at and she filled me in on some of the details I was missing: 1) we get to go in their lab and get hands-on with butchering a quarter cow, and 2) the lineup of folks coming to this event. I thought it was just a few social media folks, but that was the tip of the iceberg. Big names in barbecue such as Kent and Barrett Black from Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, TX, Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q), Amy Mills (17th Street BBQ), Anthony DiBernardo (Swig & Swine BBQ), Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ), and John Lewis (Lewis Barbecue, previously from La Barbecue in Austin) were gonna be there. So, I GET to travel to Ohio in April? YAY!

Group shot with fellow BBQ social media folks: Malcolm Reed and Rachelle Ross (How to BBQ Right), Mikey May (Man Meat BBQ), and Christie Hanover (Girls Can Grill).

The event was a blast! Not only do I get to hang out among these legendary pit masters and fellow BBQ bloggers such as Christie, Mikey May (, and Malcolm Reed (, but we get to eat some of the tastiest meals served up by some chefs who are passionate about their craft. Tomahawk ribeye? Check. Prime rib? Check. Cowboy fondue (sirloin steaks cooked on pitchforks) with doughnuts for breakfast? Check. Braised beef with bone marrow and Asian-infused split shank on steamed bao buns? Check. They had salad too, but whatever.

Asian-infused split shank on a bao bun at the BBQ Summit.

Another highlight was going to the meat lab and being instructed by meat scientist Diana Clark on how to cut up a quarter cow. We were divided into groups and each of our groups were given a quarter cow (front quarter), some boning knives, and a saw (as well as lab coats and gloves to stay sanitary) and taken to school. Doing this helped me better understand where certain cuts come from, why they get their tenderness (or toughness in some cases), and which cuts I should definitely try out when I get home (such as the chuck eye steak).

Learning about the different cuts on the quarter cow from beef scientist Diana Clark.

I feel I should also note that we went back to the meat lab the next day and learned about some cuts in the hind quarters of the cow. Some I am familiar with (such as the tri-tip), and some I need to try (such as hanger steak and ball tip steak).

Butchering a quarter cow in the meat lab at Certified Angus Beef HQ.

Another thing we did in the meat lab was make beef sausage. I teamed up with the likes of Greg and Kristina Gaardbo from Chicago Culinary Kitchen and Kent and Barrett Black (Black’s Barbecue) to make a “hamburger sausage” using a blend of ground brisket, ribeye, and chuck. We also had cheese, pickles, and onions in there to make it taste like a classic cheeseburger. It. Was. Awesome!

Kent Black (Black’s Barbecue) and Greg Gaardbo (Chicago Culinary Kitchen) grinding up some brisket, ribeye, and chuck, as well as some other ingredients, to make the sausage.

On the last day we headed out to a Certified Angus Beef  ®  farm and got to meet the farming family, see their Angus cows, and hear about how their practices to help the cows grow and live healthy lives. This is also where we were treated to the Cowboy Fondue and doughnuts all cooked in their cauldrons on site. Hot and fresh and oh so delicious!

Visiting a Certified Angus Beef  ®  farm while at the BBQ Summit.

Cowboy fondue with some Certified Angus Beef  ®  sirloins.

I can’t believe I was able to be in attendance to learn so much about the many cuts of beef and rub elbows with some of the best in the world of barbecue. Many thanks to the folks at Certified Angus Beef  ®  for inviting me!

Smoked BBQ Brisket

Up close and personal with a slice of some smoked BBQ brisket.

Ah, brisket. The cut of beef I was so intimidated by when I first started BBQing. Gotta admit, I was working the smoker weekly when I started and it took me months to work up the courage to attempt it. After an experienced friend of mine smoked BBQ brisket with me for the first time, it didn’t seem so scary after all. If you are planning your first attempt at this beast of a cut, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve smoked your share and are researching different methods, I applaud you for staying sharp in the craft.

I’ve cooked many of these smoked BBQ briskets over the last four years and done a variety of methods. I love brisket and it may be my favorite cut of beef to do on the smoker. The process will involve some work, patience, and attention to detail. But don’t be intimidated. It’s fun!


I’m about to dive into the specifics of each step of the brisket cooking process, but if you want to simply read the summary now and skip down to the recipe at the bottom, well you’re in luck because here it is!

I trim off the silver skin on the non fat side, trim some of the fat off of the skinny sides, especially where the point and flat overlap. I trim down to about a 1/2 inch on the fat side, which is a little more left on than others but I Smoke it fat side down because on the grills I use the indirect heat source comes from the bottom. That fat layer on the bottom helps protect the meat from burning. It’s like the fat is sacrificing itself for the meat. I rub with a S&P based rub, something simple for beef. I don’t go too generous, but cover it enough. I spritz a few times during the cook with Dr Pepper, which I think helps with the color more than the flavor. I measure temps where the point and flat overlap, pulling off when it hits 195-199F. I let it rest for 90 minutes to 2 hours before slicing. (NOTE: don’t forget you can make brisket burnt ends too!) If you want to read the breakdown, keep going!


Brisket diagram courtesy of

I have another blog post in which I review this in more detail and you are free to go check it out. For the sake of keeping this post from being a novel, I’ll go over the important points for you to know.

You trim a brisket for multiple reasons: to enhance the smoke penetrating the meat, creating some tasty bark, and removing some thick portions of fat that don’t render. There is one side of the brisket that has a bunch of fat on it, this is called the fat cap. The other side will have some light sections of fat on it, but likely a bunch of silver skin.

If cooking the brisket fat side down (recommended if your indirect heat source comes from the bottom: pellet grills, ceramic grills, drum smokers), then I recommend trimming down to about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I’ve burned the bottom of many a brisket going fat side up because the indirect heat source came from underneath. The heat cooks hotter when its closer to the source. Having the fat on the bottom will act as a protective layer to keep the meat from possibly getting a thin, burnt layer.

If going fat side up, I recommend trimming down to 1/4 inch. The hard fats don’t render, but can add a little flavor to your slices.

Brisket all trimmed up (this view is fat side down).

Here are some bullet points to that I elaborate on in my brisket trimming post:

  • plan about 20-30 minutes for trimming
  • a boning knife is preferred for the trimming due to the skinny point and curve
  • trim fat side down 1/4 inch for cooking fat side up, 1/4 to 1/2 for fat side down
  • trim off the light fat and silver skin on other side of brisket. Silver skin will make for a tougher chew and keep smoke from penetrating meat as well.
  • don’t cut into the fat that separates the point and the flat
  • cut off any little flaps of meat on the brisket. These portions will burn to a crisp due to smoking for many hours
  • best to trim brisket straight out of the fridge. Fat will be harder thus easier to trim


Now that the trimming is out of the way, we can get to the applying the seasonings, or the rub as us BBQers call it. If using a bottle of rub, it is recommended to go with one that is more savory as compared to the sweet rubs which are great for pork. As for me, I like to go simple with brisket: 2 Tbsp kosher salt, 2 Tbsp ground pepper, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder.

While you may go generous on the rub when doing another meat such as pork shoulder, I like to go modest to medium on brisket to let the natural meat flavor stand out. Make sure to apply rub on all sides of the brisket, even the narrow thin ones. The crust will have good flavor and compliment the real star of the show, the beef.

Brisket trimmed, rubbed, and awaiting the smoke treatment.

You can let the beef sit at room temperature for a little while without the risk of contamination (unlike poultry and pork), so feel free to let the meat sit for about 20-30 minutes to let the rub soak in a little before hitting the grill. NOTE: before applying rub and letting meat rest would be a good time to get grill/smoker going.


Get your heat source for your grill/smoker up to 250F using indirect heat. As far as smoking wood goes, I have a few that I like, such as hickory, pecan, and oak. To stick with traditional Texas-style brisket, let’s go with oak (post oak to be more specific).

Place the brisket on the grill either fat side up or fat side down (I prefer fat side down due to the types of grills I own: ceramic, pellet, and drum smoker. I explained this earlier in the trimming section). I like to put a water pan in the main chamber to help keep the meat from drying out (then again, I do live in a dry, desert climate).

I do like to spritz with Dr Pepper two or three times during the cook. To help the Dr Pepper spray better, open the can hours before spritzing. This helps the soda to go flat and spray better. I love the color it helps impart and the subtle flavor it gives the bark.


During the first few hours of the cook, the meat temps will climb quick. Even at the 250F smoking temp, I’ve had briskets go from 50F to 130F internal in three hours. You would think with that type of start that you’re on pace to finish in two more hours. But the brisket will eventually hit a point that it’s internal temperature will stop climbing and level out. This is called “the stall”.

The stall usually happens around 160F. To get a deeper dive in the science of it, the folks over at Amazing Ribs have a great article on it. To summarize, the meat starts sweating and the moisture evaporates and cools the meat. With that said, this is about the time I stop spritzing. The internal meat temp will stay leveled out in this zone for hours.

The smoked BBQ brisket getting wrapped in pink butcher paper to help accelerate the cooking process.

There is a common method to push through this and it’s known as the “Texas crutch”. The Texas crutch is when you wrap the meat in either foil or pink butcher paper to accelerate the temperature the meat is cooking at and giving it no choice but to cook faster.

If going with this method, I prefer the pink (or peach) butcher paper as it allows air flow to go through while still retaining heat. Foil traps the heat and creates moisture inside the cocoon you’ve created and can cause the outside of the meat (aka-the bark) to get soggy and feel like roast beef. If you do go the foil route, I recommend unwrapping during the last hour or so of the cook to help the bark develop.


Smoked BBQ brisket resting and begging to be sliced.

There’s some debate on how to tell when the brisket is done. Some go by time, others by temp, and those who prefer by feel. I don’t like going by time because every cut of brisket is different and cooks different. I recommend temp because it is easier to monitor throughout the process.

On a whole (or packer) brisket, make sure to put the meat probe in the section where the point and the flap overlap. Go halfway in. When the temps reach between 197-201F, pull off the grill and let the smoked BBQ brisket rest. At first, the temp will rise a few degrees while resting but then start to cool off. Let rest about 90 minutes to two hours before slicing. Speaking of…


The flat portion of the smoked BBQ brisket sliced and ready to devour!

Whole briskets have two different sections of meat and the grains go different ways. I like to slice down the middle to separate where the point and the flat are, against the grain. Slicing against the grain makes for a more tender bite. Find the directions the grains go and slice the opposite way for the best meat experience.

Some say a good measure of a great brisket is the smoke ring and the color of the bark. While these features are aesthetically pleasing and quite photogenic, they don’t necessarily mean the brisket automatically tastes good. I’ve overcooked briskets that passed the eye test more than once. Also, I’ve had briskets with very little smoke ring and not as dark of bark but still tasted pretty good. Bottom line is, go off of flavor. If it tastes good to you, then you did it right!

As a reminder, you can use the point portion of the brisket to cube up and turn into mouthwatering burnt ends! Enjoy!


Smoked BBQ Brisket

Smoked BBQ Brisket

Brisket is the king of all barbecued meats. It can be intimidating to cook due to the time and cost, but this recipe will guide you and make you look like a natural to your friends and family!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 14 hours


  • 1 whole (or packer) brisket (11-14 lbs.)
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 oz. Dr Pepper (for spritzing)


  1. Preheat grill/smoker to 250F using indirect heat and oak wood
  2. Remove brisket from packaging. Trim fat side of brisket down to 1/4 inch (boning knife preferred). Flip brisket over and trim off silver skin. Also trim off any random flaps of meat as they will burn during cooking.
  3. Mix kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder together and apply on brisket. Apply more on the exposed meat and less on the fat.
  4. Place brisket on grill fat side down. Spritz with Dr Pepper a few times during cook. Wrap in pink butcher paper when meat reaches internal temp in the 160s to accelerate cooking process. Let cook for 12 hours or until internal meat temps reach between 197-201F.
  5. Remove brisket from grill, unwrap and let rest for 90 minutes before slicing. When slicing, pencil thin is the ideal width.


  1. It's best to trim the brisket straight out of the refrigerator while it's cold due to the fat being more solid and easier to cut off.
  2. After seasoning brisket, one option is to let the brisket rest for about 30 minutes before putting on grill. Some do this to let the meat sweat a little and let the seasonings blend in.
  3. If you don't have oak wood, other woods such as hickory or mesquite will work too (I like pecan with beef, as well)
  4. Measure internal meat temps by placing digital thermometer into the spot where the point and flap overlap. Push thermometer halfway in.
  5. If cutting sugar from your diet, spritz with beef stock or beef broth instead of Dr Pepper

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

4 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g

Homemade Brisket Pastrami

Homemade brisket pastrami is worth the time!

This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Are you interested in making homemade brisket pastrami? Or looking for a new recipe? I’m guessing its either one, otherwise you might be here because you are either a super loyal fan (hi mom!) or a bot. Anyway, making this recipe for homemade brisket pastrami was a fun process from start to finish, from making the brine to that glorious moment when you slice into the finished product five days later.

What’s the difference between pastrami and corned beef?

Pastrami and corned beef look similar, usually come from the same cut of beef (brisket), and go through a brining process. But the main difference is how they are cooked. While corned beef is usually boiled then simmered until done, pastrami is smoked (and, as in this recipe, wrapped near the end and cooked on a higher heat).

Trimming the brisket

Picked up my Certified Angus Beef brisket flat at my local grocery store.

Most recipes call for a five pound brisket flat. I tend to find them to be bigger at my local butcher who sells Certified Angus Beef. The one I used for this recipe (and in these pictures) was close to nine pounds! That just meant more homemade brisket pastrami for me!

Brisket all trimmed up.

Not a ton of trimming to do on this one, just trimming off the silver skin on one side (which can take a little while) and leaving the fat side mostly the same, which mine came trimmed down to 1/4 inch mostly (if you want details on how to trim a brisket, check out this blog post).

Preparing the brine

The process of curing the meat starts with making an awesome brine. A simple brine consists of kosher salt and sugar mixed in water, but brining for homemade brisket pastrami requires more ingredients to help with the curing process. For this brine, I use kosher salt, sugar, brown sugar, honey, Prague powder #1, ground black pepper, garlic, and pickling spice. Speaking of pickling spice…

Brining ingredients.

If you have researched other homemade brisket pastrami recipes, you will see a lot of them have coriander seed, mustard seed, allspice, peppercorn, chili peppers, and bay leaves. Pickling spice combines all of these ingredients, saving you from the need to buy all of these spices separately. If you can’t find this at your local grocer, you can always head to Amazon like I did.

Combine all of these ingredients with two quarts of water in a large pot and heat to a boil. Keep it this way until the salt and sugars have dissolved, which should take about five minutes. Once those two ingredients have been dissolved, add two quarts of ice water to the pot to cool it down. We do this so the meat doesn’t cook while brining, thus ruining the whole dang thing. Experts say the water should be about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a good idea to aim for a temp in that range.

Adding the pickling spice to the brine.

Pour the brine into your bucket or whatever container is large enough to submerge your brisket in a gallon of brine. While I do have a standard, five gallon bucket I use for brining poultry, I went to the store and bought a flat, rectangular storage bin that was big enough to hold a brisket flat and it worked great. Keep the brisket in the brine for five days, flipping over each day.

Brine time!

Time to smoke this stuff!

Now that you have exercised patience over the last five days, the time has come to exercise more patience and smoke this brisket pastrami! Preheat your grill/smoker to 275F using indirect heat. I used oak wood for this one because I like the flavor of that smoke with the brisket.

Brisket getting that oak smoke.

While the grill is heating up, make sure to rinse off the brisket thoroughly when you pull it out of the brine. When that’s done, pat dry with paper towels. Now smother some spicy brown mustard and apply a simple beef rub, even one that is a little heavy on the pepper. Once that is done, put on the smoker and let it ride for five hours or until the meat reaches an internal temp around 160F. I like to use the Thermoworks Smoke (as well as the Signals) to monitor temps while I am away.

When you’ve reached that point (five hours of smoke or internal temp of around 160F), get a large cutting board and lay out a couple of sheets of aluminum foil that are large enough to wrap the brisket. Take the cutting board with the foil sheets laid out to the grill, remove the brisket from the grill and place on the foil. Wrap tightly, crank up the heat to 325F, and place the wrapped brisket back on the grill.

Wrap in foil and crank up the heat!

Let cook until the internal temp reaches around 195F, then remove the brisket pastrami from the grill, place on your cutting board and open up the foil halfway, then let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Finally! Time to eat!

It is important to let meat rest after cooking so the juices can build up inside and enhance the flavor. To get the best bite, slice your homemade brisket pastrami against the grain, which will likely be at a diagonal angle as seen in the picture at the top of this post.

Here’s another shot of that sliced homemade brisket pastrami.

You can either eat the slices as they are or make some epic homemade brisket pastrami reuben sandwiches by taking said slices and putting them on a sandwich with thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese all in between a couple of slices of toasted rye bread. So. Dang. Good!

Homemade brisket pastrami also makes some killer reuben sandwiches!

The recipe!

Homemade Brisket Pastrami

Homemade Brisket Pastrami

Making pastrami at home is so much better than store-bought! While it takes five days to brine, and another seven hours to cook, it's actually a fun process from start to finish. You'll be so glad you did!

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 35 minutes


  • 1 brisket flat (size varies)
  • 1 gallon water (2 quarts for cooking, 2 quarts ice water)
  • 1 1/2 Cup kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Prague powder #1
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup pickling spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 Cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 Cup salt & pepper rub


  1. In a large pot, combine two quarts of water, kosher salt, honey, garlic, Prague powder #1, sugar, brown sugar, pickling spice, and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until salt and sugar granules have dissolved. Remove from heat and add two quarts of ice water.
  2. Pour cooled down brine into container, put in trimmed brisket, put on lid. Place in fridge for five days.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat grill/smoker to 275F. Take brisket out of brine, rinse and pat dry. Apply spicy brown mustard followed by salt and pepper rub.
  4. Place brisket on grill/smoker and cook for five hours or until internal temp reaches around 160F. Double wrap brisket in foil, place back on grill and turn up temp to 325F. Cook until internal temp reaches the 190-195F range.
  5. Remove brisket pastrami from grill, unwrap and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly and enjoy!


  1. I used oak wood for the smoke flavor with this, but feel free to use whichever smoking wood you prefer for beef.
  2. Spritz with apple juice on occasion during the first five hours of the cook.
  3. Make brisket pastrami reuben sandwiches!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

3 ounces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 900mgCarbohydrates: 0.4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 18g

Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp

Smoked New York Strip streak with smoked buttery shrimp is a recipe for Valentine’s success!

Note: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

When Valentine’s Day comes up, Mrs. Learning to Smoke and I like to stay home for dinner and avoid the crowds. You best believe I work the grill for these occasions! I tend to do some sort of surf n’ turf and it is a hit every year. With that “special occasion” feeling in mind, I share with you this dinner idea for two that is certain to be a winner for you and special someone (or if you are alone on Valentine’s and are very hungry for two full plates. I don’t judge). For this post I have teamed up with Certified Angus Beef to make this reverse seared New York Strip steak and smoked buttery shrimp (which is a recipe that is also on my website).

What is reverse searing?

Reverse searing is slow cooking the meat first and then searing to finish it off.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@learningtosmoke), you will see that I frequently preach the gospel of reverse searing steaks. With a traditional sear, you crank up the high heat on the grill/skillet and cook both sides of the steak on the outside, then throw it in the oven to let it finish cooking on the inside. When you reverse sear, you slow cook the steak first and THEN sear to finish. Since this is a barbecue page, you best believe I love to smoke the steak using indirect heat on the grill. Doing this lets me infuse that wood smoke flavor into the steak before searing to lock in those juices and create that tasty, savory crust on the outside.

If the traditional sear is how you have always done it and don’t want to change, that’s fine. But if you’re willing to try new things and enhance the flavor of your steak, then give reverse sear a try!

Choosing the right New York strip steak

Seasoned New York Strip steaks. They have some decent marbling, too.

The New York strip steak comes from the short loin of the cow and is a tender, leaner cut. When looking for a flavorful New York strip steak (or any steak for that matter), make sure to pick the one (or two in this case) that have the most fat interwoven into the meat. Unlike the hard fats on the outside of the steak, these intramuscular fats render into the meat and add some juicy flavor. Also, the thicker the steak the better. Don’t settle for anything less than one inch because that’s just an appetizer.

Reverse sear the New York strip steak

Now that we’ve covered what it means to reverse sear (for more info on the subject check out my Reverse Searing 101 post) and you have your New York strip steak picked out, let’s get started!

Before prepping the steaks, I like to get my grill/smoker going with indirect heat so it can get up to the desired temps in the interim. I usually go 225F for steaks, but since I’m using my grill for both the steak and the shrimp, I aim for 250F.

For this steak, I’m combining three seasonings: 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. I put them in a small container and mix. Then I grab some with my fingertips and sprinkle on the New York strip steak. I flip the steak over and repeat the process.

When the grill is up to temps (or at least close), I open it up and lay the steaks on the grill grates and let the smoke and low heat do their magic. For smoking wood flavor on steak, I like oak, pecan, or hickory. The length of time to cook varies on size and thickness. Since these were one inch at 250F, they took about 40 to 45 minutes to get to around 130F.

Reverse seared and resting before slicing.

Now that this part is done, it’s time for the sear! I love searing in the cast iron skillet because the the entire surface of the steak will get touched and develop that crust, which adds flavor. Speaking of crust and flavor, another reason I like searing in a cast iron skillet is that adding extra ingredients into the skillet will enhance the flavor of your steak even more! I’m going with a Tablespoon of butter, a clove of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, and a sprig of thyme. Give the steak about two minutes on both sides and that should do the trick!

Rest then serve

An underrated part of cooking steaks is letting the meat rest before serving. This gives the meat time to relax and let juices settle in. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. It will be worth it I promise.

The smoked buttery shrimp!

Smoked buttery shrimp will rock your world!

We can’t forget the other half of this dynamic duo: the smoked buttery shrimp! This shrimp recipe has been my most popular recipe on my website for a while now. Combining the shrimp with five other ingredients, and a little smoke from the pecan wood, these turn the shrimp from Clark Kent into Superman!

Six ingredients, starting with the shrimp

The shrimp I buy in the fresh seafood section of my local grocery store comes with the vein removed along the back (shell split along the back to remove vein). When getting it ready for this recipe, I like to leave the tail on. It’s like a little shrimp handle for me and I think provides a nice aesthetic, as well. With that said, get an 8×8 foil pan and start lining the de-shelled (and de-veined) shrimp in the pan. Since we hare doing 15 shrimp, I do three rows of five.

The five remaining ingredients

Ready to hit the grill for some low n’ slow action! (After the Rosemary gets put in there, of course).

I melt a stick of butter in a separate bowl and mix a clove of minced garlic with it, then pour the mixture into the foil pan, covering the shrimp. Next I sprinkle some of my favorite rub on the shrimp (feel free to use your favorite rub for these, too. Or a simple salt and pepper mix will do) and then I squeeze a quarter of a lemon all over the pan. I finish with taking two sprigs of rosemary and laying them in between the rows of shrimp laid out.

Smoking that good stuff

Smoked shrimp on the grill at 250F for 25 minutes.

With the grill at 250F using indirect heat, I place the tray in and check it after 25 minutes. You will know when they are done when they turn from gray to orange. Keep in mind that if they overcook, they will be rubbery to the bite. If you want to get technical, use your digital thermometer and aim for about 120F internal for the best bite.

NOTE: you can smoke both the steak and the shrimp in the same grill at the same time as needed.

The video!

The recipe!

Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp

Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp

A twist on a classic surf and turf recipe by smoking the steak before searing and smoking the shrimp will rock your world and that of your special someone!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • For the steak:
  • 2 New York strip steaks, at least an inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • For shrimp:
  • 15 large shrimp, uncooked
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 lemon, squuezed
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning
  • 2 sprigs rosemary


  1. Preheat grill/smoker to 250F with indirect heat using pecan wood. While that is happening, combine mix of kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder into small bowl to mix. Sprinkle over both sides of New York strip steaks.
  2. Place steaks in grill and let cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove when internal temps reach 130F.
  3. In a cast iron skillet (up to searing temps), place butter, garlic clove, rosemary and thyme. Mix and place steaks in skillet, allowing two minutes of searing on each side. Remove, rest 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve.
  4. For shrimp, rinse, de-shell and de-vein as needed. In a small bowl, melt stick of butter and mix in clove of minced garlic. Set aside.
  5. Place shrimp in three rows of five in an 8x8 pan. Pour butter and garlic mixture in pan. Sprinkle rub on shrimp, then squeeze lemon and add sprigs of rosemary in between rows of shrimp.
  6. Put pan of shrimp in grill at 250F for 25 minutes or until shrimp turn orange. Remove, rest for a few minutes, then serve.


You can cook the shrimp and steak in the grill/smoker at the same time. The recipe has been adjusted to help the process go quicker.

If you have extra time, let the seasoned steaks rest about 20 minutes before putting in grill. This helps the meat absorb the seasonings before cooking, enhancing flavor.

Feel free to substitute pecan wood for smoking wood of your choice.

Look for good marbling on New York strip steak. It is a leaner cut, so the more marbling you can get the better.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

6 oz (3 oz steak, 3 oz shrimp)

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 850mgCarbohydrates: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 41g

How to Trim a Brisket

Trimming a brisket may not be the most fun thing to do in BBQ, but you’ll be glad you did.

To trim a brisket

Ah, brisket trimming. The joyful moments that come cutting off fat and silver skin. While it may not be the most exciting part of prepping a brisket, it is very important. You trim a brisket for multiple reasons: to enhance the smoke penetrating the meat, creating some tasty bark, and removing some thick portions of fat that don’t render.

There is one side of the brisket that has a bunch of fat on it, this is called the fat cap. The other side will have a lot less fat on it, but likely a bunch of silver skin. This tutorial will show you how to trim a brisket to maximize the experience.

Brisket anatomy

Before we go into the process of how to trim a brisket, I feel it is important for you to know the whole brisket, or packer cut, comes with two types of meat: the point and the flat. The point is the bigger chunk of meat that is covered under all of that thick fat. It is the softer, juicier portion of the cut and where burnt ends come from. The flat is the leaner portion that is long and thinner than the point. Here’s a visual to help:

Brisket diagram courtesy of

Now that we have that out of the way, let us proceed!

The fat side of the brisket

With some other cuts of meat, you want a layer of fat so it will render into the meat and provide more flavor. With the fat cap on the brisket, a lot of that is hard fat that does not render. If left on, it will make the meat absorb less smoke flavor, not to mention the prime real estate for eating that bark that develops over the cook. Most folks won’t want to eat a mouth full of fat, so no need to keep so much of it on.

The fat cap does not render while cooking, so trim it down to about 1/4 inch.

You have probably heard much advice on trimming a brisket, some involving cooking fat side up over fat side down. This is a topic up for much debate, but we will side step that one right now (but for the record, I like to cook mine fat side down). Some say trim the fat cap down to 1/2 inch. Others may trim it off completely. I prefer to trim it down to roughly 1/4 inch. That means there are some spots of the brisket that don’t get trimmed, and that’s okay. Just know that you will do more trimming near the point than anywhere else.

The other side

The other side of the brisket will be much leaner and contain the flat with meat surface mostly exposed, with the exception of some small spots of fat and a lot of silver skin. I find I spend about half of my trimming time on the silver skin. The best way to trim this is by taking the tip of your boning knife and poking just barely under the silver skin and above the meat. I like to go across the grain while doing this and then moving the blade down the grain in a sawing-like motion.

How the brisket looks before you trim off the silver skin.

If you cut a little layer of meat under that silver skin, it’s nothing to freak out about. It still happens to the self-proclaimed experts. It’s a small price to pay to get that meat surface exposed for more smoke flavor and better tasting meat.

How the brisket should look after you trim the silver skin.

Between the point and flat…

Speaking of the point, there’s a thick layer of fat that separates it from the flat. You may be tempted to carve deep into that. If you go too deep you may end up getting to a spot where you should just separate the two. Going too far in and putting your mix of rub in that cavity you created may cause your meat surface in that spot to get all goopy and gross. Fight off that urge to cut deep into it and only go a little bit in, about an inch or so.

What about the sides of the brisket?

Don’t forget to trim the sides!

I think everyone who has trimmed a brisket before can agree that you will want to trim down the fat on the sides. The excess fat does you no good and robs you of some awesome meat bark for your end result. Square off the sides as best as you can.

Then there’s the little flaps of meat

You will discover when you trim a brisket that it will excess flaps of meat hanging off, usually some little, skinny flaps on the flat and small chunks on the point. These are usually the result of how they are cut by the butcher before packaging. As much as you want to capitalize on all the meat that the brisket provides, these thin, smaller flaps of meat will burn to a crisp during cook and serve you no value. Do yourself a favor and trim these off.

There you have it! You’ve successfully trimmed a brisket! If it didn’t go the way you had hoped, don’t worry. The main goal here is the flavor of the brisket, not how pretty it looks pre-cook. Keep consistent with the trimming and I promise you’ll get better!


Smoked prime rib cooked to medium rare.

I have never understood the obsession some people have with prime rib. I’m guessing it’s because the only time I’d see it was when I was a kid and my parents would take our family to some buffet restaurant and prime rib would be the main feature. And it usually wasn’t that great. As an adult I’ve had the desire to buy one to cook, but the price tag has been too high for me to try (especially with no prior experience cooking it before). Since I like to expand my horizons and try new things, I decided the Christmas holiday season was the time to give it a shot and do a smoked prime rib. And I’m so glad I did because it was AWESOME!


If you go to the butcher or meat department at your local grocery store, you may see a lot of rib roast or bone-in rib roast, but no cuts called prime rib. This is because the rib roast is usually described as the most desirable part of the rib section on a cow, or the “prime” portion. Hence, the name “prime rib”.

Prime rib or rib roast? Whichever you want to call it.


Nope. As described in the paragraph above, the term “prime rib” refers to the beef ribs in the “prime” section for meaty goodness, usually between ribs 6 through 12. But if you can find a USDA Prime rib roast, then it will have better flavor due to the increase in marbling (interwoven fat in the meat that renders when cooked).

To summarize, the rib roast IS prime rib.


I picked out a bone-in rib roast that had three bones and was a little over eight pounds. It came bound together with two strands of butcher’s twine (underneath the shrink wrap, of course). I asked the butcher to french the bones for me and they did it free of charge (keep in mind some butchers may charge a fee, so you may want to ask beforehand).

The bones have been frenched on this roast.

The “frenching” of the bones means to trim down some of the fat and meat around the bone to expose it and give it a more enticing look when cooked. This doesn’t affect the flavor of the meat, but it sure does look pretty.

Note that I got an eight pound prime rib (aka-rib roast) because I was feeding 10 adults and some kids (also note that I had some left over, too).


I like to trim the layer of fat on the top of the roast. Feel free to leave it on if you wish.

Before I started prepping the prime rib I set my grill/smoker to 225F over indirect heat using pecan wood. You may want to allot about 10-15 minutes to get up to temps. Once I tended to the meat, the first thing I did was cut off the butcher’s twine because I wanted to trim the fat off the outside portion. Some folks like to keep it there but I decided to trim if off as a personal preference. Either way, I applied a simple rub comprised of kosher salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder on the rib roast.

After that, I smothered the roast in a compound butter comprised of garlic, herbs, parmesan cheese, and butter. I like to place a couple of sprigs of rosemary on top because I love how it pairs with beef. Then I take a couple of strands of butcher’s twine and tie it back up how it was before, tying the twine over the rosemary sprigs, too.

Rib roast covered in rub, compound butter, and a couple of sprigs of rosemary on top.

Once the smoker is up to temp, I place the roast on the grill bone side down. I like to use a digital meat thermometer, such as the Thermoworks Smoke, to gauge the internal temps throughout the process, making sure I don’t overcook it. I put the probe in the middle of the thickest portion of the roast.

Keep in mind the cooking time will vary per roast. This eight pound roast took just over four hours at 225F to get to an internal temp of 120F. When it hit that temp, I took the roast off, got the grill up to a roasting temp of 400F, and wrapped the roast loosely in foil while the grill gets up to the desired temp.

Using my Thermoworks Smoke digital thermometer to keep track of temps on this prime rib throughout the cook.

Now that the grill is at 400F, I unwrap the roast and place it back on the grill for another 15 minutes until my Thermoworks Smoke shows I’ve reached an internal temp of 132F. I expect there to be a little bit of carry over temp after the meat is removed, meaning the beef will continue to cook internally for a few degrees more. I like my steaks and roasts at 135F internal, which is good enough for medium rare.

Finally, I let the smoked prime rib rest for about 10-15 minutes before I slice. I do this to let the meat rest and build up juices inside for a better bite. Some like to slice the bones off at this point, but I like to make things difficult on myself and kept the bones on there while slicing. Didn’t matter. It tasted amazing anyway!

Resting about 15 minutes before slicing.

In closing, I’m happy I took the chance and did this smoked prime rib. I hope you take my advice and go for it, as well. Follow this recipe and I’m pretty confident you’ll find it better than your local buffet. And if you want to smoke something else to pair with this smoked prime rib, I recommend my smoked buttery shrimp recipe.



Smoked Prime Rib

Smoked Prime Rib

Prime rib is the crown jewel to any holiday feast and adding some smoke flavor will help you win over any hungry crowd!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 rib roast (5-8 lbs.)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rub
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 Cup garlic herb butter (recipe in notes)


  1. Preheat grill/smoker to 225F at indirect heat. Use pecan wood (or whichever smoking wood you prefer) for smoke flavor. While getting to the desired temp, prep the rib roast by removing twine and trimming off fat on top (optional). Apply rub (or salt and pepper) to rib roast, then spread garlic herb butter all over the meat surfaces. Add two sprigs of rosemary on top and tie two strands of butcher's twine over meat.
  2. Place rib roast on grill and smoke for about four hours or until internal meat temp reaches 120 degrees. Remove from grill, placing roast in loosely wrapped foil while getting heat up in grill to 400 degrees. Place meat back on grill, roasting for 15 minutes or until internal meat temp reaches around 135 degrees for a medium rare finish.
  3. Remove meat from grill, let rest uncovered for about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.


  1. Cooking times vary per cut of meat due to variables such as weight of roast
  2. Trimming fat cap is optional, as is removing the butcher's twine
  3. You can remove the bones prior to serving slicing along top of bones and following the shape down to the bottom under the hunk of meat
  4. If you can't find a pre-made garlic herb butter, then use this simple compound butter recipe:
  • 1 Cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped herbs (parsley, basil, and/or oregano)
  • Combine ingredients in small to medium-sized bowl. Mix well.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

4 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 73mgCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 25g

Brisket Burnt Ends


Burnt ends are consider by some the holy grail of barbecue.


Ever since I got into smoking meat, I’ve been told that burnt ends are the pinnacle of barbecue. To be honest, I never had much of an interest in making them. After waiting 12-14 hours of smoking a brisket, then letting it rest for at least another hour on top of that, I am not very keen to wait another 90 minutes to two hours burnt ends and to eat the meaty goodness I’ve labored (and sometimes starved myself) for.

I’ve had all sorts of good intentions to make them in the past. However, whenever I slice up the point of the brisket into cubes, they look so good already! Tender to the touch, those meat juices oozing out, the savory flavored bark on the outside, and that classic brisket smell my family and I have been taunted with for hours, I mean how can I wait any longer to eat?

When the brisket is done and smells sooo good, you’ll need to exert some will power to not eat it (well, at least the point).

Well, one day I decided to brave it. Exercising the determination of a cornered honey badger, I powered through the slicing of the point and tossed the meat cubes into a foil pan. Adding a few other ingredients, I put them back on the grill/smoker at 275F and after about 90 minutes, I had taken these meat cubes and turned them into something worth posting about!

I have tweaked with the ingredients here and there since then and I think I have figured out a pretty good recipe for burnt ends. Good enough that I feel confident sharing with you folks.

What are burnt ends?

Little nuggets of heaven. That’s what.

But how do you smoke a brisket?

Smoking the full brisket (also known as a full or packer) is a topic that could be covered over multiple postings in and of themselves (such as trimming the brisket, fat side up or fat side down, wrapping or no wrapping, etc.). In a nutshell, trim off some of the fat, rub with your favorite rub (or a simple 50/50 mix of salt and pepper), put on the grill/smoker at 250F using your favorite smoking wood (I prefer pecan, hickory, or oak). Let it ride until the brisket hits an internal temp in its thickest spot between 195F to 203F internal. Remove and let rest for about an hour before serving.

The slicing

Try to restrain yourself from gobbling these up before making them into burnt ends. Trust me, it will be worth it!

Now that we have briefly covered that, let’s get into the burnt ends! First off, take the finished brisket and separate the point and the flat. This is done by finding that thick vein of fat which divides the two portions of meat. Now that the point is separated, start cutting it into cubes, slicing about one to 1 1/2 inches apart. Place the cubes into a foil pan (I usually go with an 8×8).

The other ingredients

The lineup of ingredients to mix in the foil pan with the cubed up brisket.

With the cubes of brisket in the foil pan, add about one tablespoon worth of your favorite beef rub (or salt n pepper). After that, grab your barbecue sauce and pour on about a cup. Follow up with a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, two teaspoons of honey, four tablespoons of butter and three ounces of Dr Pepper or whichever cola you prefer (but seriously, Dr Pepper goes well with barbecue).

Trust the process

Wrapped up and cooking back on the grill.

Mix the ingredients together in the pan and wrap the top with aluminum foil. Preheat your grill/smoker up to 275F. Hopefully, you have done this during the prep so you have less time to wait. Once at the desired temp, put your foil wrapped pan on the grill and cook it for an hour.

After one hour, go back to the grill and remove the sheet of aluminum foil. Cook uncovered for another 30 to 60 minutes. We uncover at this point so all of the juices in the pan will start to reduce and help create some stickiness to the burnt ends themselves.

Unwrap the pan, mix up the ingredients a little bit, and cook for at least another 30 minutes.

You don’t want burnt ends to be too saucy because it wouldn’t be much different than just dumping BBQ sauce on cut up pieces of brisket. Let the mix of ingredients cook into the cubes. Its normal to have some juices still in the pan when they are done.

How will I know when they’re done?

Mmm…little nuggets of heaven!

Once the burnt ends have finished cooking uncovered, remove from off of the grill and let them rest for about 10-15 minutes. This will help some of the remaining sauce to thicken some and also let the meat relax so juices can build up a little inside.

The burnt ends will render like this when they are done.

To tell if they are done, I like to do the squeeze test. I take a cube and then squeeze down with some pressure. If it shreds apart, then they are cooked well. I also like to have my burnt ends be a little sticky to the touch.

The video!

Yep, I made a brief video of making burnt ends that pretty much explains everything I just told you. Maybe I should’ve led with this.

The recipe!

Brisket Burnt Ends

Brisket Burnt Ends

Brisket burnt ends are considered the holy grail of barbecue. Follow this recipe and make your own!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 brisket point, fully cooked (point can be from full brisket)
  • 1 Cup BBQ sauce
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp rub
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 oz Dr Pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat grill/smoker to 275 degrees
  2. Cook the full brisket, separating the point and flat when done. Slice the point into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes and place in foil pan
  3. In the foil pan, combine rub, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter, honey, and Dr Pepper with the brisket cubes. Mix in pan and put sheet of foil over it.
  4. Place on grill/smoker and let it cook for one hour. Remove foil and cook uncovered for another 30-45 minutes.
  5. Remove from grill, rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving.



After burnt ends have cooked for an hour and you unwrap the foil, feel free to drain some of the excess juices in the foil pan

Make sure the burnt ends render when you give them a squeeze.

Aim to have them be a little sticky.

I use Dr Pepper, but feel free to use your favorite cola instead

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

3 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6.2gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 24g

Reverse Searing 101

Reverse searing steak on a cast iron grill grate.

What is a reverse sear?

In case you need a refresher, a traditional sear is when you start out cooking food at a high heat, which usually begins around at 500F. Once the meat has been seared on both sides, then it is cooked in the oven until it reaches the desired internal temp. A reverse sear is a method of cooking meat at a low temperature first, usually by smoking or sous vide, then finishing off on a high heat surface.

Crust and juices equal a dynamite steak (or tri-tip roast in this instance).

How do you do that voodoo you do?

With smoking, I like to get my grill/smoker to 225-250F using indirect heat and leave the beef or pork chops/steaks in until it reaches an internal temp of 125F (length of time to get there depends on thickness of meat), then move to either a grill above 500F or cast iron pan on the stove (or grill) at high heat. I do about two minutes on one side and then flip the meat over for another two. Doing this creates a flavorful crust on the outside of the meat due to something called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. I like my beef medium-medium rare, so I wait to reach an internal temp of 130F (around 137F for pork) before removing.

This tomahawk ribeye got the reverse sear treatment. Crust=Flavor!

If starting your cook with the sous vide method, you’ll want to seal the meat and seasonings in an airtight bag (usually done with a vacuum seal) and then place in a warm pot of water that is around 125F. Once again, thickness of the cut of meat matters. For a rule of thumb on how much time to spend cooking it, check out this excellent post from Serious Eats.

Searing in a cast iron skillet is another way to finish off a steak.

Why should I reverse sear?

Quality. Flavor. Tender. Juiciness. Crust. Go with the reverse sear and you’ll find your steaks suddenly rival those at your favorite steakhouse. It is more cost effective than going out for steak, nor do you have to put on pants and go out in public. I’m just sayin’.

Reverse Seared BBQ Tri Tip (Keto Friendly)

Smoked tri-tip reverse seared in a cast iron skillet is my favorite way to cook this cut of beef!

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see tri-tip show up on my feed often. It’s definitely in my top three of meats to barbecue. It is the first meat I ever smoked. I’ve prepared it in different ways and my favorite (right now) is to reverse sear it. Before I get into that process, let me answer a question you may have…

What is a tri-tip?

The tri-tip has a triangular shape as seen here.

The tri-tip is a cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin on the cow. It is boneless and tender. As with other cuts of beef, you will want to look for some good marbling (small streaks of interwoven fat) in the meat. There are three different grains in this cut, which can make slicing against the grain a little tricky if you only slice it the same direction the whole way.

This cut of beef gets it’s origins in Oakland, California where a butcher started selling it whole in the 1950s. Prior to this, the tri-tip was usually grinded up into hamburger meat or sliced up for steaks. Becoming popular on the central California coast in the Santa Maria area, the preferred method of cooking this cut was to grill over an open flame from red oak wood and finish at medium rare. There are deviations of how it is prepared nowadays and the reverse sear method is one of them.

What is this “reverse sear” you speak of?

Before we get into revere sear, let’s make sure we cover what it means to sear. Searing is when you cook something over direct, high heat to get that nice, browned crust and then put it in the oven to cook at a lower temp until done. Reverse sear is the opposite of that in which you cook the meat low and slow first THEN sear to finish it off.

I prefer to reverse sear by smoking the meat to get that smoke flavor infused and then crank the high heat to finish it off with that nice, flavorful crust.

The beginning of the process

When preparing the tri-tip, you’ll want to take a boning knife and remove any silver skin that exists on the meat. You will usually find silver skin on the bottom. To remove, barely put the tip of the blade of the knife underneath the silver skin and push across until the tip of the blade appears from under that surface. Proceed with a gentle, sawing motion down the length of the silver skin until it is removed. Keep in mind there will likely be more than one spot on the tri-tip with a patch of this filmy substance.

Once that is done, simply take your favorite seasoning/rub and apply. I like to go light on the rub when it comes to tri-tip because I like the flavor of this cut of beef to stand out and not overpower it. Feel free to let the meat sit at room temp for a little while (beef is okay for this) and let the spices sweat into the meat. If you are going keto, choose a rub with minimal to no sugar. Most rubs are like this, but check the label to be sure.

Rub and smoke are the two things I do to prep for the sear.

Smoking the good stuff

Now that your grill/smoker is up to 250F (I’m assuming you’ve done this already, but you know what they say about those who assume…), simply put it on the grill, close the lid, and let it ride. Since tri-tip cooks like a steak, make sure to monitor the temp regularly. You can do this by using an instant read thermometer, like my Thermapen Mk4 made by Thermoworks, or by using a wired probe device that will track the temps for the duration of the cook, such as the Smoke (also by Thermoworks) so you can track both temps in the grill and in the food.

Make sure when checking temps in any meat that you go into the middle of the thickest portion. That way, you know it will be thoroughly cooked to the temp you desire.

Pull the tri-tip off when internal temp hits around 125-127F.

Searing time!

When the meat is around 90-100F, start to get a grill or stove top burner going and your cast iron skillet heated. Some folks prefer to sear on the grill grates and get those nice grill marks, but I love to sear in a cast iron skillet. I want that Maillard reaction (the process of amino acids and reducing sugars reacting to form that crust on the food and give it extra flavor) to take place on the whole surface of the meat, not just the parts that touch the grates.

Not only do I like to use a cast iron skillet for searing the whole surface of the meat, but also because I can easily give the crust even more flavor by putting such flavor-boosting ingredients such as butter, garlic, and rosemary in the pan and let it cook in.

For the finish, I like my steaks medium rare. With that in mind, I take the tri-tip out of the pan (after searing on both sides) when internal meat temp hits around 135F. Keep in mind that there will be some carry over cooking going on, meaning the meat will likely rise a few degrees while resting.

Like a steak, medium rare is the ideal way to serve up tri-tip.

Rest and slice

When it comes to tri-tip, I like to let it rest about 10-15 minutes before slicing. Doing this will allow the meat to relax and let the juices build up, meaning more flavor.

Slicing the tri-tip against the grain can be a little tricky. Remember how earlier in this post I said that this cut of meat has three different grains?

Sliced half way because the other half needs to be cut a different direction.

While there are three different grains, one of them is at the very tip of the elongated portion of the tri-tip, so don’t worry about that part. I usually cut that part off as a sample for myself (sampling the meat before serving it is what we barbecuers like to call “pitmaster’s privilege”). The main section to watch for the switch is by the corner opposite of the crook in the meat. You should be able to see the grains switching directions around that way. Slice right down the middle of that as to separate the meat into two and slice against the respective grains.

If you had a hard time envisioning what I was just talking about, this 33 second video by Thermoworks gives a visual explanation much better than I can type. Enjoy.

The recipe!

Reverse Seared BBQ Tri Tip (Keto Friendly)

Reverse Seared BBQ Tri Tip (Keto Friendly)

Tri-tip is a roast that cooks like a steak, doesn't take too long to smoke and just might become your favorite cut of beef! Keto friendly, too!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes


  • 1 tri-tip (1.5-2.5 lbs)
  • 3 Tbsp rub/seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 t garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary


  1. Preheat grill/smoker for 250F on indirect heat over pecan wood
  2. Trim silver skin off of tri-tip. Apply rub on both sides.
  3. Place meat on grill/smoker. Let cook at indirect heat for at least an hour before checking temps.
  4. Once internal meat hits temp around 90-100F, get cast iron skillet ready for searing
  5. When tri-tip reaches temps around 125F, go to skillet and put butter, garlic, and rosemary in. Remove tri-tip from grill/smoker and put in skillet, searing on both sides for about 2 minutes each or until internal temp hits 135F.
  6. Remove from skillet and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing
  7. Feast and enjoy!


  1. Pecan and/or hickory wood is my preferred wood to smoke tri-tip with, but feel free to substitute for whichever smoking wood you prefer
  2. You can sear in the cast iron skillet either indoors or outdoors, over a stove top range or another grill.
  3. Remember that the grain of the tri-tip changes directions in the middle of the meat. Slice down the area where the two directions meat (usually in the area between the point and crook)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

5 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 10.5g