If you’re a fan of smoky flavors and juicy, melt-in-your-mouth meat, then you won’t want to miss this recipe for smoked cowboy ribeye. A favorite among BBQ enthusiasts, the cowboy ribeye is a bone-in ribeye steak with a rich, beefy flavor that’s hard to beat. And when cooked low and slow on a pellet smoker, it becomes infused with a delicious smoky aroma that takes it to the next level.
This smoked cowboy ribeye recipe is perfect for those who want to impress their friends and family with a show-stopping meal. It’s not the easiest recipe, but with a little patience and attention to detail, even beginners can pull it off. You’ll need a pellet smoker, BBQ tongs, a sharp knife, and a meat thermometer to get started.
The process involves dry-brining the steak, seasoning it with a homemade rub, smoking it for an hour and a half, and then searing it on a hot grill to finish it off. It may sound like a lot of work, but the end result is well worth it. Imagine slicing into a juicy, perfectly cooked steak that’s bursting with flavor, and you’ll understand why this recipe is worth the effort.
So, whether you’re looking to impress your dinner guests, or just craving a delicious, smoky steak, give this recipe a try. With a little practice, you’ll soon become a backyard BBQ hero and be able to produce mouth-watering smoked cowboy ribeye that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
What is a Cowboy Ribeye Steak?
A cowboy ribeye is a thick, bone-in ribeye steak that is usually cut between 1-1.5 inches thick. It is a popular cut of meat due to its rich flavor, juiciness, and tenderness. The bone adds extra flavor and helps to keep the meat juicy during cooking.
The cowboy ribeye is located in the rib section of the beef, close to the shoulder. It is also commonly referred to as a bone-in ribeye or a rib steak. The cowboy ribeye is larger than a traditional ribeye and can weigh up to 2 pounds, making it a great steak for sharing with a group of friends or family.
To best prepare a cowboy ribeye, it is recommended to dry brine the steak with kosher salt for a few hours before cooking to help the seasoning penetrate the meat and lock in the natural juices. Smoking the steak on a pellet smoker for a few hours at 225°F will infuse the steak with a delicious smoky flavor.
Finally, searing the steak for a few minutes on high heat on a grill or cast iron skillet will create a beautiful crust on the outside of the steak, while keeping it juicy and tender on the inside.
The smoked cowboy ribeye is similar to the smoked tomahawk steak in terms of being a bone-in ribeye, but the tomahawk steak has a long bone that extends far out from the meat, giving it its unique appearance. If you plan to smoke tomahawk steak, ensure you have enough space in your smoker to account for the large bone. Further, when you reverse sear tomahawk steak, be careful about the large bone.
How To Make Smoked Cowboy Steak
Dry Brine the Cowboy Ribeye
To begin of smoked cowboy ribeye steak, you will want to dry brine the cowboy ribeye to help the seasoning penetrate the meat and lock in the natural juices. Sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the steak and place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours. This will give the salt enough time to work its way into the meat, seasoning it from the inside out.
Preheat Your Pellet Smoker
While the steak is dry brining, preheat your pellet smoker to 225°F. This low and slow cooking temperature will allow the smoke to fully penetrate the meat and create a mouthwatering flavor. You can use any type of wood pellets you prefer, but hickory, mesquite, or oak are great options for smoking beef.
Season the Cowboy Ribeye
Once your smoker is preheated, remove the cowboy ribeye from the refrigerator and rub it with olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Make sure to coat the steak evenly with the seasoning, so that every bite is packed with flavor. It would give you a perfect flavor of smoked cowboy ribeye.
Smoke the Cowboy Ribeye
Place the seasoned cowboy ribeye on the pellet smoker and smoke it for approximately 1-1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 120-125°F. This will allow the smoke to fully penetrate the meat and create a deliciously smoky flavor.
Preheat Your Grill For Searing
While the cowboy ribeye is smoking, preheat your grill to high heat. If you don’t have a separate grill for searing, you can move indoors to a hot cast iron skillet. This high-heat sear will create a beautiful crust on the outside of the steak and help to lock in the juices.
Sear the Cowboy Ribeye
Carefully remove the cowboy ribeye from the smoker and place it directly on the grill grates. Sear the steak for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and make sure you don’t overcook the steak.
Rest and Serve
Remove the smoked cowboy ribeye from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and create a more tender and juicy steak. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy the mouthwatering flavor that only a pellet smoker can provide.
Tips For Smoking Cowboy/Tomahawk Ribeye
Here are 3 tips for beginners who want to try smoking and searing a cowboy ribeye:
The type of wood pellets you use can make a big difference in the flavor of your smoked cowboy ribeye. Hickory or mesquite pellets are great options for beef, as they add a rich, smoky flavor. If you want a milder flavor, you can try using oak or fruitwood pellets.
Use a Meat Thermometer
To ensure that your cowboy ribeye steaks is cooked to the proper internal temperature, it’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer. This will help you avoid overcooking or undercooking the steak. Aim for an internal temperature of 120-125°F when smoking the steak, and then 135°F when searing it for medium rare.
Choose High-Quality Meat
Since the cowboy ribeye is a premium cut of beef, it’s important to choose a high-quality steak to get best smoked cowboy ribeye. Look for a steak that is well-marbled with fat, as this will help keep it juicy and flavorful during cooking.
To get the best flavor from your smoked cowboy ribeye, be sure to season it generously with kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Make sure to rub the seasoning all over the steak, and then let it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator to absorb the flavors.
Best Beer To Pair With Smoked Steak
Nothing completes a delicious smoked cowboy ribeye quite like a cold beer. The right beer can enhance the flavors of the smoked cowboy ribeye steak and elevate the overall dining experience. Here’s a list of the top 3 beer pairings for a smoked cowboy ribeye.
This bold, rich beer is the perfect complement to a smoky, juicy smoked cowboy ribeye. The roasted malt flavors in an imperial stout bring out the charred flavors of the steak, while the high alcohol content helps to cut through the richness of the meat.
An American IPA is a great choice for those who love hoppy beer. The bitterness in the IPA helps to balance out the fatty richness of the steak, while the citrusy hop flavors bring out the flavors of the seasoning.
An amber lager is a great choice for those who prefer a lighter beer. The caramel malt flavors in the beer pair well with the smoky flavors of the steak, while the carbonation helps to cut through the richness of the meat.
Related Recipes of Smoked Cowboy Ribeye
- Smoked T-Bone Steak Recipe
- Smoked Steak Recipe
- Steak Temperatures
- Smoked New York Steak Recipe
- Steak Rub Recipe
- 2 lb bone-in rib-eye steak
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Dry brine the cowboy ribeye by sprinkling kosher salt on both sides and placing it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Preheat your pellet smoker to 225°F.
- Rub cowboy rib eye with olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Rub the seasoning all over the steak, making sure to coat it evenly.
- Place the seasoned cowboy ribeye on the pellet smoker and smoke it for approximately 1-1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 120-125°F.
- Preheat your grill to high heat. While the grill is heating up, carefully remove the cowboy ribeye from the smoker and place it directly on the grill grates. If you don't have a separate grill for searing, you can move indoors to a hot cast iron skillet.
- Sear the steak for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare.
- Remove the cowboy ribeye from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Smoked Cowboy Steak FAQs
What is a cowboy ribeye?
A cowboy ribeye is a bone-in ribeye steak that is typically cut between 1-2 inches thick. It is also known as a tomahawk steak due to its distinctive shape.
How do you smoke cowboy ribeye?
To smoke a cowboy ribeye, dry brine the steak with kosher salt for 2 hours, then season it with olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Smoke the steak on a pellet smoker at 225°F until the internal temperature reaches 120-125°F, then sear it on a hot grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare.
What kind of wood pellets should I use to smoke a cowboy ribeye?
For a cowboy ribeye, hickory or mesquite wood pellets work well to impart a smoky flavor. You can also try a blend of different wood pellets for a unique flavor profile.
How long does it take to smoke a cowboy ribeye?
It takes approximately 1-1.5 hours to smoke a cowboy ribeye on a pellet smoker at 225°F until the internal temperature reaches 120-125°F.
How do you know when a cowboy ribeye is done?
The internal temperature of a medium-rare cowboy ribeye should be 135°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steak in the thickest part.
Should I let the cowboy ribeye rest before slicing it?
Yes, it’s important to let the smoked cowboy ribeye rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensures a more tender, juicy steak.
What should I serve with smoked cowboy ribeye?
A smoked cowboy ribeye pairs well with a variety of sides, such as roasted vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes, or a crisp green salad.
Can I use a gas grill instead of a pellet smoker to smoke a cowboy ribeye?
Yes, you can use a gas grill to smoke a cowboy ribeye. Just follow the same instructions for smoking tomahawk steak/cowboy at a low temperature, then sear it on high heat to finish.
How thick should a cowboy ribeye be?
A cowboy ribeye should be cut between 1-2 inches thick for best results. In this case, the thicker the better.
How much seasoning should I use on a cowboy ribeye?
Use approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to season a 1-2 inch thick cowboy ribeye.