How to Smoke The Perfect Cowboy Ribeye


A Cowboy Ribeye is every barbeque lover’s delight. This expensive cut is wonderfully marbled, loaded with fat and flavors. With a natural bone handle, Cowboy Ribeye makes a special steak that requires some unique technique to be smoked and seared. This is a thick cut of meat that are tricky to be grilled or barbequed on direct heat. For a perfect result it has to be cooked low and slow for enhanced flavors and perfect doneness. So, if you want to master the art of barbequing tender and succulent Cowboy Ribeye to perfect doneness, here is a quick guide for you.

Choosing the right meat

The beef should be fresh and raw. Select the ribeye cut that is thick and marbled. The thicker it is, the better the result will be. You can get it in different thicknesses, but ask the butcher to make a large cut for you.

Ingredients for seasoning

The cowboy ribeye is naturally flavored because of the connective tissues present in the muscle that contains a good amount of fat. So a light simple seasoning will do wonders for this steak. Here’s what you can use to season the classic cowboy ribeye.

  • Kosher salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper (coarsely ground)

If you want additional flavor in the cowboy ribeye then choose thyme and rosemary herbs.

Seasoning the Cowboy Ribeye

Mix equal portions of kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to prepare a rub. Smear a generous amount of the rub on the ribeye.  The rub should coat all dies of the steak uniformly.

Smoking Cowboy Ribeye

The ideal temperature for cooking a whole cowboy ribeye steak is between 225 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit (107.2C-115.6C). Start by preheating the food smoker to a temperature near 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107.2C). we recommend cherry for a mild flavor or hickory for a stronger smoke flavor.

Transfer the ribeye to the rack of the heated smoker. Then set the temperature and let it smoke for 25 – 30 minutes. At this time, you can add the herbs on top of the steak for added flavors. If you prefer medium doneness then cook at a temperature range of 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57.2C).

Searing Cowboy Ribeye

Insert a smoke thermometer to check the inner temperature of the steak. Penetrate the tip of the probe to the core of the thickest part of the ribeye to get the actual temperature. If the temperature reads anywhere near 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3C) then take the steak out and place it on hot grill grates. Let it grill on direct flame for 5 minutes, then flip the steak to grill the other side for another 5 minutes. Once done, let the cowboy ribeye steak rest for 10 minutes, and then serve.

Tips for Smoking Perfect Steaks

Smoking is an art that requires practice to achieve perfection. However, we have handpicked some pitmaster secret tips that can help beginners to master the basics of food smoking in no time. Check them out here.

Brine/ Rub

Brine is a highly concentrated solution of salt and water that helps add moisture to the meat when soaked in it for hours. The rub can be dry or wet. A dry rub is a mix of herbs and spices while a wet rub contains a base of oil or fruit juice mixed with a dry rub. Brine/ rub enhances the flavor of the food and also helps it retain its moisture even after smoking. Check out our entire catalog of articles on brining and curing your meat here: What’s the Difference Between Pickling, Brining, Marinating, and Curing?; Curing and Smoking Meats for Home Food Preservation; Directions On Brining And Curing Your Meat For Food Smoking.

Go low and slow

Smoking is a low and slow method of cooking. In this process, the food is cooked at a consistently low temperature for a long time until it reaches the desired doneness. Slow cooking helps preserve the tenderness of the meat making it juicy and succulent. 

Add moisture

This is an important step to get perfectly tender and juicy steaks. Heat can rip off moisture from the food making it dry and charred. This is why you need to add moisture to the food simultaneously when smoking it. Place a pan of hot water inside the smoker chamber to steam the food or use a spray bottle of water or fruit juice to spray on the food at regular intervals. Brushing the food with butter or oil to keep it moisturized is also a good idea. 

Use a quality food smoker

A quality food smoker can automate all crucial tasks involved in food smoking to provide a relaxing barbeque experience. Pro smokers like the Bradley Smoker have a digital console for presetting cooking temperature and time before smoking. It also has an auto-feed Bradley Bisquette system that helps the smoker consistently run for hours with some supervision.

We’ve covered what you need to know about preparing and smoking a favorite cowboy ribeye and some Bradley tips & tricks on food smoking. We hope these tips have helped you to want to try gourmet barbequing at home. For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.