How to Smoke a Cheap Steak into a Juicy, Tender Cut

How to Smoke a Cheap Steak into a Juicy, Tender Cut

Posted on: January 09, 2023
Read time: Read Time: 10 min

In today’s world, where the cost of living continues to rise, everyone is trying to save an extra dollar by minimizing their expenses. This often means going for more affordable options, from meals to clothing and other necessities. However, you don’t have to worry about ruining your cooking experience and the flavor of your food. In this article, we’ll look at how to smoke a cheap steak into a juicy, tender cut.

As much as we love and enjoy steak, we just can’t afford for every cut to be a rib-eye or strip loin. Some days, we end up with a flank or skirt steak, and we have no idea how to work the magic and transform our cheap cut into a more delicious meal. So what do we do with the cheap cuts of beef?

How to smoke cheap steak into a juicy, tender cut

Unlike some of the best steaks, cheaper steaks are less tender, one of the reasons many shy away from cooking them. However, it can be easily redeemable and still have a tasty meal.

Some of the best lower-priced cuts include chuck steak, petite tender, top sirloin, flank, sirloin tip, and the cap of the top round.


How you prepare your steak right from cutting to seasoning it affects the taste and flavor of your beef, so each process is extremely important.

We’ll look at some of the methods you can use to prepare your cheap steak before smoking it.

1. Aging

Aging helps make the meat tender because the connective tissue in the muscles begins to break down, giving you a much more desirable texture. Aged meat also has an enhanced flavor.

One of the ways you can get around this is by using a faux-aging marinade. This is the process of aging meat by partly removing the water from the steak while leaving everything else behind.

Ingredients for a faux-aging marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon MSG
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon anchovy paste

The process:

  • In a bowl, thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
  • Divide the marinade among a few bags, add your steaks to them, and vacuum seal.

2. Adding salt

You can also choose to add salt to your steak, sprinkling it all around.

Salt is known for forcing muscle fibers to separate, drawing out the meat’s natural juices. This creates a brine, which is then reabsorbed, drawing out the delicious beefy flavor of the meat. Salt equally helps tenderize the proteins, making your steak less chewy.

The key here is to ensure that every part is covered with salt and not just a small amount. Totally cover your meat up with salt and place the steak on the fridge for about one hour, then rinse it off.

3. Scoring the cut

Scoring meat is helpful, especially when adding marinade, as it enables all of it to be absorbed. When preparing a cheap steak, scoring your beef also makes it tender, allowing for proper cooking as you have broken the muscle fibers, helping relax the meat.

4. The vacuum technique (also known as sous vide)

This is where you just heat the entire piece of meat in a controlled environment before searing.

How to go about it:

Heat water to a temperature of around 134 °F (57 °C) and submerge your steak in the boiler for about one hour. This brings the meat’s temperature to your preferred level of doneness, making it tender.

Smoking Steak

What you will need:

  • Food smoker
  • Steak
  • Salt
  • Pepper (you can add other seasonings)


  • Preheat your food smoker to a temperature of 225 °F (107 °C).
  • Placing your steak in a bowl, sprinkle the salt, pepper, and other seasonings on the meat.
  • Put your steak in the food smoker, cooking until well done. Make sure to use Bradley Bisquettes for the best flavor.
  • Remove the steak from the smoker, let it rest for 10–15 minutes, then serve.

How long to smoke your steak

Several factors come into play when determining the cooking time of your steak. They include cut and thickness, consistency of the smoker’s temperature, and the type of steak.

If you have cut your beef into thicker pieces, then we recommend giving it more time to ensure it’s well cooked. To avoid guesswork, it’s important that you also have an accurate thermometer that will guide you to know when the steak is done.

Final thoughts

As beef prices continue to soar and it becomes increasingly difficult to get your hands on some of the best cuts of steak, you can still have an amazing smoking experience. Depending on how well you like your meat done, you can also tweak the recipes above.

Check out a few more steak articles here:
5 Steak Doneness Internal Temperatures & Times
The Way You Should Be Tenderizing Steak
How to Cook the Perfect New York Strip Steak

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.