Applewood Smoked Round Steak

I know this is tagged under Carolyn’s Kitchen, but surprise! I actually made this. I know, let the church bells ring, shout it from the rooftops, Jake made something besides grilled steak and pan fried hamburgers.

The reason for this culinary foray on my part is due to a stroke of luck. You see, last March Carolyn and I were at the local National Wild Turkey Federation banquet. If you’ve ever been to one of these events, basically it is a meal and a giant raffle, plus an auction. The goal is to raise money for wildlife conservation, which is enhanced by the presence of low-priced alcohol. It’s funny how much people will spend on a stuffed fox after a few libations.

At this banquet, we went all the way through the raffle and auction without winning anything. I was a bit downtrodden, as there were some nice art pieces and good firearms I missed out on. Then, like a voice from above, our number was called. The heavens parted, the angels sang, and I walked up front to claim my glorious prize.

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Behold its glory!

Yes, now I (and technically Carolyn and my folks because we wrote the same number on all our raffle tickets) was the proud owner of a smoker. I was giddy, like a teenage girl finding out she won Justin Bieber tickets. We took this bad boy back to the house, where I sat and looked at it for a long time, dreaming of all the savory delights I would make.

And make delights I did! We’ve had pheasant and pork ribs and more ribs and now, most recently smoked round steak. Now I chose to write about this one because round steak is always such an interesting cut of beef to work with. It says steak, but it’s not a steak like a ribeye or T-bone you just salt and pepper, slap on the grill and then pull it off to eat medium rare.

Round steak is tougher and needs to be cooked “low and slow”, which means at a low temperature over a slower period of time. The plus side is that it is less expensive than the other steaks, so if you mess up this recipe you’re not out as much. But you know what, I believe in you, I know you can make this recipe right the first time and be a culinary hero.

Superman with carrots

This is you. You rock.

Okay, so now for the part on how to make this stuff, a.k.a. the recipe. This is a modified version of a recipe from a site called Man Food Mondays, which sounded like a great place to find good recipes for smoked meat. Note that I am not nor will claim to be an expert in smoking meat, so I’ll just tell you what I did and let you know that it was delicious and Carolyn gave it two thumbs covered in meat juice up.

So to start out with I thawed out the steaks and put them in a brown sugar infused brine the night before. I know that not everyone is a brining fan, but it’s worked for me so I have kept doing it. Then after 12 hours I put the steaks on a rack under the ceiling fan to dry off the excess water for three hours.

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See the white fat in there? That’s called flavor. Noms.

Next I put the rub together and put it on the meat. Now if you aren’t a brining fan, you can take this rub and mix it with a quarter cup of canola oil, then marinate the steaks in it for four or more hours. Whatever floats your smokey boat.

The rub consists of chili powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper and leaf oregano. You could also use fresh oregano and add fresh chives if it makes your little heart flutter.

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After mixing the rub together, I put it on the steaks. I also added some chopped cilantro, grown by skilled artisans that live in quaint shacks on the warm coast of the Mediterranean. But if you can’t find this, store bought will do just fine.

Ina in her kitchen

Enough with the silliness. Just smoke the meat.

Now after this I wrapped the steaks in foil and set them back in the fridge. I would say it was because of some flavor thing, but mostly I needed to hold off otherwise it would be done at 3 in the afternoon and that just wasn’t an ideal time to eat supper.

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But they did look delicious enough to eat at three.

Then I got the smoker warmed up. I used apple wood chips, because I hadn’t used them yet and I had a fresh bag so I figured, what the heck. Once I had a good smoke going, I put the steaks on the smoker and let the magic happen. This magic happened 250 F for 30 minutes per pound of meat, which doesn’t sound like a magical spell but it was.

Now this is the kind of situation that requires a meat thermometer. I know some of you out there are saying, “Why, I never use one of those things. I’m just know by (insert witchcraft means of doneness determination here)!”. Trust me, if you don’t use a thermometer in this case you will probably cook it too long. Try to target a 145 F internal temperature for these bad boys.

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Behold the meat!

After removing from the smoker, I let the meat rest for 10 minutes covered. Then I sliced it into 1/4″ slices and served it with a side of grilled potato wedges. All I can say is that even though I didn’t win a shotgun at that turkey banquet, I’m glad I got this instead. It’s totally worth it!

-Jake

Applewood Smoked Round Steak

2 to 4 round steaks

3 cups brine (3 cups water, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar packed)

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp paprika

2 Tsp cumin

1/2 Tbsp black pepper

1/4 c fresh oregano

1/4 c cilantro optional

Applewood chips

Mix up brine and brine the steak in it for 4 to 12 hours. After brining, let the steaks air-dry for 1 to 3 hours under a fan.

Mix the spices together in a small bowl to create the rub. Generously cover the steaks in the rub on all sides.

Heat smoker to 275 degrees F. Add applewood chips and get a good smoke going. Place meat in smoker and smoke at around 250 degrees F for 30 minutes per pound. Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer every 45 minutes until it reaches the the appropriate doneness (Check out the Beef Checkoff doneness guide to determine the right internal temp). When done, cover with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

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