Seared and Smoked Top Sirloin Steaks
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I cooked these smoked top sirloin steak a while back– dry brined and seasoned with my Texas style rub and they were, without a doubt, hands down, the best steak I’ve had be it broiled, grilled, or smoked.
This write-up is going to give you all the juicy, beefy, delicious details about how I did it so you can replicate this in your own backyard.
Prepare to be blown away when you taste it!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Dry Brine Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Smoker Temp: 225°F (107°C)
- Meat Finish Temp: 130°F (54°C)
- Recommended Wood: Oak
- 6 thick cut top sirloin steaks or equivalent
- Coarse ground kosher salt
- Heavy pan or skillet (iron skillet works great)
- Vegetable oil
- Jeff’s Texas style rub
- Basting sauce (recipe below)
Top sirloin is lean, tender and a good beefy flavor that works well in the smoker. I found these at Costco (where I purchase some of the meat that I cook) but if you have trouble finding it, you can also purchase tri-tip and cut it into thick steaks that are 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
I think almost any decent steak would fare well with this same treatment.
This steak has a fat cap on one side which can be easily trimmed off if you prefer.
If there’s one thing that can do more for a steak than anything else, it would have to be dry brining. I have really gotten into this over the last few years due to how effective it is in bringing out the natural flavors of meat.
Dry brining, for those who aren’t familiar, is simply sprinkling salt on a piece of meat. The salt naturally draws moisture to the surface where it mixes together and creates a slurry. The slurry is then drawn back deep into the meat. It’s almost magical!
Maybe I’m easily impressed but it surprises me every time I use this method.. the flavor that it brings out of the meat.
To dry brine a steak like these top sirloin steaks, just lay them flat in a pan and sprinkle coarse ground kosher salt on the top of them. I don’t measure but you can compare the following image to your own for proper salt coverage.
The professionals recommend ½ teaspoon per pound of meat for what it’s worth.
All of them are salted and then the pan of steaks is placed in the fridge for at least 2 hours but I recommend overnight or 8 hours for the full treatment.
Note: There is NO need to rinse the steaks after dry brining.
Here’s an articles that I wrote a while back on wet brining vs. dry brining
Many of us have been reverse searing steaks and other meats for years. It’s a great way to do it but it’s certainly not the only way to do things and this is where I encourage you to get out of your box and try something a little different =)
Reverse searing: A method by which steaks and other meats are smoked/cooked first and then seared just before serving.
For these top sirloin steaks, we are going to pan sear the steaks after dry brining them and before adding any seasoning to the outside. The idea is to add some color and to bring out some of that great flavor that only happens when steaks are seared over a hot flame or in a hot pan.
Note: This pan searing is best done outdoors if possible but indoors is fine if that’s your only option.
Place a heavy skillet on the burner over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil and let it get hot before moving forward. You can also do this on a very hot griddle.
Meanwhile, use a paper towel to dry the steaks. We want them as dry as possible so they will brown with as little steam as possible.
When the grease is hot enough (I usually toss some water droplets into the grease and if they sizzle real good, I know it’s ready), it’s time to do some searing.
If you’re inside using the range, turn on the fan in the hood over the oven and open the doors and windows because there might be some smoke.
Place one or more of the steaks into the pan for about 30-45 seconds. Lift them up periodically to check the color.
When they look good, flip them over.
I like to use my tongs to sear the sides as well just for uniformity of color and flavor throughout.
The temperature in the center of the steaks after searing was around 87°F.
I set the steaks aside and let them cool off before proceeding.
My Texas style rub recipe is excellent on beef and if you haven’t tried it.. well.. you should definitely try it out.
Sprinkle the Texas style rub directly on the steaks or you can do what I did and pour some of the rub out on a flat area and lay the steak in the rub.
Roll the edges in the rub as well to get nice coverage. Use plenty.
The top sirloin steaks are seared, seasoned and ready for the smoker!
I have placed them on a Weber grill pan so I can easily transport them out to the smoker and even leave them on it to smoke.
Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225°F (107°C) with indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
I recommend letting any smoker preheat for 30-60 minutes before using it as this allows all of the metal to heat up and that helps to maintain heat and to recover faster when you open the door or lid.
I used the Camp Chef Woodwind for these awesome steaks but any smoker will work great as long as it can maintain the temperature adequately.
Once the smoker is preheated and ready to go, it’s time to smoke!
Place the Weber grill pan of top sirloin steaks on the grate or you can place the steaks directly onto the grate. Close down the lid or door but don’t go far.. they only take about an hour or less.
Oak wood is really good with these steaks but any good smoking wood will work just fine. I recommend keeping a light smoke going for the entire time they are cooking.
How long they take really depends on their temperature going in which is highly affected by the amount of time they sat on the cabinet during the last dry brining stage, how hot they got during the searing process, meat thickness and, of course, how well your smoker maintains temperature and how many times you open the lid/door to peek.
Use a remote meat thermometer like the Thermoworks “Smoke” if you have it so you can monitor the temperature of the steaks without having to open the lid.
Otherwise use a fast-reading handheld thermometer to quickly check a couple of them and then shut down the lid.
I mixed up a concoction to baste the steaks and it worked really well. It consisted of the following:
- ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup Worcestershire
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 TBS Jeff’s Texas style rub
Stir to combine and continue stirring as you use it as the oil will try to separate from the other liquids.
Use a spoon for best results and so you do not disturb the rub.. a couple of TBS per steak is sufficient.
A basting brush will also work in a pinch.
Baste as quickly as possible and close the lid/door.
When the temperature of the steaks reach about 130°F (54°C), they are a perfect medium rare and can be removed from the smoker.
If the steaks cook unevenly, I remove them individually with tongs as they get done rather than wait on all of them.
It’s always a great idea to let steaks rest for 10 minutes before cutting into them to let the juices calm down and even out.
One of mine got done before the others and it only rested for 3 minutes.. I just had to have a bite!
You can serve these as whole steaks or slice them up ahead of time.. however you like to do it at your house.
These babies got sliced up ¼ inch thick and boy were they beautiful!
I probably ate an entire steak before bringing them in.. irresistibly good!
Lovely edge to edge medium rare, perfectly seasoned all the way through due to the dry brining process and deliciously seasoned on the outside due to my Texas style rub.. you just can’t get no better than this!Print
Seared and Smoked Top Sirloin Steaks
Dry brined and seasoned with my Texas style rub these fast seared, slow smoked top sirloin steaks are without a doubt, the best steak I've had in a long time!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 9 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Entree, Main Course
- Cuisine: Barbecue, Hot Smoking
- 6 Sirloin steaks or equivalent (3/4 inch thick or greater is best)
- 4 tsp Coarse kosher salt
- Heavy pan or skillet (iron skillet works best)
- 2 TBS Vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup Jeff's Texas style rub recipe
- 1/2 cup Soy sauce (low-sodium)
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 2 TBS Texas style rub
- Sprinkle coarse kosher salt onto top sirloin steaks and place into the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. No need to rinse after brining.
- Dry steaks well with paper towel then sear on all sides in heavy skillet over high heat with just a couple of TBS of vegetable oil.
- Let the steaks cool for a few minutes then coat with Jeff’s Texas style rub on all sides.
- Setup smoker for cooking at 225°F (107°C) with indirect heat.
- When the smoker is ready, place the steaks on the grate and let them smoke cook with oak or whatever smoking wood you have available.
- At about 30 minutes in, baste the steaks with the basting sauce. Stir the ingredients constantly as you use it to keep them from separating.
- When the steaks reach 130°F (54°C) as measured with a meat thermometer, remove them from the smoker and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- They can be sliced into ¼ inch slices or served as whole steaks.
Keywords: Sirloin Steak, Smoked Steak
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My experience is that the top sirloin compared to other “steak” cuts, is a bland piece of meat. I followed Jeff’s instructions so that maybe I would think differently, but it didn’t change my opinion. It’ll be good for sandwiches or burritos. I give it a 4 as it turned out tender and just as he said — medium rare.
I tried this one and followed it to the “T”, and it was AMAZING! I used my Oklahoma Joe’s Pellet grill, and they turned out perfect. I used New York strip steaks that were 1.5 inches thick. I used the dry brining overnight, then seared the steaks in a cast iron skillet on my Oklahoma Joe’s pellet grill set to the sear mode, then let them cool before applying the Texas Style Rub that I bought from Jeff. Once cooled, I applied the rub and let them sit until the grill came back down to 225 degrees. I smoked the steaks until one was at 130F for me, and the other was 125F for my wife. Let them rest for 15-20 minutes, and they were the best steaks I have ever cooked, by far! The Texas Style Rub has a pepper forward flavor that my wife and I both loved!
OK, I made “Seared and Smoked Top Sirloin Steaks” for dinner tonight (Sunday). When they were done, we sliced into the steaks and they looked EXACTLY like the picture on your website. But how will they taste? My husband, who is an avid steak eater, had his first bite and it blew his socks off !! Then I tried my steak, absolutely tender, restaurant quality, in fact it was BETTER than eating at a restaurant!! I only had cherry wood for smoking but it complemented the steaks very well. I had our butcher cut the steaks 1 1/2 inches thick and it turned out a perfect medium rare, just how we like it. The only thing that I will change in the future is to use less cayenne in the Texas Rub to suit our taste, otherwise, “OUR HATS ARE OFF TO YOU” Jeff. This recipe is a “keeper”! Your Texas style rub and the basting sauce was an excellent compliment to these steaks. Thanks so much!
Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii…. Bill and Lani
I know I am late to the party on this article, but could you tell any difference between searing the steaks first and then smoking vs. smoking and then searing?
Not a big difference in flavor however by searing them first, I was able to then smoke them to the perfect temperature and get a perfect medium rare. If you sear them last, you would remove them early and let the sear bring them on up to medium rare. It does a pretty good job but you may end up under cooking or over cooking depending on how long it takes to sear them. I definitely prefer searing them first.
Another option is to smoke them to a perfect medium rare then let them rest for 15-20 minutes wrapped in foil. Once they are cooled down a little, you can sear them without worrying about over cooking them.
I’ve been dry brining for so long I’ve forgotten when I first started. At least 30 years now. I now have a new twist – add the salt then sous vide at 125 for several hours, then drop the bag into ice water to cool it. Then, you can sear and smoke as described. What’s different is that it is more tender. That sous vide bath gives it time to break down the tough bits. You can also sear after smoking instead – it all works.
Dry brining works on pork and poultry too.
I’m planning on making this tomorrow. Do you ever flip the steaks while smoking?
I don’t flip them as long as they are on some sort of grate so both sides can get heat and smoke. However, if you decided to cook them on a sheet pan or something like that inside of the smoker, it would then make sense to flip them halfway through so both sides could get the heat and smoke.
Oh my. Smoked this tonight and it was fabulous. I won the neighborhood. Jeff, you made me a hero and to that I say bravo!
you should also sell the recipe to that dipping sauce, you had it in one of your news letter recipes, I made a batch with the meat that time and the family was nuts for that dipping sauce, my son said “It was like Canes sauce on Styrroids” now I only make it times 5 or it’s gone before it makes it all the way around the table.
I’ve been reading your newsletter for a while now, and it’s great. Got your recipes, and they’re great, too. Thanks. I’ve been contemplating purchasing the Camp Chef Woodwind Smoker and decided today to go for it, based on your recommendation. To my surprise, the price jumped $100 since a week ago. Do you know if their prices go up and down based on the time of year or holiday we’re close to? (Just had fathers’ day.)
Love your post! I am going to try these delicious smoked steaks this weekend on my brand new smoker! Got to test it out somehow, right? Yum!
This looks delicious. Going to try it tomorrow. I do have some picky family members though that like their steaks medium well. Should I just smoke their steaks a bit longer? If so what would you recommend?
My wife also likes her steaks closer to medium well. I’m thinking I’ll need to use 2 temp sensors to monitor them, but my concern is how much earlier I would need to put her steak in as I like mine closer to rare.
I did this one yesterday. Turned out great. Thanks for sharing.