Smoked Red Rind Steak

Ever had “red-rind steak?” It was a treat as a kid, but times have changed since then – until now. Resurrected this old favorite with a 21st century twist. Uncle Smokey here with a recipe and story about how I spent my summer vacation.

What is Red-Rind Steak?

This is a special kind of meat you buy at the deli counter of the local supermarket. You have them slice it to the thickness you want, and take it home and (usually) make sandwiches out of it. You have to peel off that red-rind first though.

Have you twigged to the kind of “steak” it is yet? How about if I share that it is made out of all the left over bits of beef except the teeth, the toes, and the tail?

Back in the Great Depression, families would be happy if they got some of this once a week. It was often the only meat they had for the week. And the meat is – baloney. The joke was that they would be so well off they ate “steak” once a week.


Tip of the Cowboy Hat

Cooks pass their ideas around, and we all tweak the ideas to fit our own taste buds. Back in the pre-electronic age, this idea sharing was in person, or maybe cookbooks. Then we had television and folks like James Beard and Julia Child. Now we have YouTube, and I tune in once a week to Cowboy Kent Rollings to see what he is cooking up. Lots of good smoking and barbecue, as well as good old fashioned dutch oven cooking. A while ago Kent made some smoked red-rind steak, and I have been thinking on it ever since.

Vacation Means Visiting Old Friends

Usually when I vacation, I visit old friends and they feed me. This year I invited folks over to where I was staying and fed them. (Not sure some of them quite enjoyed the Sonoran Hot dogs – but that’s another story.) As an hors d’oeuvre, I offered smoked red-rind steak to one batch of friends. They almost didn’t have room for dinner they liked it so much!


Red Rind Steak

Start with a 4 or 5 pound piece of baloney – unsliced.
Cut a groove in the top to help hold the basting sauce.
Cut diamond patterned cross hatches into your baloney like and Easter ham – about 3 /4 to 1 inch deep.

Basting Sauce

You will need about a cup or so of sauce. It will be about the consistency of a vinaigrette salad dressing, because you want it thin enough to get down inside the cross hatches and infuse flavor. You could use the honey dressing I mentioned before – here, but this is how I made mine.

1/ 3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons onion powder 
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper (or cayanne)
NO salt! baloney is salty enough

Ideally make the sauce the day before so the herbs infuse into the vinegar. I was making this for a crowd of folks that didn’t like “heat” so I left out the hot peppers, but feel free to add some cayenne or the like.


Smoke the Steak.

Baste the baloney well, and place it on your smoker.
Fill the groove at the top with sauce and let it runnel down into the meat.
Baste every half hour our so.
Smoke over a fluid filled pan to help keep your red-rind nice and moist. I filled the pan with water and a dash of apple cider vinegar, but you could use apple juice.
Smoke your red-rind for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is already cooked so maintaining temperature is not so critical.
Ideally use a fruit tree wood, I did mine over apple wood.



As an hors d’oeuvre, cut your red-rind steak into chunks and insert a tooth pick for ease of eating. Or offer smaller slices on crackers.
Alternatively you can slice your red-rind up and eat it in a sandwich. Or slice it thick and eat it instead of ham steak with your morning eggs.  Or “Dagwood” it – just stand at the fridge door and gnaw on some. Pretty tasty for those midnight snacks.

Thanks for reading!

The Savor Team

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