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posted November 28, 2022

Sweet and Sticky Steak Bites

These steak bites are a sweet and sticky little nugget of beef. They make for an awesome appetizer, but they’re so good you could even serve these as the main dish. 

Steak bites piled on a white serving platter with text overlay - Sweet and Sticky Steak Bites.

Steak Bites

These little steak bites were made famous in my “Will it Burnt Ends?” series on Instagram. Super tender, medium rare pieces of filet get the burnt ends treatment with smoke, sauce, and a healthy dose of brown sugar and butter. More appropriately named “Steak bites” than burnt ends, you won’t really care what they’re called once you have that first bite.

Fun fact! I cooked these little burnt end steak bites at the Memphis in May International BBQ Festival and turned them in for the “Anything Beef” category and they came in 6th place out of hundreds of teams. They are definitely a non-traditional way to prepare a steak as fancy as a filet, but the combination of flavors and textures is absolutely phenomenal.

Steak bite being dipped into an activated charcoal BBQ rub.

Steak cube being dipped into a seasoning mixture of Sweet Rub and Beef Rub.

Ingredients for Steak Bites

Here’s what you’ll need to make these steak bites.

This recipe uses a lot of Hey Grill Hey Store products, but you can always use your favorites in place of what’s listed here, or you can make them all from scratch. Here are ingredient swaps if you need them:

  • Beef Rub. Use equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Sweet Rub. Make from scratch using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub.
  • Everything Sauce. Substitute for any ketchup-based BBQ sauce or make your own Kansas City BBQ Sauce at home.
  • Charcoal Rub. If you don’t have any charcoal rub, or you don’t want to buy any, you can substitute this for salt, pepper, and garlic powder, but go heavier on the black pepper.

Seasoned steak bites on the grill grates of a smoker.

How to Make Steak Bites

Once you have all your ingredients (or their substitutes) ready to go, it’s time to turn on that smoker and get these bites cooking! Here’s how to make steak bites.

  1. Preheat. Turn on your favorite pellet grill or smoker and preheat it to 225 degrees F. I used oak wood for this recipe.
  2. Cube the steak. Remove any silverskin from the steak. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the outside of the steaks as well. Next, slice the steaks into 1 1/2-inch cubes, trying to make each cube equal in size.
  3. Season. Mix the Sweet Rub and Beef Rub in a small bowl to combine. Pour the Midnight charcoal rub onto a plate. Dip the top and bottom of each steak cube into the charcoal rub, and then dip the sides in the Sweet Rub/Beef Rub mix. Set each seasoned piece of meat onto a flat cooling rack. Repeat until every piece of meat is seasoned.
  4. Smoke. Place the cooling rack holding the seasoned steak onto the smoker. Close the lid, and smoke for an hour, or until the steak reaches 120 degrees F.
  5. Sauce. Move the steak bites to a 12-inch cast iron skillet or disposable aluminum pan. Pour the BBQ sauce over the meat, and then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Dot the meat with pads of butter.
  6. Finish smoking. Return the skillet or pan to the smoker and close the lid. Continue to smoke the steak until it reaches a final internal temperature of 130 degrees F.
  7. Dig in. Allow the bites to cool slightly before serving. These guys are great as-is, or you can serve them with a little extra BBQ sauce for dipping if desired.

Steak bites on the smoker reading a temperature of 120 degrees F.

How Long to Cook Steak Bites

It takes around 1 to 1 1/2 hours to cook these steak bites.

Steak is much better when cooked to a specific temperature rather than for a certain amount of time. For the initial smoke, cook the steak until it reaches 120 degrees F. After you sauce the steak bites, continue to smoke them until they reach a final temperature of 130 degrees F.

Make sure you have a reliable instant-read thermometer handy for this recipe. Having the meat cooked to the right temperature will make all the difference. You don’t want to end up with overcooked, chewy steak, that’s for sure!

Steak bites being dipped into BBQ sauce and placed back on the grill grates of the smoker.

Tips for Making Steak Bites

If you’ve never made steak bites before, they can be a little bit tricky to get right. Here are the best tips I can give you to ensure your steak is cooked perfectly and tastes amazing. 

  • Save some cash. Don’t want to spring for filet? You can totally make these bites with a cheaper cut of steak (sirloin or strip would work just fine), but be prepared for more chew/texture in the meat itself. If your steaks are thinner than a filet, you’ll need to adjust and shorten your cook time.
  • Lean into a heavy smoke profile for the first step. Your steak bites will only be in the smoke for about an hour, so make sure there is a strong wood on the fire to get as much into the meat as possible. I like oak or even mesquite for this recipe. The more smoke flavor the better!

Steak bites piled on a white serving platter.

More Smoked Steak Recipes

If you’re looking for something a little fancier for dinner this week, try out these other smoked steak recipes. Oh, and be sure to save that steak temperature and doneness guide. It has everything you need to get your steak cooked to the perfect temperature

Steak Bites Recipe

Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to helping you make better BBQ so you can feed the people you love and become a backyard BBQ hero. If you’re looking to up your BBQ game, join The Grill Squad. It’s my members-only BBQ group that is packed full of awesome pitmaster classes and other amazing perks (like a running discount on my store!) Check it out today!

Steak bites piled on a white serving platter.

Sweet and Sticky Steak Bites

Susie Bulloch
These steak bites are a sweet and sticky little nugget of beef. They make for an awesome appetizer, but they're so good you could even serve these as the main dish. 
Prep Time : 20 mins
Cook Time : 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time : 1 hr 50 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 731kcal

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Prepare the steaks. Carefully trim away any silverskin or large chunks of fat on the outside of the steaks. Cut the steaks into 1 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Season. Pour the Sweet Rub and Beef Rub onto a small plate and mix to combine. Pour the Midnight Rub on a second place. Dip the top and bottom of each steak bite into the Midnight Rub and then roll the sides in the Sweet Rub. Set the seasoned bites onto a flat cooling rack. Repeat until all of the steak pieces are seasoned.
  • Smoke the steak bites. Transfer the cooling rack with the steak bites onto the smoker grates. Close the lid and smoke for about an hour, or until the steak bites reach 120 degrees F.
  • Sauce. Transfer the steak bites to a cast iron skillet or aluminum pan. Drizzle with the BBQ sauce, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly across the bites and dot with pats of butter.
  • Smoke again. Place the skillet back on the smoker, close the lid, and continue cooking until the steaks reach 130 degrees F, the butter has melted and the sauce has tightened around the steak bites. Serve warm.

Notes

Sweet Rub

Nutrition

Calories: 731kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 811mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 858IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 190mg | Iron: 9mg
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