The sugar in the rub will not add sweetness to the steaks. Instead, as it melts, the stickiness helps the smoke from the wood chips adhere to and permeate into the meat. The amount of wood chips listed here creates a lightly smoked flavor that complements the meat. For a deeper smoke, add a second handful of soaked wood chips halfway through the first cooking stage.
hickory wood chips, a smoke box (if using a gas grill), spatula or tongs and an instant-read thermometer
About 2 hours before grilling, pat the steaks dry and return to the refrigerator, uncovered.
Season the steaks all over with the sugar and 2 tablespoons each kosher salt and pepper. Let the steaks come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 1 1/2 cups hickory wood chips in water, 30 minutes; drain.
Preheat a grill to very low and prepare for indirect cooking: On a gas grill, turn off half the burners; on a charcoal grill, bank the coals to one side. When the grill registers 225˚ F, add the wood chips: On a gas grill, fill a smoke box with the chips and place over direct heat; on a charcoal grill, sprinkle the chips over the coals.
Place the steaks on the cooler side of the grill (indirect heat) with the strip side (the larger side) closest to the heat. Cover the grill and cook the steaks until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centers registers 110˚ F, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a baking sheet and tent with foil to keep warm.
Increase the grill heat and prepare for direct cooking: On a gas grill, turn on all of the burners; on a charcoal grill, build a hot fire with new coals. Once the grill registers 425˚ F to 450˚ F, place the steaks over direct heat and cook, turning often and moving the meat around if it flares up, until a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 125˚ F for medium rare, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
Wood chips should go over direct heat. On a charcoal grill, sprinkle the chips over the coals. On a gas grill, put the chips in a smoke box and set on the grates over direct heat.