Easy 3 Hour Smoker Recipes For Beginners or Busy BBQers

Although smoking food is often associated with long cook times, there are still 3 hour smoker recipes and ideas that don’t compromise on taste or results. Here are some of our favourite easy smoker recipes that can be done in 3 hours or less.

3 Hour Smoker Recipes For Beginners
3 Hour Smoker Recipes For Beginners and Busy BBQers

Easy 3 Hour Smoker Recipes For Beginners or Busy BBQers

Competition Style BBQ Ribs

Although some people prefer their ribs to have a fall off the bone texture, BBQ competitions aim for a firm bite in the middle of ribs. This can be achieved in 2-3 hours if you smoke your ribs at 300F or 149C.

Essentially you season the ribs with your favourite BBQ rub all over, and then smoke them in your smoker for around 2 1/4 hours until the internal of the ribs reaches  203-205°F or 95-96°C.

You’ll know you’ve done it right if you get a firm bite in the middle of the ribs with a pull off the bone texture as opposed to a fall off the bone texture.

Click below for the full article.

3 Hour Smoker Recipes – Competition Style Smoked BBQ Ribs

Smoked Turkey Breast on the Pellet Grills

You can smoke turkey breast within 3 hours without too much trouble at all. All you need to do is smoke it slow and low in your smoker for 2+ hours until the internal temperature comes up to 175F or 79C.

It will even feed 6-8 people and they’ll be amazed at the delicious smoky flavours and how tender and juicy the turkey meat is.

BBQ Smoked Meatloaf

If you raise the temperature in your smoker to 325F (163C) you can smoke this delicious, cheesy meatloaf in less than 3 hours – in fact closer to 2 hours.

Brushed with BBQ sauce and wrapped in bacon this is a fantastic quick smoker recipe.

It’s definitely up there with the best 3 hour smoker recipes!

Smoked Pork Loin

Unlike smoking pork shoulder for pulled pork, a pork loin (or pork roast) can be smoked in 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

You can watch the process of smoking pork loin in our Instagram video below.

Smoked Lamb Chops

Smaller cuts of meat such as lamb chops are always going to have a smoking time of less than 3 hours, in a similar way to steaks.

This recipe comes with plenty of advice on how to keep the chops juicy as well as optional gold potatoes flavoured with the lamb juices.

Depending on which cut of lamb you opt for (chop, loin, steak etc) and the size of it smoking times will vary, but they’ll always be well within 3 hours.

3 Hour Smoker Recipes – Lamb Chops

Reverse Seared Smoked Tomahawk Steak

Steaks are perfect for smoking well within 3 hours, even a larger bone-in cut such as Tomahawk steak (Cowboy Ribeye).

The reverse sear method involves smoking the steak slow and low in your smoker for around an hour or so to take on plenty of smoke flavour, and then searing the steak on both sides at high heat at the end of the process. You can do this in a pan or directly on the grills, but you’ll need to increase the heat in your smoker to at least 450F (232C).

3 Hour Smoker Recipes – Tomahawk Steak

Quick Pellet Smoker Recipes

If you have a pellet smoker such as Pit Boss, Z Grills or Traeger etc you will be able to smoke at a consistent temperature with just the turn of a dial. The following 3 hour recipes are written with a pellet grill in mind, but of course you can use what ever smoker you have – offset, drum smoker or stick burner.

However you choose to smoke them these ideas are quick and easy smoker recipes.

Smoked Tri Tip Steak on the Pellet Smoker

Tri tip steak is a triangular shaped cut of steak that can be smoked in 2-3 hours on the pellet grills.

It’s a great alternative to smoking brisket (which can take up to 16 hours) and unlike brisket you can serve it medium rare. Smoke it slow and low until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F (54-57C) for medium-rare or 135-145F (57-63C) for medium.

Pellet Grill Smoked Tri Tip Recipe

Pit Boss Smoked Salmon

If you use salmon fillets rather than the whole fish, you can easily smoke salmon within a 3 hour period, in fact closer to 2 hours.

You smoke the salmon at 225F (107C) over your wood of choice to an internal temperature of 145F.

This is a delicious and quick way to enjoy smoked fish.

Pellet Grill Smoked Salmon

Z Grills Smoked Duck

This delicious whole smoked duck recipe from Z Grills is done in around 3 hours. You will need to remove the backbone of the duck first (ie spatchcock it).

You smoke the spatchcocked duck at 250F (121C) until the internal temperature registers 170F or 77C. If you want to cook in less time than that you could raise the temperature you smoke at to 275F.

Smoked Duck 3 Hour Smoker Recipe

1 Hour Smoker Recipes

If you are willing to increase the heat in your smoker you can even smoke up some great meals in an hour or less. Using smaller cuts of meat such as sausage, chicken wings thighs or breasts, steaks, lamb or pork chops you can save a lot of time and extra effort.

You might enjoy our article on 1 hour smoker recipes.

Smoked Hot Dogs Recipe

Hot dogs are an easy and quick thing to smoke and only take an hour or less. This article shows you how to make a crisscross pattern (Hedgehog style) which allows the sausages to take on even more smoke.

1 Hour Smoker Recipes – Smoked Hot Dogs

3 Hour Smoker Recipes FAQ’s

What Can you Smoke in 3 Hours?

You might be surprised at what you can smoke within 3 hours or less. Here are some ideas.

  • Tri Tip Steak
  • Tomahawk Steak
  • Competition Style Ribs
  • Country Style Ribs
  • Chicken Wings
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Duck Breasts
  • Salmon Fillets
  • Trout Fillets
  • Lobsters
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Prawns
  • Kebabs such as Chicken, Pork, Prawns
  • Lamb Chops
  • Pork Chops
  • Pork Loin
  • Whole Chickens
  • Any kind of vegetable – such as squash, corn on the cob, eggplant (aubergine), carrots, cabbage etc

What Can you Cook Quickly in a Smoker?

There are quite a few things you can cook quickly in a smoker. Here are some ideas:

  • Steaks e.g. ribeye or sirloin (up to 1 hour)
  • Pork tenderloin (1-2 hours)
  • Pork Loin (2-3 hours)
  • Chicken wings, thighs or breasts (1-2 hours)
  • Squash (up to 1 hour)
  • Pumpkins (up to 1 hour)
  • Eggplant or aubergine (up to 1 hour)
  • Corn on the cob (up to 1 hour)
  • Cabbage (up to 1 hour)
  • Cauliflower steaks (up to 1 hour)
  • Broccoli steaks (up to 1 hour)
  • Eggs (1-2 hours)

For more ideas try our 2 hour smoker recipes article. If you really want to smoke in the fast lane try our 1 hour smoker recipes article.

What Smokes in 4 Hours?

If you have up to 4 hours smoking time then you can cook the following:

  • Whole chickens (3+ hours depending on size)
  • Turkey breast (3-4 hours)
  • Tri Tip Steak (3-4 hours)
  • Pork loin (3-4 hours)
  • Lamb leg 3-4 hours)
  • Baby Back ribs (3-4 hours)
  • Whole duck (3-4 hours)
  • Tomahawk steak (1-2 hours)
  • Ribeye steak (up to 1 hour)
  • Prime rib (3-4 hours depending on size)

What Meat Takes Less Time to Smoke?

Any smaller meat cuts take less time to smoke. For example chicken breasts, thighs or wings, pork chops, lamb chops, individual cuts of steak e.g. sirloin or ribeye, chicken, pork, lamb or beef kebabs. Seafood of any kind also takes less time to smoke e.g. lobster, scallops, fish fillets or oysters.

Click the link for a related article on the best meats to smoke. If you would like to devote more time to smoking it can give you some more options – click the link for 5 hour smoker recipes.

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