meats for smoking

Top 10 Best Meats to Smoke Recipes – Meats for Smoking At Home

Here is a list of our Top 10 best meats to smoke – meats for smoking at home, our best meats to smoke recipes. Smoking meat is both an art and science, and choosing the right meat and cut for the occasion is crucial for success and your desired outcome.

These meats are in no particular order of preference – they are all delicious meats to smoke recipes.

We have left links to our recommended recipe for each one of these best meats to smoke.

Remember that times are only a rough guide for smoking – we always cook to internal temperature of the meat. 

Make sure you carefully check the internal temperature of the meats you are smoking, according to each meats for smoking recipe.

Best Meats to Smoke Over Wood
Best Meats to Smoke Over Wood and Fire

1 Best Meats For Smoking – Beef Brisket – One of the Absolute Best Smoker Recipes

Let’s start off with the big one. Smoking a brisket is one of those things a barbecuer has just got to do. It’s like a rite of passage, and it’s one of the most popular meats for smoking.

Once you have figured out how many guests you have, and what side dishes you will serve with your brisket, you will be ready to choose the weight of your brisket.

Be warned though – smoking brisket takes a long time in the BBQ smoker (it can take 10+ hours – some even say 18) and you will also have to factor in preparation and resting time.

It’s definitely worth it in the end, and definitely best done at the weekend or holidays when you have more time. 

The article teaches you how to save time and avoid the dreaded ‘stall,’ where the temperature in the brisket ‘stalls,’ sometimes for hours. 

The classic Texas Crutch method of wrapping your brisket in tinfoil or butcher’s paper for part of the cook is explained in detail here.

You might also enjoy ‘Top 5 Recipes For Brisket.’

2 Best Meats For Smoking – Baby Back Ribs Smoked Using the 3-2-1 method 

Baby Back Ribs are one of the tastiest meats for smoking. 

They come from high on the pig’s back where they meet the backbone. They are more tender and shorter than the Spare Ribs which are cut from along the pig’s breastbone. 

You can of course use this same method with Spare Ribs (which are cheaper and less popular than Baby Back) or with beef ribs.

The 3-2-1 method involves:

  • 3 hours in the smoker cooking directly on the grills at 110°C or 225°F
  • Cooking for 2 hours wrapped in tinfoil or butcher’s paper with a splash of cider or apple juice
  • Cooking at a higher heat for an hour unwrapped being basted with BBQ sauce

Check out a another really good recipe for Baby Back Ribs 321 Method try here:

3 Best Meats To Smoke For Leanness – Venison Loin

Venison loin (also called backstrap) is one of leanest meats for smoking. The meat is very low in fat because the animal is so active in its lifetime. 

Enjoy it thinly sliced and served with a buttery mash and vegetables. 

It will take around 2 hours in the smoker at 110°C or 225°F, and should be enjoyed medium rare.

This fantastic recipe for Smoked Venison has a delicious citrus marinade.

4 Meats to Smoke – Smoked Sausage 

Smoked sausage might at first sound a little obvious.

Not when you realise, we are thinking German sausage served Berlin-style in a crusty roll with mustard and ketchup. 

You can also serve it with ketchup mixed with curry powder, called a Currywurst.

Also this recipe involves making your own sausage from scratch at home using natural hog casings.

It isn’t your average smoked sausage recipe.

Of course, you don’t have to make it from scratch you can buy your own sausages. But hey, it just isn’t as much fun.

Serve it in a crusty roll with mustard and ketchup and smoky onions. Delicious.

Sauerkraut and fries are optional.

5 Meats For Smoking – Whole Chicken on a Beer Can – Best Fun Meat to Smoke

While this might sound like a bit of a gimmick, you owe it to yourself to try this meats to smoke recipe at least once in your life.

Essentially you drink half a tin of beer and then place a whole chicken (covered with a dry rub) on top of the can, and place it in the smoker.

The steam from the beer keeps the chicken moist and imparts flavour. 

Also it’s just a whole heap of fun.

It will take a whole chicken around 3 hours to smoke at 121°C or 250°F.

Here’s a great recipe for you to try here:

6 Best Smoked Meats – Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak has become an increasingly popular cut in recent times, and it is definitely one of the more fun and satisfying meats to smoke.

The cut actually comes from the rear of the cow at the lower part of the sirloin, and it is triangle-shaped.

It’s a pretty lean cut so it won’t take anywhere near the time to smoke that a brisket would. 

In fact it only takes around 2 hours to smoke.

7 Best Meats For Smoking – Fish

Some people oddly don’t consider fish as meat, but we think that fish can be one of the most delicious meats to smoke.

Meat is eating the flesh of an animal that was once alive, so there’s no question it’s a form of meat.

A lot of barbecuers forget about seafood and how delicious it can be when smoked.

Salmon or rainbow trout are probably the most common fish to smoke but there are a whole host of other options.

For a great general guide to hot smoking various types of fish try here:

Despite the name, Pork Butt is actually pork shoulder. It also happens to be one of the best meats to smoke, especially for beginners.

It’s fairly straightforward, although it does take quite a while.

It’s a very rewarding smoke, and part and parcel of becoming a good barbecuer.

You can find a great recipe for Smoked Pork here:

9 Best Meat For Smoking At Holiday Times – Whole Turkey

Turkey isn’t just a meat for Christmas (or Thanksgiving in the US) it’s a fantastic lean meat to cook all year round.

It is also up there with the best meats to smoke, taking on that robust smoky flavour really well.

This big bird will take between 6-7 to cook in the smoker, and you can stuff it with delicious flavours and cover it in a BBQ rub to enhance the flavours.

Try this recipe for Smoked Turkey, and you won’t be disappointed:

10 One of the Most Impressive and Best Meats to Smoke – The Mighty Tomahawk Steak

The mighty Tomahawk steak (named after the Tomahawk axe because of its shape) is 100% one of our favourite meats to smoke. 

It is essentially a number of Ribeye Steaks in one and unlike most steak cuts, it’s still is attached to the bone. It just looks super impressive and tastes even better.

FAQ’s About the Best Meats to Smoke

What Meats are Good to Smoke?

Large and inexpensive cuts of meat such as brisket, pork shoulder or even whole chicken or turkey are good to smoke. Individual and expensive meat or steak cuts are better grilled than smoked.

Best Meats to Smoke for Beginners

If you are new to smoking the best meats to smoke will be the smaller cuts that take the least time – chicken wings, pork chops, lamb chops, chicken drumsticks, chicken thighs, turkey legs, or small pieces of lamb, beef, pork on the skewers for kabobs/kebabs.

Individual steaks such as ribeye or sirloin, as well as sausages (such as Bratwurst) have a short smoke time for beginners as well.

It’s also worth considering white fish such as sea bass or cod, as well as Rainbow Trout and shellfish such as oysters or crab because they won’t take very long to smoke either.

Despite the longer smoke time, pork butt is one of the best meats to smoke for beginners because it is very forgiving and difficult to get wrong.

Leave the more difficult beef brisket until you have done your research and got used to your BBQ Smoker. 

FAQ’s About Best Meat Cuts For Smoking

Best Meat Cuts for Smoking

Many people think the best meat cuts for smoking are large, cheap cuts which can be cooked for long periods of time to break down the tough fatty connective tissue – for example brisket, pork butt or ribs.

However, the best meat cuts for smoking for you may be the ones that cook more quickly and still take on a good amount of smoke flavour, such as chicken wings/thighs/breasts, kebab meat, lamb chops, pork chops or sausages such as Bratwursts.

Does Smoking Meat Cook it?

Smoking meat means cooking it over an indirect heat away from open flames. The heat and smoke cook the meat slowly over time resulting in the meat being tenderised, breaking the connective tissues down for a melt in the mouth tasty result. 

What are some Easy and Quick Meats to Smoke?

Easy and quick smoker recipes would include smaller pieces of meat such as chicken drumsticks, thighs or wings, pork chops, lamb chops, individual ribeye steaks. Shish kebabs done on skewers with lamb, chicken or pork pieces are also a good quick and easy option.

Meats such as pork shoulder (pork butt) for pulled pork and beef brisket take a long time to smoke and tenderise – brisket can take 18-20 hours, and it isn’t easy to get right.

Check out our ‘Smoked Tomahawk Steak Recipe,’ article if you want to try out one of the most exciting meats to smoke.

For another good article on best meats to smoke with some of the best smoker recipes try this one:

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1 thought on “Top 10 Best Meats to Smoke Recipes – Meats for Smoking At Home”

  1. two things I smoke are Salt and Garlic (not in the same pan). Garlic I take, cut the tops off to expose all the cloves, then I wrap it in a 6 x 6-inch piece of tin foil, then drizzle on some olive oil. Then I sprinkle it with Italian Seasonings. I will do 10 to 15 of these at a time, because people love it so much. Then when I am smoking something else, these will go on the 225-degree smoker at the start of the smoke process. I smoke some for an hour and some for 90 minutes
    Salt, I use Kosher Salt, put it in a tin pie plate, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. I place this on the smoker when doing something else, temp is at 225, and stir every once in a while, and remove when your salt has enough smoke.
    I have taken some of the garlic cloves I have smoked for 1 hour, removed the waste and placed put them in my food dehydrator and dried them out, and turned them into a fine powder. Now this finely powdered garlic and that smoked salt put in to small pepper grinder, is absoutly delicious

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