Top 10 Meats to Smoke on a Pellet Grill

If you are in need of some ideas and recommendations for the top 10 meats to smoke on a pellet grill this article will bring you plenty of value.

While one person’s Top 10 will differ to another’s there are some definite classic, popular meats to smoke that many people consider among the best meats to smoke on your smoker. There are simply some bona fide classic dishes that are hard to argue with.

You can always find your own way to create a twist on tried and true smoked meat dishes of course, whether that is in terms of the woods you pair them with or the sauces and side dishes used. That being said, it’s also worth keeping in mind that some things just straight up work and ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’

Top 10 Meats to Smoke on a Pellet Grill
Top 10 Meats to Smoke on a Pellet Grill Ideas

Top 10 Meats to Smoke on a Pellet Grill

1 Smoked Beef Brisket

Love it or hate it, everybody who wants to BBQ wants to be smoking brisket at some stage or another. It’s an undeniable staple of BBQ that can be served in sandwiches, along with fries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, in tacos and burritos, with mac and cheese – the list goes on and on.

Brisket is just one of those cuts that is perfect for smoking slow and low – it comes from the chest of the animal which means it is being used all the time and so it has plenty of tough connective tissue to break down. Large cuts of meat requiring hours of low and slow cooking to break down the collagen are surely what a pellet smoker exists for.

You can smoke a whole brisket or just the flat or the point (the 2 components of the brisket cut) but however you do it you are going to end up with some tasty, tender smoked meat with a delicious bark. Cut it into thin slices and there’s not really anything else like it.

Get your pellet grill up to temperature, dust the beef with your favourite BBQ rub and smoke the brisket at 225F or 107C for roughly 90 minutes per pound of meat. If you have a 12 pound brisket it will take around 18 hours in the smoker, so you need to be prepared for a long smoke.

When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 165-170 F or74-77 C wrap the brisket tightly in foil or butcher’s paper and add a little liquid (e.g. apple juice) and return it to the smoker. Cook until the brisket reaches a final temperature of 195F or 91C.

In terms of wood choice try mesquite or hickory for a strong smoke taste and cherry or apple wood for a more subtle and fruity smoke flavour.

Top 10 Meats to Smoke – Beef Brisket

2 Pork Shoulder For Pulled Pork

Smoked pulled pork is probably just as popular at a BBQ as brisket, and it needs to be treated in a similar way – a long smoke with the pork being wrapped and steamed for the second part of the cook.

Serve it with nachos, chilli con carne, in tacos or burritos even on top of pizza. It’s a versatile and delicious meat to smoke and serve.

Cover your pork shoulder with your favourite BBQ rub and smoke it slow and low at 225F or 107C until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F or 74C . Wrap it tightly in tinfoil with a little liquid (apple juice or butter) and return to the smoker until it reaches a final fork tender temperature of 200-205F or 93-96C.

Classic wood choices include apple or hickory, but cherry works well too.

Top 10 Meats to Smoke – Pulled Pork

3 Pork Ribs (Baby Back or Spare Ribs)

Pork ribs are easily among the Top 10 meats to smoke, and their popularity at a BBQ seems set to continue. Baby Back ribs are the smaller cut of the 2, with spare ribs being larger and fattier and this means Baby Back ribs take a little bit less time to smoke.

You can use the spare ribs 321 method which is as follows:

  • Smoke the ribs for 3 hours unwrapped at 225 or 107C in your smoker
  • Wrap the ribs tightly in foil with a little liquid (butter, apple juice etc) and smoke for 2 more hours
  • Remove the ribs from the foil brush with your favourite BBQ sauce and place back in the smoker until they reach a final internal temperature of 195-200F or 91-93C

If you are smoking Baby Back ribs you can shave around an hour off the whole smoking time using the 2-2-1 method for ribs. This method is the same as the 3-2-1 method except that you smoke the ribs unwrapped for the first 2 hours instead of 3 before wrapping them.

If you like your ribs with a bite you could try the Competition style ribs approach which involves smoking the ribs at a higher heat of 275F or 135C for 2 hours before wrapping them in foil and finishing them off in the smoker for another 45 minutes or an hour until they reach 195-200F (91-93C) or so.

Pork ribs are great with hickory, pecan, apple or cherry wood.

4 Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Smoked beef short ribs are absolutely delicious and can be cooked in around 5 hours on your pellet grill.

Smoke them at 225F or 107C for 3 hours unwrapped then wrap them in tinfoil with some beef broth (stock) for another 2 hours or so until the internal temperature reaches 200F or 93C.

5 Smoked Sausages

Sausages are one of the best quick meats to smoke and can be enjoyed in lots of different ways. Serve your smoked sausage with mash and sauerkraut, in buns for hot dogs, in casseroles, jambalayas or pasta to mention just a few options.

You can smoke any sausage at 225F or 107C in 1-2 hours and it can be fun to smoke a few different varieties to see which one is your favourite – it could be Chorizo, Bratwurst, Boerewors, Andouille or Italian sausage.

Top 10 Meats to Smoke - Sausages
Top 10 Meats to Smoke – Sausage

6 Whole Smoked Chicken (Optionally on a Beer Can!)

Smoking a whole chicken (or 2-3 at once) is always going to be a top meat to smoke. If you really want to go all out try smoking one in your smoker on top of a half empty beer can! See the Instagram video below to see the process.

If you smoke your chicken at 225F or 107C it will take around 2-3 hours to cook aiming for a final internal temperature of 165F or 74C. Chicken pairs well with apple, hickory or pecan for a slightly nutty and sweet smoke favour.

Top 10 Meats to Smoke – Smoked Whole Chicken (on a beer can)

7 Smoked Whole Turkey

Turkey is a lean and tasty meat for smoking which many people think about smoking at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but is well worth a go at any time of the year.

If you want to make sure it doesn’t dry out in the smoker you could consider brining it overnight in a cooler in the fridge. Submerge the whole turkey in enough water to cover it, add salt, sugar and any herbs or spices you want.

At a smoking temperature of 225F or 107C it will take around 4-6 hours to smoke a whole turkey depending on its size. Spritz it with apple cider vinegar every hour or so to stop it drying out.

8 Prime Rib

Prime rib is another top meat to smoke especially on special occasions such as Holidays.

It will aorund 5 hours to smoke at the our favourite slow and low temperature of 225F or 107C. Rub it with your favourite BBQ rub, place it in your pellet grill and let your smoker do its thing, until the beef reaches 125F or 52C internal temperature.

Rest before removing the bones and slicing. Serve with all the trimmings!

9 Reverse Seared Steaks

Steaks are always a great meat to smoke, especially using the Reverse Sear Method.

Preheat your smoker to 225F or 107C and then smoke your favourite cut of steak with the lid down for around 45 minutes to an hour to take on smoke flavour.

To get a great char and crust, finish them off at a high heat for a couple of minutes a side on your pellet grill or in a pan on the hob to your desired level of doneness.

You can also grill them at high for just a few minutes a side but they won’t have time to take on as much smoke flavour as they would if you cook them low and slow first.

10 Smoked Lamb Shoulder

Smoked lamb shoulder for pulled lamb is an absolute treat that is well worth trying. You treat it much like pulled pork and you serve it in a similar way – in sandwiches with BBQ sauce etc.

Smoke the lamb shoulder at 250F or 121C until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F or 74C (4-5 hours) and then wrap it tightly in tinfoil. Return it to the smoker until it reaches a final internal temperature of 200-204F or 93-96C.

It should be fork tender just like pulled pork but with that delicious slightly gamey flavour of lamb.

Cheap Meats to Smoke

Certain cuts of meat are cheaper than others because they require a lot more time to cook – these are the best options for smoking low and slow until the tough connective tissue breaks down. Here are some ideas for cheap meats to smoke:

  • Beef Shin
  • Beef Cheeks
  • Oxtail (the tail of the cow)
  • Chuck steak
  • Chicken Wings
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Chuck roast (great for pulled beef)
  • Feather blade or top blade steak (from the cow’s shoulder)
  • Round steak or silverside/topside (from the hindquarters of the cow)
  • Pork Chops
  • Whole Chicken

Unconventional Meats to Smoke

If you are looking for some unique smoker recipes try below for some ideas:

  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Ostrich
  • Kangaroo
  • Elk
  • Alligator or Crocodile
  • Cornish Hens
  • Wild Turkey
  • Wild Boar
  • Bison
  • Venison

What Can You Smoke in a Smoker For Christmas

If you want to smoke some meat for Christmas then your best options are probably a whole turkey or prime rib.

You could also consider smoking salmon for one of the best pellet grill appetizers.

What are the Top 3 Meats to Smoke?

If we are thinking in terms of popularity and classic dishes then the top 3 meats to smoke would have to be beef brisket, pork butt for pulled pork and BBQ pork ribs.

Hopefully this article will have given you plenty of ideas of what to smoke this weekend or at your nexr cookout!

If you enjoyed this article let us know in the comments below or tag us on Instagram @bbqgrillshub!


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