The Best Meats to Smoke

When it comes to testing a new smoker, it can be hard to know where to begin in terms of what to smoke. We recommend fattier cuts of meat, as they work well with low and slow cooking method. As the meat cooks, the fat melts, and the tough connective tissue breaks down, which produces a tender, fall-off-your-fork, melt-in-your mouth bite.

poultry

1

WHOLE HENS

Whole hens are readily available and fresh at almost any grocery store. After removing the gizzards and neck, just season and smoke the bird. Whole hens stay moist while smoking and cook fairly quick due to their petite size. These are a great practice meat.

2

CHICKEN QUARTERS

A large portion of dark meat make chicken quarters great for smoking since this cut tends to lock in flavor well.

pork

1

PORK SHOULDER OR BOSTON BUTT

Pork shoulder has a decent amount of fat, lending to self-basting as the fat renders over time. Additionally, it's a very forgiving meat and difficult to make a mistake with.

2

PORK RIBS

Ribs are a classic when it comes to smoked meat. Not only are they relatively easy to cook (especially when following the 3-2-1 method), they're also among the most cost-effective cuts of meat.

beef

1

BRISKET

We might as well call this the king of smoked meats. Thanks to an exceptionally thick layer of fat, it maintains its moisture while absorbing a great smoky flavor. It also gives you a great smoke ring. The best part? It's one of the easiest meats to find.

2

PRIME RIB

Smoked prime rib can taste quite luxurious when cooked right. It's a bit more difficult than other meats to smoke it to moist, juicy perfection. So, we recommend holding off on this cut until comfortable with your smoker and the method of smoking.

lamb

1

LAMB SHOULDER

Lamb shoulder has a high fat content, which breaks down in a way that reveals a smoky meat with gamey texture. It is, however, difficult to find and pricier than alternative meats.

2

LAMB LEG

Similar to a shoulder, smoking a la leg needs to be cooked low and slow. One challenge unique to this cut of meat is it requires a level of creativity when positioning it thanks to it's uneven build.  Achieving the perfect internal temperature without over cooking one end and undercooking
the other can be challenging at best. If boneless, consider cutting the leg in half and only cooking one half at a time. You can also divide the halves on your smoker racks to ensure even smoking times.

seafood

1

SALMON

Not only is this fish packed with healthy Omega-3's, it can also pack a punch of flavor when smoked. Looking to get bump it up a notch in terms of difficulty? Try your hand at cold smoking salmon.

extra

1

SAUSAGE

You can start with a recipe if you prefer to follow a specific set of directions, but you can also dive in head-first and throw some links on the smoker from your local butcher.

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