Good Meats to Smoke

321 Ribs on the Pellet Grill

Are you a fan of BBQ meat? Of course, we all love it, don’t we? But have you ever tried cooking and smoking meat yourself?

Many people love consuming smoked meat but are often reluctant to use a smoker to make smoked pork shoulder or even smoked salmon, for that matter. We understand your hesitation, but there are a few best meats that anyone can handle.

Besides, these best meats to smoke are readily available, affordable, and feature the least coveted cuts. They do not compromise on flavor and are a great alternative to a number of expensive options.

Here’s a list of our favorite meat that you would also love to smoke and serve your guests. So, if you haven’t tried smoking them before, do that now at our request.

Best Meats to Smoke

The good thing about this list is that the best meats cater to professional and new BBQ enthusiasts. So regardless of your skills, you can smoke every meat comfortably, provided you follow all the instructions carefully.

Beef Ribs

We won’t lie that beef ribs are a little hard to handle. But when smoked and cooked, the results are worth every problem you might face low and slow smoking process.

Also referred to as “brisket on a stick,” this meat takes six hours to prepare. However, they do not demand any complicated seasoning buy you can always choose the right products to get a melt-in-the-mouth and beautiful tender dish.

If you are trying to make beef ribs for the first time, choose plate ribs that contain at least one or two inches of meat in them. Then, try your hands on this smoked beef ribs recipe and woo your guests with your amazing culinary skills.

Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder meat is found just below the pork butt, and interestingly, both terms are used most of the time interchangeably. So make sure that your butcher knows that you need pork shoulder or not a pork butt. The smoking time of the former is quite less than the latter because of the shoulder’s small size.

The connective tissues of the pork shoulder are quite similar to present in pork butt, which is why you can use the shoulder to prepare a smoke a delicious pulled pork with an easy recipe.

But be aware that smoked pulled pork takes about 20 hours to make, so make sure you have the patience and time to deal with this duration.

Beef Brisket

A brisket is a beef cut taken from an animal’s lower chest. So, since it is quite large, slow smoking using a smoker is ideal for preparing a tender and juicy beef brisket. The good thing about brisket is that it doesn’t change its shape while cooking, which means you easily cut it into slices.

Beef briskets taste great as thin-sliced cold fillings for your sandwich. Moreover, they also go well with tacos and nachos. If you don’t want to experiment and follow a strict recipe, try the perfectly smoked brisket, and you will never regret it.

Smoked Brisket

Chuck Roast

Have you ever tried chuck roast? This is a beef cut that comes from the shoulder. While it is rich with flavor, it can be tough to handle because of an extensively used muscle.

A chuck roast has tough connective tissues, which means it is perfect for smoking. If you are using an electric smoker, slow cooking and smoking can easily transform this chewy meat into a tender delight. But let the meat smoke for at least five hours before you take it off the grill.

Pork Ribs

Are you thinking of cooking smoked pork ribs? You can either go for spare ribs or baby back ribs. Baby back ribs are quite famous rib cuts as they are much meatier than spare ribs.

But here is a thing. Baby back ribs cook faster than spare ribs, so make sure you use a recipe specifically designed for this meat.

On the other hand, spare ribs are large and rich in flavor. Besides, if you want to smoke them, remove their cartilage so you can hand them efficiently.

Pork ribs taste amazing, and you can serve them with your favorite sides. For instance, well-cooked pork ribs go well with coleslaw, vegetable salads, and even brown rice.

321 Ribs on the Pellet Grill
321 Ribs on the Pellet Grill


For those who love smoke chicken, you can try chicken quarters, chicken thighs, or even chicken breast. However, you need to be very careful with the process with chicken breast as it can easily lose its moisture.

You can keep the meat moist by brining the chicken for extra flavor and using a meat rub for the marination. On the other hand, chicken thighs are much more flavorsome and fattier than the breast. But many people ignore them while smoking.

However, the next time you plan to smoke, try this recipe to create a juicy meat treat for lunch or dinner.

Smoked Chicken Quarters
Smoked Chicken Quarters

Lamb Leg

Do you know that smoked lamb leg is incredibly tender and gives beautiful smoky flavors when cooked properly? You can get lamb legs in two different cuts.

These are the upper sirloin end and marrow shank end. The latter is fatter than the former and is one of the most preferred cuts for smoking.

So if you plan to smoke this lamb meat, make sure you give the meat at least three hours to cook and achieve perfect tenderness.

Smoked Leg of Lamb
Smoked Leg of Lamb

Smoked Turkey

Smoking whole chicken is quite common, and most of us have already tried it many times. But have you ever prepared smoked turkey?

If not, you can do that now as it can be one of the delicious meats for your Thanksgiving dinner table.

You can either go for a whole turkey or opt for a turkey breast. A whole turkey is lean meat and comes with a flat surface, making it ideal meat to smoke. You can use various wood chips as you prefer and cook the meat at the correct temperature to retain its moisture.

On the other hand, a turkey breast may dry quicker than a whole turkey, so makes sure you brine it before putting it on a grill. Moreover, keep an eye on its internal temperature so that you only get tender meat at the end of the day.

Smoked Turkey

Beef Prime Rib

Meat smoking is technical at times, but the best meats to smoke make the cooking process quick and easy. If you want to smoke meat and enjoy the smoky flavor produced by this technique, try your hands on the beef prime rib. It is an expensive cut but at the same time tastes quite delicious.

Besides, it takes only six hours to prepare, which is fine compared to the duration most tough meats take. You can choose pecan wood to add the right smoky flavor to this dish.

Smoked Ribeye Roast
Smoked Ribeye Roast

Pork Belly

Pork belly is meat present in the lower abdominal of a pig. The meat is quite tender with a lot of marbling and fat. This means that this cut is ideal for smoking.

If you want to cook an excellent pork belly, cut into cubes that are also called burnt ends and then grill them on a smoker for three hours straight. Slow cooking will help retain the meat’s moisture and make it easy to maintain the correct internal temperature.

Pork belly tastes beautiful with some white sauce or even a BBQ dip. You can serve it with coleslaw or even brown rice to have a complete meal.

Beef Cheek

To perfectly smoke meat, you need to have the right meat and all the required ingredients in place. Besides, you should also pay attention to the cooking time to avoid any mishaps.

As the name suggests, the beef cheek is the meat present in a cow’s cheek muscles. These muscles are usually heavily worked out, which means they are tough and can only be handled through slow smoke.

Beef cheek is lean meat that goes well for beef tacos. It takes about five hours to cook and smoke this meat, but the results are worth a try. Beef cheek taste amazing with BBQ sauce, so make sure you have that with you while enjoying this dish.

Meats that You Should Avoid Smoking

To save yourself from any cooking blunder, you also need to know about the meats that do not deserve a place in your smoker.

Meats such as thin steaks and lean roasts lack crucial fat and connective tissues. This means that when smoked, these meats can easily get overcooked or dry.

So, if you don’t want to waste your money or time, avoid buying these meat cuts.

Final Words

With that important final note above, we have finally reached the end of this article. So, what do you plan to smoke first? The choice is ultimately yours because each meat in the list above cooks and smokes effortlessly.

While you try the best meats on your smoker, don’t forget to include a variety of side dishes and drinks. These additions increase the value of the meal and make the whole lunch/dinner worth remembering.

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