Best Meat To Smoke – For Beginners

Best Meat To Smoke – For Beginners

Our taste buds come in such diversity that it would be a shame to eat the same thing for the rest of our lives. And this is why, for your convenience, we bring you our brief yet informative guide to top 10+ meats to smoke.

If you are looking for something new to smoke this weekend, then keep on reading so you can choose your favorite!

What is Smoking?

Smoking is just another cooking method to cook your meat using fire. A huge misconception amongst people is that they think the smoke actually gets their meat cooked, however, that’s really not the case.

The fire actually produces heat to cook your meat and the woods’ job is to produce the smoke – giving flavorful touch to your meat. And all this happen in a box designed especially for smoking – Smoker.

These smokers come in various forms and sizes, such as Charcoal Smoker, Gas Smoker, Electric Smoker and much more. You can also read our articles about how to use Offset Smoker and Masterbuilt Propane Smoker so you can master the art of smoking!

Best Beef To Smoke – For Beginners

Best Meat To Smoke

Smoked Brisket

Brisket comes as a master of all the beef cuts. Obtained from the breast of the cow, it is one of the best meats to smoke for large group as it comes in great size and exceptionally great flavor as well.

Smoked at 275° F, Brisket will require at least 10 to 12 hours to cook as it is one of the toughest meat. If Brisket has got you hypnotized, check out our best smoked Brisket recipe to make your Brisket even better!

Smoked Tri tip

Smoking Tri tip is comparatively easy. This meat comes from the bottom sirloin, making it naturally tender and quicker to cook.

Smoked Tri tip cooks at 225° F until the internal temperature reaches around 125° F, and it takes only an hour to cook well! So, if you are running out of time and have to feed your tummy, then you know what to smoke.

However, if you have plenty of time and finding it hard to decide between Tri tip and Brisket, then read our article about Tri tip vs Brisket and let it make up your mind!

Smoked Beef Ribs

Just like Brisket, Smoked Beef Ribs also turns out deliciously tender and juicy, but only if things are done right! The secret to its rich flavor is the good amount of fat and collagen in the meat that needs to be broken down and dispersed into the meat.

Keeping the temperature at the range of 225° F to 250° F, Smoked Beef Ribs will take 6 to 8 hours to cook well. You can also check out our article about smoking ribs using the 2 2 1 method.

Smoked Hamburgers

If a sponge named Bob can expertly make hamburgers, then what is stopping you from making the best smoked hamburgers?

Ground beef or minced beef are comparatively easy and quicker to cook. It takes around 30 to 45 minutes at 275° F to get the perfect smoked burger patty. However, the thicker your patty, the more time it will take to get it cooked.

Smoked Sausages

Like Hamburgers, Sausages or Hot dogs are super easy to smoke. Packed with rich flavors, the smoker helps to achieve the flawless outcome to satisfy your cravings.

The ideal temperature to smoke your sausages is somewhere between 225° F to 240° F. Once the internal temperature reaches 165° F, it means that your sausages have been smoked perfectly!

Smoked Beef Cheeks

When there is high collagen and fat content in a meat, there is no worrying about your meat going dry. Like Brisket, Beef Cheeks are super rich in collagen which melts in the smoker and gives cheeks the perfect moisture.

Once smoked, these Beef Cheeks turn out amazingly chewy. They usually require 5 hours to smoke at 275° F. These Smoked Beef Cheeks can be eaten as a Sandwich, Taco or just with a fork!

Best Fish To Smoke – For Beginners

Smoked Salmon

Fishes are healthy and easy to cook. If you are one of those people who scroll down after reading the word fish, then hear me out. Salmons can be smoked to perfect if only its seasoned right and at the right temperature.

Salmon is usually smoked at 225° F until its internal temperature reaches 140° F. Like every meat, if salmon is smoked at high temperature, it will turn out dry and uncomfortably chewy.

Best Poultry To Smoke – For Beginners

Smoked Whole Chicken

If you are new at meat smoking and not looking for trouble, then this whole chicken won’t give you a tough time smoking. Easy to cook and comparatively takes less time as well, Whole Chicken takes between 3 to 4 hours to fully smoke at 275° F.

Smoked Whole Chicken

Smoked Whole Turkey

When Turkey is being cooked, we assume its Thanksgiving. It really shouldn’t have to be. Smoked Turkey is a perfect fit to feed a whole crowd of guests!

Once the temperature of your smoker reaches 225° F, put the bird inside. The Whole Turkey takes about 8 to 12 hours to be fully smoked. However, turkey comes with little fat content. It is important to shower your turkey with lots of butter so it turns out tender. You can also check out our best smoked thanksgiving turkey recipe for better guidance!

Smoked Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings are one of the juiciest parts of a chicken. These wings take 1 to 2 hours to attain the tenderness of chicken. And once its internal temperature touches 170° F, it means it is ready to be served or devoured.

These finger licking Smoked Chicken Wings can be made even better by drizzling your favorite sauce on it! So, if you are looking for something easy to smoke, Chicken Wings could fulfill that for you.

Smoked Chicken Thighs

If a piece of chicken comes with a bone, it naturally becomes the juicy part. Just like Wings, Chicken Thighs are comparatively quick to smoke and once done, they turn out irresistibly crispy at the outside and super soft and juicy at the inside.

Smoked Chicken Thighs usually take an hour to cook at 225° F.

Smoked Chicken Breast and Turkey Breast

These two meat cuts require low and slow cooking method in order to achieve the tenderness that makes the bite of it melt in your mouth.

Easy to smoke and relatively quicker to cook, Chicken Breast and Turkey Breast, however, have the tendency to dry out pretty fast due to the low fat content in it.  But these cons of Chicken and Turkey Breast can be overcome by using the right techniques.

Chicken Breast takes 1.5 to 2 hours to cook at 250° F, while Turkey Breast takes around 3.5 to 4 hours at no more than 250° F.

Crucial Things To Remember When Meat Smoking

A meat is only smoked well when things are done right. Whether you choose something tough like Brisket or an easy to cook like Sausages or Hamburgers, there are few crucial things that one must remember when smoking a meat.

Crucial Things To Remember When Meat Smoking
  • Hardwood

Woods come in many flavors, mainly ranging from light and sweet flavor to bold and strong smoky flavor. The purpose of adding the woods is to create the smoke and aroma around the food that is under cooking process. Without wood you won’t be getting any smoke.

Your seasoning and the type of wood used actually gives the flavor to your meat. So, it is important to know which wood goes well with what type of meat. Few famous hardwoods are Cherry, Apple, Oak, Mesquite and Hickory.

  • Consistent Temperature and Internal Temperature

Nothing is more important than the consistency of temperature. When smoking a meat, we all aim for two things – firstly, the perfect flavor and secondly, the perfectly cooked meat. The latter can only be done if suitable temperature is given to the type of meat being smoked.

Make sure your smoker is preheated well, and once your meat is in the smoker keep a watchful eye on the heat and temperature provided.

The internal temperature is not the temperature of your smoker inside. It is actually the temperature measured at the core of the meat being smoked. It is crucial to manage the internal temperature, as high temperature could remove the moisture and make your meat very dry and chewy.

  • Water Pan

Once your smoker has been preheated at preferred temperature, add a water filled pan in your smoker along with the food. The purpose of water is to create a humid environment which in turn, helps to maintain the temperature in your smoker and keeps your meat moist and full of flavors.


It is hard to choose when you have got an extensive list of all the best things to smoke in a smoker. So, eeny meeny miny moe your way to the best meat to smoke at home and smoke it like your life depends on it!

If you’ve got any confusion to clear up or any question to get answered, feel free to reach us out so that one of our BBQ-man can come to your service.

Rita Williams

Rita Williams

Hey, it’s me Rita! My love for BBQ began at an early age, learning the art of smoking meats from my dad in their small town in Texas. Weekends were filled with smoky aroma of brisket or ribs as family and friends gathered for backyard cookouts.

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