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Best Meat to Smoke

When speaking of smoking meat, you’ve got multiple alternatives. Beef, poultry, and pork are, for sure, the most common types But obviously, there are multiple cuts in these categories. Nevertheless, you will be pleased to find out there are other tasty option to try. For instance, you can cook even the less wanted cuts. But, you should be aware when choosing them, concerning that smoking can take a couple of hours. This is because some of them are large, as well as tougher, and implicitly more difficult to cook. They also require extra smoking time. On the other hand, tiny, thicker cuts are worth considering, too, as they need just an hour or two to reach the proper texture and scent. The below lines were specially created to help you out, so take a closer look!

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It’s for sure the most popular alternative when coming to barbecues. Besides being a tasty option, beef is also extremely healthy. Even though it requires a longer cooking time, it’s worth the wait, as you’ll be provided with tasty outcomes. Let’s get through the most suitable cuts for making appetizing barbecues.

  • Brisket

    – It’s definitely the most popular cut of meat to smoke. It’s actually the breast meat and it’s best known for its mix of softness and outer crust when it’s well done. It is tricky to smoke it properly as it has a tough texture and requires a very long cooking time. Even so, with a professional offset smoker, you can accordingly do the task. Plus, you can also use a meat tenderizer to soften it up. In order to ease your job, it’s recommended to go for a marbled cut. After it’s properly done, the fatty layer will taste amazing and you’ll enjoy the best-smoked meat. Another hint is to use oak, hickory, cherry, or pecan wood to be provided with the best results.

  • Ribs

    – Known as short ribs, too, they are another great cut of meat that can be perfectly smoked. They usually contain a higher amount of fat, and they can be tough, too. Therefore, they are ideal for the smoking process. They have an incredible beef taste and if correctly cooked the fat melts and softens the rest of the meat for offering finger-licking results. What’s great about them is that they don’t require a long cooking time, as they can be ready in about 5-6 hours. You can also grill ribs on a charcoal grill. They work beautifully with oak, cherry, hickory, and pecan wood.

  • Tri tip

    – It’s a part of the sirloin and, unlike other cuts, this one is very thin and soft. Besides being a tasty option, it also has a short cooking time, as it’s ready in only about 1-2 hours. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit hard to find, but it’s certainly a great cut of meat that you’ll enjoy cooking. In this case, smoke it’s only used for flavor, as it does not require too much cooking time. To obtain the best results, it’s recommended to use oak, cherry, hickory, and pecan wood. You can cook tri tip on a combo grill, as well.


Pork is leaner than beef but there’s not that much variety, as only a few cuts work perfectly in a smoker. Unfortunately, there are cuts that don’t work at all when it comes to the smoking process. Nevertheless, pork’s a delicious meat and you should try smoking the cuts below at least once.

  • Shoulder

    – The pork shoulder is the lower part of the shoulder and it contains the elbow joint. It has a good amount of fat and it can be extremely soft and tender when properly cooked. To obtain the best results, you can remove the skin on it and let the spices and smoke enter the meat. As well as, you can add some salt, sugar, or apple juice as there’s no much fat and connective tissue. The best types of wood that can work are hickory and pecan. Unluckily, it requires at least 10 hours of cooking, but it’s worth the wait.

  • Ribs

    – This is a classic cut of meat and it’s one of the most common parts used for barbecues. Yes, they are a little bit tricky to cook but the final outcomes are stunning. Once you discover the technique, you’ll want to smoke them more and more. There are two types of ribs, namely the baby backs and spares. The first type is smaller, while the second type is larger. As the spare ribs consist of a large number of bones and cartilage, they make the cooking process slower. Therefore, they require 4-6 hours of cooking time, and they work best with apple, cherry, and maple wood.

  • Chops

    – Besides being delicious, pork chops are also very easy and practical to cook. This is because they do not have that much connective tissue and they can be ready in about one hour. You only have to make sure you use a thicker cut of meat. Usually, it’s recommended to use cup chops at least an inch thick. Otherwise, thinner cuts of meat can easily get overcooked. They work great with apple, cherry, and maple wood, too.


Who says “no” to poultry? Probably no one, as it’s one of the tastiest and most versatile types of meat. Reasonably lean, poultry requires a short cooking time and it’s a great option for newbies. The main upside is that you don’t have to monitor it constantly, as it’s ready in only one or two hours.

  • Chicken

    Smoked chicken is always a good idea. We all know that chicken is very versatile and has a very short cooking time. As well as, the meat is lean, tasty and easy to cook. In this case, you just have to take a whole chicken, get rid of the unwanted parts, prepare it on your own preferences and then start smoking it. As it’s extremely malleable, you can expand your imagination and try lots of new recipes. If you don’t want to smoke an entire chicken, you can use just the wings, thighs, or quarters. They all have an amazing taste and they can be quickly smoked, as the whole process will take only about 1 or 2 hours. For chicken, you can use either apple wood or maple wood, as both of them are sweet and have a subtle flavor. For those who are on a diet, we also recommend using a sous vide machine, which is excellent for cooking chicken breast.

  • Turkey

    In this case, too, you can use the whole bird or just some specific parts. The flavor of smoked turkey is undoubtedly unique. For instance, it’s a great option for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas meals. Like chicken, turkey is versatile, too, and you can cook it the way you want. It has a short cooking time, as it’s ready in almost 2 hours, and it works best with mild types of wood such as apple or maple wood. You can also mix various types of wood if you want a deeper flavor. As a tip, turkey can be cooked in a turkey fryer, as well, which is one of the best alternatives if you want to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving Day meal.


Concluding, hoping that our article was helpful for you to determine the best cut type to smoke, it just remains to take the final decision, which is based on your personal taste. By way of illustration, if you love red meat, we recommend brisket, as it’s also the most popular alternative among barbecue lovers. It’s a lean meat, with a soft texture, easy to cook. If you prefer poultry, we suggest considering turkey as it’s low on fats, a very healthy meat type, ideal for those who are on a diet, as well. Plus, it is low on cholesterol. On the other hand, for pork lovers, we recommend using chops, as they are extremely versatile, while they don’t require a lengthy cooking time.

Has gathered knowledge about meat from her family as her parents started a neighborhood butcher shop in Baltimore when she was just a child. Growing up, she learned the tricks of the trade from her father and later went on to get certifications. To obtain these certifications, Amy took courses in meat selection, evaluation, and processing. Moreover, she learned about the importance of reliable suppliers and thus makes it a point to only work with trustworthy sources.

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