These are the best meats to smoke for beginners this year! From beef, to pork, chicken and vegetables we have suggestions on what to throw on your Traeger pellet grill for dinner.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up a bit, it’s time to start thinking about the best meats to smoke. Dust off your electric smokers and get ready to put them to good use! This post and our easy smoker recipes roundup will help you choose and cook the best cuts of meat from now on. (originally published 5/21, affiliate links present)
Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners
Depending on who you ask, everyone has their own opinion on slow cooking options for meat.
But when it comes down to it, there are just some cuts of meat and types of meat that really are better to smoke. Chicken, pork and beef may be a given but you should consider things like Traeger corned beef and even vegetables on the grate at the same time.
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To get your meats absolutely perfect we have this printable meat smoking chart to refer to so each and every time it will be fork tender.
- Recently we upgraded to this Traeger pellet smoker and grill and love it.
- We started with an electric smoker that was a Charbroil which worked well to start with.
- These are the pellets we always have on hand and use for almost everything.
- This smoker cookbook has some more great ideas if you want to cook outside more regularly.
Top 10 Meats to Smoke
What is the easiest meat to smoke?
If you’re new to the meat smoking game, there are cuts of protein that can be a tad bit more simple than others.
One of the easiest meat to smoke is smoked chuck roast followed by our smoked pork. These is are a bit smaller than a smoked brisket recipe you might make on Sundays but are easier types of smoked beef recipes to start with.
I would say a smoked whole chicken is probably the easiest by far though. We use this chicken throne and beer to steam and smoke at the same time. Wonderful flavors with little to no prep on your part.
Things to Smoke Besides Meat
If you want to cook an entire meal on the grates you can. I would stick a batch of our smoked bread on there as well because it is always a hit, always. Sliced vegetables in a pan or cast iron skillet tossed with olive oil will get tender nicely too.
Is smoked meat healthy?
If you’re comparing it to other cooking methods, it might be on the healthier side. This is because when you’re smoking meats, you’re not frying them up or coating them in flour to be able to get great taste and flavor.
Do you flip meat when smoking?
Most people do flip or rotate pieces when cooking this way because having an almost perfect heat just typically doesn’t happen. Flipping meat allows for it to cook all over without having hot spots or the worry of burning certain areas.
I would say there are some exceptions to this rule. For foods that don’t take too long, like our smoked steak I don’t really bother. As long as there is space between them a nice medium rare comes out perfect in a short time.
There are actually a lot of meats that you can cook in 4 hours, but it does depend on size and weight. Most meats will need to be smaller in size because you can count on an hour of smoking time for every 1.5 pounds of meat.
This means that it would be possible to slow cook some of the meats listed below in 4 hours of time:
Brisket and pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) are known for their rich and flavorful results when smoked. They have a good amount of fat marbling, which melts during the cooking process, infusing the meat with flavor.
Salmon is also highly regarded for its distinctive and delicious flavor when smoked.
The Best Meat to Smoke
- Pork Butt or any type you want to pull like our Traeger pulled pork
- Smoked Lamb shoulder or loin
- Chicken Quarters take longer than Traeger chicken thighs
- Our bacon wrapped smoked pork chops
Smoked ribs are probably our favorite though using this dry rub mixture on top. You don’t even need sauce with these flavors. Use pork or beef ribs, but pork is always our fave.
And other meats that are smaller and within that weight mentioned above. But above anything, you always want to check the internal temperature before pulling meats from the smoker and consuming.
Best Meats to Smoke
Slow smoked meat is not only tasty, but also a great way to meal prep and have meat options leftover to eat during the week as well. You can even change things up a bit and make this stuffed and smoked meatloaf sometime!
Some of our favorites to cook up and have to snack on throughout the week are smoked turkey, brisket pork shoulder, Boston butt, beef brisket, and smoked chicken.
What is the Best Wood to Smoke Meat
I love traeger apple pellets personally, like for all the things. Honestly I have never ever made anything with it where I was like ehhhhh, doesn’t taste right y’all. Just go for that and be done.
(And when we’re wanting to have a really nice dinner, we’ve even done smoked lamp shoulder and prime rib as well!)
People always think that you have to only smoke certain types of meat but that just isn’t the case. If you’re tired of smoking just protein, you can even venture into making all sorts of other things. A few ideas are;
A healthy batch of smoked vegetables or smoked baked potatoes. But our most popular that goes with everything is this pull apart smoked bread dish you see here.
Tips on Best Meats to Smoke
Even though you might have a favorite recipe you like to do, there are some simple tips to keep in mind when smoking your meats. Educate yourself on how to achieve a smoke ring.
The smoke ring is the ring on the inside of your smoked meat that looks a bit bit, right close to the outer edge.
If you have a smoke ring, it means that your meat was slow cooked and has a delicious smoky flavor. If your meat is lacking a smoke ring, you might need to adjust your cooking method to achieve next time.
Pay attention to the cooking times when smoking meat, it is not fast. Just like our oven baked brisket you want low and slow to break down the connective tissue and get that baby fork tender.
This is not a time to lose your patience. Smoking meat is a low and slow process but the end result is worth it. If your recipe says to smoke your meat at a certain temperature, make certain that you’re following the guidelines.
Consider having a water pan in your smoker to help with moisture
Read up on this specific tip and see if your smoker is set up for it but many people who smoke a lot of meat have a water pan in their smoker to add moisture into the air. This is to help not have to worry about the meat drying out during the process if it doesn’t have a high-fat content in it already.
As you can tell from the list, finding the best meats to smoke isn’t really all that hard. Meat, in general, always tastes great in the smoker! It’s just up to you to make it happen.
Don’t forget dessert though, oh yes you can totally make this smoked cinnamon rolls and apple dish too.
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Best Meats to Smoke
- 1 smoker
- 4-6 brats
- Preheat your smoker to 350 degrees. We used hickory pellets to make these, apple works well too. If you want a longer slower smoke set to 225.
- Place your raw bratwurst on to your grates and close lid. After 15 minutes lift lid and flip each one over on to the other side. Smoke for an additional 15 minutes or until browned to your liking.
- Check internal temperature before consuming, pork needs to be 160 degrees F.