What Is The Best Meat to Smoke in a Smoker

If you’re a beginner at smoking meat, you’re probably compiling a list of recipes and meats to try. But what meats are the most popular to smoke? Here we go over some of the best meats to smoke in a smoker whether in a charcoal or electric smoker.

What does smoking meat do?

When smoking meat we use a “low and slow” approach. This means the meat is cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. The time associated with smoking meats will vary. Temperatures will range but most BBQ masters will recommend a smoking temperature of 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit. Most meats will be cooked for a minimum of 6 hours. This gives the meat ample time to tenderize.

Low + Slow = Tender + Delicious

Types of Meats to Put in a Smoker

The original reason smoking meats became popular was because it made less desirable cuts of meat more delicious. Using the “low and slow” method, these tougher cuts became juicier and more tender.

The trick to smoking meats is ensuring your cook time is long enough and the internal temperature reaches the necessary level to properly cook and tenderize your meat. Make sure you have a good digital meat thermometer to properly measure this. You’ll also want to ensure you maintain a nice smoke in your smoker. Monitoring the internal temperature and the cook time are the two elements will ensure you are successful.

Here are our favorite cuts that make up some of the best meats to smoke.

pork ribs for smoker

Pork and Beef Ribs

The more common type of ribs smoked are pork ribs. However, beef ribs are another great option for smoking. Beef is typically a tougher cut of meat so expect to smoke your beef ribs longer than your pork ribs.

Chicken Wings

Due to the size of a chicken wing, these are the fastest to smoke. Chicken is a great option for beginners who don’t have a ton of experience smoking meats. Chicken wings typically only take one and half hours to smoke and come out delicious.


This is probably the most delicious and celebrated meat to smoke. The time needed to cook a brisket may vary based on the amount of meat you have. A smaller cut may only need 5-6 hours however for larger briskets you’ll need to budget about 10 hours or more.

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is great in a slow cooker and great when smoked. You can purchase varying weights of meat to fit your needs. You’ll want to smoke your pork shoulder for about 1 hour for every pound it weighs. What you end up with will be delicious, succulent meat.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is s great way to preserve meat and enjoy on the go. Bottom round or even sirloin can be used to make beef jerky in a smoker. As long as the fat content is low, you’ll end up with some great jerky. There are many ways to season and smoke these cuts.


If you’re a true novice, we recommend starting with some chicken wings to refine your process. After you have a few successful smokes under your belt, expand to ribs and pork shoulder. And lastly, attempt a full brisket.

Good luck on your meat smoking journey!


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