We are very serious about our search for the best meats to smoke because smoked meat rules. It’s incredibly tasty and because smoking is generally a slow cooking method, it also means you can use some cheaper cuts of meat without compromising the quality of the finished product.
Now, everyone ought to have a home smoker but when they buy one, the big question becomes what meats will work best with it?
Well, Kitchen Authority has you covered on this and we’re here to lay out the basics of the best meats to smoke for you.
Pork Is Amazing Smoked
Unless you’re prohibited by your religious beliefs from indulging, pork is by far the best meat to smoke. It becomes so tender and juicy when slow cooked and the smoky flavors really permeate the flesh.
We’d also note that you get a lot more wiggle room when smoking pork than other meats, so it can be the perfect place to start your home smoking education before progressing on to other things.
The most popular cuts for smoking include:
- Back Ribs – we all love baby back ribs here at Kitchen Authority. Just make sure to get your marinade right and everybody will be happy with them.
- Spare Ribs – not quite as soft and delicate as back ribs, spare ribs need a little more cooking time. However, the reward is beautifully tasty meat.
- Pork Butt – this comes from the shoulder and it’s very fatty. The fat means that the meat stays super moist when being smoked.
However, while these may be the most popular – there’s not a single pork cut that can’t be smoked.
We love bacon and ham in our smoker. Yum!
Beef Is Beautiful Thing When Smoked
You need so spend a bit more time nurturing beef through the smoking process than you do with pork. Most people find that their first go leaves the beef a little drier than they’d like, don’t worry – you’ll get there.
We find that beef is the superbly tasty when it’s done right and we’d suggest that you look at the most popular cuts to give yourself an easier start before tackling more challenging smoking tasks.
- Brisket – this is the one popular cut you want to build up to. Brisket done right is exquisite and shows true mastery of the smoker but it’s not easy to get right.
- Beef ribs – the secret to these is simply lots of cooking time. They are much, much larger than pork ribs. Think up to 10 hours but it’s worth the wait.
- Steak – grab your favorite steak and throw it (metaphorically speaking) into the smoker and then check on it every now and again to ensure it’s cooked to your liking.
Once you’ve mastered ribs and steak, it’s time to experiment with other cuts.
Poultry Is Easy To Smoke
There’s no denying that poultry is cheap and it’s one of the best meats to smoke. If you’re not into pork – then a chicken is the perfect starting meat for you.
Chicken when cut up cooks incredibly quickly in a smoker too.
So, if you’re looking for an end of day meal – this is probably the right place to look.
- Chicken wings – cover in oil, sauce and spices of your liking and then pop them in for about an hour and a half. Make sure you keep the smoker on a minimum heat if you want to avoid a fire.
- Rotisserie style – we’ve always been surprised by how mild the smoky taste of a rotisserie chicken is in a smoker. However, they crisp up well and much more so than stuffing a chicken inside without using the rotisserie method.
We also love turkey in our smoker. We’ve found that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to treat our friends and family to smoked turkey.
Lamb Is Superlatively Good But Challenging
We’ve saved the best for last. Lamb is amazing when it’s smoked, and we think it’s definitely one of the best meats to smoke but… it is much harder to learn to smoke well and that means it’s the meat you see least often when dining out in places with a smoker.
That made us determined to master the art of smoking lamb and we’ve got there now. Here are our preferred cuts:
- Lamb shoulder – these are substantial joints and they take a while to smoke. The high fat content keeps the meat moist and delicious. We recommend going heavy on the spices with lamb shoulder as the meat has a strong natural flavor to be complimented.
- Lamb legs – these may be the biggest common challenge for a smoker, and we recommend that you try these once you’ve mastered the art of smoking meat. The issue is that meat is thick around a bone and cooking it evenly on both sides of the bone is tough. Get it right though and it’s delicious.
Final Thoughts on Best Meats To Smoke
These are the best meats for our smoker at Kitchen Authority but maybe you’ve got some other more exotic meats that you can recommend? Why not let us know in the comments below?
If you’re an absolute beginner when it comes to smoking meats then check out this article at Delishably: Tips for Smoking Meat for Beginners