Best Meats to Smoke in an Electric Smoker

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 24, 2021

Always the latest smoking tips & tricks?

Subscribe to THE ESSENTIAL newsletter for aspiring pitmasters

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

The great thing about using an electric smoker is that it allows you to get the best flavor out of the meat you’re cooking. And you don’t have to use the most expensive cuts of meat either. Sometimes the most affordable choices are the best.

The following is a selection of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker or portable smoker.


Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker. However, not all briskets are made equal, and you need to be careful with the type of cuts you choose so that you don’t end up with sub-par quality meat. For the best results, go with a piece of brisket that has a nice amount of fat and lots of marbling. That fatty layer is what will bring out the delicious flavor you’re craving for and it makes for a very tender finished product. When you visit the butcher to buy your meat, don’t be shy to ask him to lift up each piece for you so that you can choose the tenderest cut. You’ll know which one to choose based on how much it bends. The more it bends the better.

You’ll also notice that there are two sections on a brisket. There’s the flat and the point. Make sure not to separate these two parts if you want to have the best smoked brisket. Ask your butcher for a “packer’s cut”, which refers to a piece of brisket that has a layer of fat on top and in the middle. This type of cut is what makes for a tender texture in the end.

When you get home, make sure to rinse the meat thoroughly and soak it in some marinade for about 12 hours before you cook it. Afterward, you can smoke it at the recommended temperature with wood chips of your choice.

Also check out these meat recipes in some of the best rated smoker cookbooks

Pork Shoulder

As you’ve probably noticed, pork shoulder is one of the most popular meats available for smoking and that’s because it has the ideal balance between lean meat and fat. This makes it perfect for slow cooking and at the end, you’ll come out with a nice and tender piece of meat that just falls off the bone.

How to buy a bbq smoker video

Some people like to use smoked pork shoulder in pulled pork recipes such as pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, and baked beans with pulled pork, mac and cheese with pulled pork as well as casseroles.

To get the most out of a smoked pork shoulder, you need to choose the right type of meat. This means choosing a cut with more bone so that you get that tender and flavorful texture. The piece should also have a ¼ inch of fat, which you can ascertain by asking your butcher to score it for you. Once you take your pork shoulder piece, take it home and turn on your electric smoker.

Pork and Beef Ribs

Pork and beef ribs are a firm favorite when it comes to electric BBQ smoker recipes like these top 10 we’ve created. With the right marinade, smoked ribs go down nicely and can be served on any occasion. They’re especially popular during the summer when people are more likely to have their grills out.

The best part is that ribs are easy to smoke and all you have to do is take the membrane out so that you can season the meat and you’re good to go! There’s not much preparation aside from that, and the smoke just adds a dimension of flavor that you won’t get with any other cooking method.

When you’re at the butcher, opt for a slab of ribs that has a lot of meat with little fat on the bones. The last thing you want is a stack of ribs dripping fat on your smoker.

How Does Smoking Work?

Okay, so now that you know what types of meat cuts to opt for, and the smoking meat recipes electric smoker, it’s important that you find out what actually goes down during the smoking process. First of all, most meat takes about 30 minutes to smoke and cook through. Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule like the sardines we mentioned above which can take up to five hours, while other meats can take up to 20 hours. Quantity also plays a role so keep that in mind when considering preparation time. For the best results, keep your smoking temperature low in order to preserve the natural flavors of the meat and get that tender juicy texture in the end.

Electric Smoker Recipes You Should Learn As Soon As Possible

The first thing that most people want to do after getting a new electric smoker is to start experimenting with recipes. If that sounds like you then look no further because we’ve got you covered with a variety of recipes suitable for all types of smokers. Even if you have a propane or charcoal smoker, these recipes will turn out great.

The following is an assortment of Masterbuilt electric smoker recipes, which is a company that manufactures all types of smokers. As you’ll see below, you can prepare all types of meals on a smoker, including seafood, beef, lamb, game meat and poultry-which is a favorite among many.

The following is one of the best electric smoker recipe that anyone can try out.

Easy Smoked Sardines Recipe

Smoked sardines are one of the most versatile and convenient meals that you can cook on your electric smoker. That’s because it’s quick and easy to prepare and works with a variety of flavor combinations. It’s also very healthy, as it contains good fats like Omega-3 fatty acids and EPA/DHA.

Sardines are a nutrient dense form of seafood with low carb and high protein content as well as other health benefits. They’re packed with beneficial minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium and selenium, as well as vitamins B12 and D.

How to Smoke Sardines in an electric smoker



  • 20 sardines (cleaned)
  • water 4 cups
  • 1/4 cup salt kosher
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 1 chopped finely or grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 1/2 cup parsley or cilantro chopped
  • Optional: 3-4 chiles (crushed, dried)
  • 2 tbsp peppercorns cracked black


Done the sardines dished and then you should clean the electric smoker and make them shiny again.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.