Not sure what type of meat to put on your smoker?
Discover these great 10 affordable, yet delicious cuts of meat that go great on the smoker and can cook up a great meal for the whole family in no time at all.
To make the best of both your smoker and meat, don’t use high-priced, lean meat.
These cuts lack the necessary connective tissue and fat, so they quickly become dry and burnt when smoked, leading to disappointing results for everyone.
So, try to look for meats that have a little bit more going on, you’ll find that you get a bit more bang for your buck with fattier meat as it’ll do half of the work for you with the fat marinating the meat, keeping it succulent and the meat moist as it smokes!
Make sure to follow the instructions for the cooking temperature to avoid unnecessary food waste or tough cuts.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Pork Ribs
- 2 Beef Short Ribs
- 3 Smoked Salmon
- 4 Lamb Shoulder
- 5 Turkey Breast
- 6 Chicken Wings
- 7 Sausage
- 8 Chicken Thighs
- 9 Tuna Steaks
- 10 Pork Loin Roast
- 11 Smoker Cooking Tips
- 12 Final Thoughts
Pork ribs are a great choice of meat to smoke as they have a thick layer of fat to protect them from burning and produce a great caramelization without having to wait all day for results.
With the help of a rustic brown sugar glaze, your pork ribs will be the talk of the party!
Pork ribs cook very quickly, so you’ll need to be sure that you’re paying attention to them whilst they smoke or you’ll end up with a sad load of rubbery, shoe-like ribs that’ll make you squeal with disappointment.
Pork ribs are juicy by themselves, but they’re even juicier when cooked with a sauce in a smoker.
Beef Short Ribs
Beef short rib is another great cut of beef to smoke because it has a lot of collagen which makes it tender and gives it a nice texture.
The bone adds flavor and helps keep the meat moist during the smoking process.
It also cooks incredibly fast, so you won’t have to worry about losing track of them while they smoke.
Smoked salmon is one of those foods that people always seem to love.
It’s easy to prepare, tastes amazing, and goes well with just about anything.
If you want to add some extra flavor to your smoked salmon then try adding some fresh dill, lemon juice, capers, or chives to the mix.
Lamb’s shoulder is an inexpensive cut of lamb that’s perfect for smoking.
It’s got a good amount of fat and connective tissue which means it doesn’t dry out too much during the smoking process.
This means that it’ll take longer than other cuts of meat to cook through, but once it does, it’ll taste incredible.
Turkey breast is a relatively cheap cut of turkey that’s perfect for smoking as it’s got a lot of connective tissue which keeps it tender.
It’s also pretty fatty, making it perfect for smoking.
Add a few spices like rosemary, thyme, and sage to kick it and you’ve got yourself a great dinner!
Chicken wings are a great option if you’d rather spend less money on meat and more on appetizers.
They’re super quick and easy to smoke and will only take around four hours to finish off.
Just remember to remove the wing tips before putting them into the smoker.
Sausage is probably the easiest thing you could smoke. All you need is some great homemade sausages and a smoker.
With the help of some sausage casings and some fresh ground meat, you can stuff your sausages with whatever ingredients you desire.
Try stuffing them with apple, garlic, onion, peppers, mushrooms, herbs, cheese, bacon bits, etc.
Chicken thighs are great for smoking. They’re inexpensive, versatile, and delicious.
You can use them in sandwiches, salads, soups, stir-fries, curries, etc.
They’re the perfect meat for a smoke as they don’t require a long cooking time, have more skin, and tend to be leaner than most meats.
Tuna steaks are a great alternative to chicken breasts. They’re cheaper, easier to find, and pack a bigger punch.
They’re also great for smokers as they only take around three hours to cook.
Just make sure to get tuna steaks that aren’t packed in oil as these will go mushy after smoking.
Pork Loin Roast
Pork loins are a great option, and they might be the ticket to making pork your favorite type of meat.
They come from the same part of the pig as ribs, so they’re similar in size and shape.
They’re also fairly affordable and can easily be found at any grocery store. Place your meat in the middle of the smoker for an even cook.
Smoker Cooking Tips
Get A Good Fire Started
The first step in getting started with smoking food is starting a fire. The best way to do this is using charcoal briquettes.
These are readily available at most hardware stores and supermarkets. You can also
Barbecuing isn’t like baking in an oven.
There are so many variables when it comes to smoking meats and it’s impossible to prepare for every one of them, but there are a few things you can do to prepare your meats well!
You may need to figure some things out as you go along, but don’t worry, you’ll become a pro at the smoker in no time.
For example, the size of a cut plays a large role in how long it takes to reach a suitable temperature and desired degree of doneness.
And so does fat content, whether dry-aged or not, the amount of connective tissue, and even more.
Indeed, the temperature is probably one of the most important parts of barbecuing.
You don’t want to cut into a piece of meat to see if it’s cooked through.
So, the only sure way to know if something is cooked is to take its internal temperature.
Buy A Good Smoker
A good quality smoker is going to last you years. When buying a smoker, look for one made of stainless steel, hardy materials, and a trusted brand.
The best models are going to be able to hold up over time and keep food moist without drying out.
Use A Meat Thermometer
A meat thermometer is essential when using a smoker. Make sure to place the thermometer deep inside the meat so that you know exactly how hot it is.
Many modern smokers will have temperature settings ranging from 150°F – 300°F, and have internal meat thermometers installed.
If you’re not sure what range to cook your cuts of meat, check online or ask someone who has experience with smokers.
Don’t Overfill The Smoker
When filling a smoker, always leave space between the food and the lid.
This allows air to circulate freely and prevents moisture build-up. It also helps prevent flare-ups which could lead to grease fires.
Smoking is a great method for tenderizing and adding extra flavor to your meat.
It takes time, but this long, slow, cooking method transforms cheap, tough cuts of meat into mouth-watering, delicious meals.
With these great cuts, you can save yourself from slaving over your smoker for the whole day and get insanely succulent and flavorful food ready for your table in less than four hours.
We hope our generous collection of the best meats to cook with has helped you to start smoking up a storm in a matter of hours.
If you have any questions or recipe suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!