For those who love great barbecue, smoking meats is an artistic and worthwhile endeavor. It is a slow and measured cooking method that couples low heat and smoke to add richness, flavor, and tenderness to meat. Although there are various types of meat to choose from when it comes time to plan your meal, there are some cuts that are better left to the grill rather than the smoker.
Continue reading to learn which meats and other foods are well-suited for smoking, and which are not.
Many misconceive their meat options when choosing a product to smoke. It is not always true that a more expensive or higher-end cut of meat is better in the smoker than a cheaper one. In fact, many suggest that cheaper cuts of meat often work well with smoking since leaner cuts can have difficulty withstanding long hours of cooking without drying out. For this reason, using cheaper meats is a great way to experiment as a beginner smoker.
Cuts of Meat
For smoking meat, the best cuts to use are the ones with enough fat and connective tissue to tenderize and fill with flavor. As fat melts and connective tissues breaks down, meat is kept perfectly moist during smoking. So cuts of meat with high fat and connective tissue generally improve with smoking, and finish tender and flavorful. Meats that are chewy and rough tend to do well in the smoker, such as pork shoulders, ribs, and beef brisket.
Best Meat Choices for Smoking:
☑ Pork Ribs
☑ Pork Shoulder (i.e. Boston Butt or Picnic)
☑ Beef Brisket
☑ Seafood (i.e. Salmon, Mackerel, Herring, and Cod)
☑ Shellfish (Scallops and Oysters)
Additional Foods to Smoke:
Not only can you smoke meats, you can also smoke various other foods. Here are some recommended foods to try in your smoker!
☑ Spices (i.e. Paprika, Salt, and Liquid Smoke)
☑ Nuts (i.e. Pecan, Almonds, and Walnuts)
☑ Cheese (i.e. Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Gouda, and Gruyère)
☑ Olives (Green or Black)
☑ Bologna or Mortadella
☑ Tomatoes (Cherry or Grape)
☑ Hard Boiled Eggs
Meats Better Prepared Using Other Cooking Methods:
☒ Pork Tenderloin
☒ Lean Roast