Best Meats to Smoke

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If you’re looking for a comprehensive post all about the best meats to smoke, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re new to the smoking game, or you’re a seasoned professional, this post will provide you with a plethora of great meats to smoke on your smoker today.
Collage of the best meats to smoke, including pulled pork, chicken, and salmon. Text reads "Best Meats to Smoke".

Best Meats to Smoke: The Beginners

If you want good, simple meats to smoke, then this section is a great place to start. You can also check out my other roundup post all about Best Smoker Recipes for more ideas. Many of these recipes take time, but if you follow my step-by-step instructions you’ll be well on your way to slow smoking some amazing meats.
Shredded, smoked pork meats on cutting board with meat claws.

Smoked Pulled Pork

This Smoked Pulled Pork Butt (Smoked Pork Shoulder) is the ultimate smoked meat when you have a large crowd to feed. Seasoned in my signature sweet rub, then smoked nice and slow for the darkest bark ever, it’s the best shredded pork around.


Smoked Pork Ribs

If you’re looking for all the info on cooking pork ribs on your smoker, then this post all about Smoked Pork Ribs is your one-stop shop. I’ll walk you through the differences between baby back ribs, spare ribs, and St. Louis style ribs, as well as give you the info on smoking each type.


smoked chicken with kansas city style bbq sauce

Smoked Chicken with Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

My recipe for Smoked Chicken with Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce is one of those all-around perfect smoked chicken recipes. The chicken is smoked and slathered in a tangy Kansas City style BBQ sauce, then smoked to perfection, making a meal that everyone will love.


Sliced smoked chicken breast on a fork.

Smoked Chicken Breast

When you’re looking for a basic, yet flavorful way to cook up your chicken breast, look no further than my recipe for Smoked Chicken Breast. It’s seasoned with my award-winning chicken seasoning, and, of course, it’s full of juicy good flavor.


Smoked Pork Chops

If you’re looking for the perfect dinner for those busy weekdays, then my Smoked Pork Chops are easy to make and are ready in 90 minutes or less. These guys are packed with flavor and taste undeniably amazing with some fresh, homemade applesauce.


smoked hamburger with pickle, tomato, onion, and lettuce on hamburger bun

Smoked Hamburgers

It doesn’t get any easier than these Smoked Hamburgers, and they’ll give you so much good flavor, you might opt for smoking your hamburgers from now on. If you master this recipe, then those fast food burgers will be a thing of the past.


Smoked Steak: The Ultimate Guide

If you’ve ever wanted to smoke steak, but you don’t know where to start, this Smoked Steak post is the ultimate guide to selecting the right steak and smoking it perfectly to your preferred doneness.


twice smoked ham

Twice Smoked Ham with Brown Sugar Honey Glaze

I can’t praise the flavor of this Twice Smoked Ham with Brown Sugar Honey Glaze enough. Hardwood smoke combined with the sugar and honey glaze make for a sweet and savory ham that is perfect for Sunday dinners or holiday meals.


Best Meats to Smoke: Beef Favorites

Here’s some of the best beef recipes to smoke on your backyard smoker. Beef tastes amazing in a smoker, and that smoke ring is simply to die for. If you’re ready to tackle this BBQ staple, then I’ve got you covered.
texas style beef brisket

Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket

My post about Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket is an entire process for the most tender, delicious, to-die-for beef brisket you’ll ever have. If you have the time to commit to a good brisket, then this recipe will get you incredible results.


Poor man's burnt ends in a pile.

Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

For those of you who don’t want to smoke a whole beef brisket to make burnt ends, my recipe for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends smoke up a chuck roast in significantly less time for a flavor experience that is out of this world.


Smoked New York Strip Roast

When you’re looking for that perfect roast to serve as a gorgeous (and delicious) centerpiece at your next holiday meal, Smoked New York Strip Roast is the clear winner. Strip roast is incredibly tender and juicy, so all your guests will leave full and satisfied.


smoked prime rib

Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib

This Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib is slathered in a garlic herb compound butter before being slow smoked for the most amazing prime rib you’ll ever have. It’s a great holiday feast, and it looks as good as it tastes.


Best Meats to Smoke: Pork Favorites

Whether you’re sticking pork ribs on the smoker, or you just want some good-flavored pork belly or a roast, here are some of the best pork recipes to smoke.
Smoked pork ribs on cutting board for meats.

3-2-1 Smoked Ribs

This process for 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs is a foolproof way to cook ribs that fall right off the bone, even if you’ve never made ribs. After cooking these smoked ribs just once for your family or friends, I guarantee you’ll get requests for it over and over again.


smoked pork loin on a wooden cutting board with fresh herbs and a knife and fork

Smoked Pork Loin

Apple wood, my signature Sweet Rub, and a pork loin roast are all you need to cook your own amazing Smoked Pork Loin. It’s perfect to make when you have a few friends coming over for dinner, so snag the ingredients and get this pork loin on the smoker.


Pile of smoked pork belly meats on a wooden cutting board.

BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

This BBQ Smoked Pork Belly is delicious and versatile. With only 4 ingredients to its name, you can cube it or shred it then eat it as-is or in a nice BBQ sandwich.


Best Meats to Smoke: Chicken Favorites

Chicken was practically made for the smoker. It comes off nice and juicy, with an out-of-this world the flavor marriage of chicken and smoke. I highly recommend cooking any cut of chicken on the smoker, but start with these few here:
Smoked chicken thigh meats on a wooden cutting board.

Smoked Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are notoriously moist and delicious, and these Smoked Chicken Thighs are no exception. Slathered in my whiskey peach BBQ sauce, they’ll make an awesome lunch or dinner any day of the week.


Smoked Whole Chicken

If you’re looking for an affordable way to feed your whole family, then you have to try out my recipe for Smoked Whole Chicken. Not only will you have plenty of food to feed your fam, but you’ll likely have leftovers for chicken sandwiches the next day.


Smoked Chicken Legs

Sometimes you just need a simple recipe for chicken legs, and this is that recipe, my friends. My Smoked Chicken Legs are simple, but with lots of leeway for you to play with flavor combinations.


smoked chicken wings

Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are another great chicken recipe to make on the smoker. These Crispy Smoked Chicken Wings are totally tasty with a nice, crispy skin. Serve them as-is or with your favorite wing sauce for a platter of wings that your guests won’t be able to resist.


Best Meats to Smoke: The Tough Cuts

When deciding what the best cuts of meat to smoke are, I like to focus on two categories. The first includes tough cuts that can use some low and slow loving. The smoker is perfect for helping to tenderize these otherwise tough cuts of meat.
Shredded smoked chuck roast meats on a wooden cutting board.

Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast

Smoked Beef Chuck Roast is one of the most addictive pulled beef recipes out there. It’s tender with amazing beefy flavor, making it the perfect weekend recipe to make for family and friends.


Stack of beef ribs on a wooden cutting board.

Smoked Beef Ribs

Cooking beef ribs on the smoker helps to tenderize the meat and give them a good amount of smoky flavor. Low and slow is the name of the game for my Smoked Beef Ribs, giving you a gorgeous dark bark that tastes simply divine.


Whiskey Peach Smoked Pulled Chicken

This Whiskey Peach Smoked Pulled Chicken is injected with peach juice, whiskey, and melted butter then smoked over peach wood for a flavorful pulled chicken experience.


Smoked Beef Short Ribs

If you want an extremely beefy, satisfying rib, then these Smoked Beef Short Ribs are big, meaty snacks on a stick. Follow my recipe, so you can ensure that your short ribs come off the grill good and tender.


Best MeatS to Smoke: The Tender Cuts

The second category of meat that is great cooked on a smoker include tender cuts of meat that pick up great smoky flavor. This includes tenderloins, whole turkeys, and fish. Check out a few of my favorite tender recipes below:

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked Pork Tenderloin is easy to cook on your smoker, and you can alter it to your liking with a variety of flavors, spices, and sauces. It’s a great weekday dinner option, and it can even be fancied up for special occasions.


Whole smoked turkey on a serving platter surrounded by fresh apples and herbs.

Smoked Turkey

While this Smoked Turkey is ideal for Thanksgiving dinner, it’ll make a great meal at any holiday, or for any special occasion (think birthdays, family celebrations, and more.) Once you’ve smoked your turkey, you’ll never go back to cooking it in the oven again.


Two smoked salmon filets on a white serving dish.

Smoked Salmon with Maple Orange Glaze

I’m a firm believer that anything and everything can be cooked on the smoker. Fish is especially delicious on the smoker, and my recipe for Smoked Salmon with a Maple Orange Glaze is completely to die for. It’s sweet and savory with plenty of good fish flavor.


Smoked Beef Tenderloin with White Wine Mushroom Gravy

This Smoked Beef Tenderloin with White Wine Mushroom Gravy is tender and completely decadent. The white wine mushroom gravy gives this tenderloin an extra fancy touch, which makes it the perfect dinner for a date night with your significant other.


What are the Best Meats to Smoke?

I cannot tell you how many times I get this question from fans and followers. This is quite a subjective question because you can pretty much cook any meat on the smoker. Let’s narrow this question down by talking about regional favorites. If you ask anyone from these US locations, you’ll likely get the following answers:

Best Meats to Smoke: Texas

Smoked brisket meats in foil.

Texas Crutch: Smoked Brisket in Foil

This Texas Crutch: Smoked Brisket in Foil is a great post all about making smoked brisket by wrapping it in foil during the smoking process. It helps your meat retain moisture for the juiciest brisket ever.


Best Meats to Smoke: Carolinas

Whole smoked pig meats on butcher paper.

Smoked Whole Pig Roast

This Smoked Whole Pig Roast (AKA going whole hog) is the ultimate way to cook a whole pig. And believe it or not, you can cook an entire pig in your pellet smoker using my tips and technique outlined in the post.


Best Meats to Smoke: Kansas City

Stack of burnt ends on a wooden cutting board.

BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends (Kansas City Style)

Kansas City Style BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends are like BBQ candy. The brisket is slow smoked, covered in a Kansas City BBQ sauce, and then served in bite-sized beef nuggets. If you want an authentic experience, then serve with a slice of white bread.


Best Meats to Smoke: Memphis

Sauced and smoked ribs stacked in front of bottles of BBQ sauce.

Low and Slow Ribs

For an old-school, authentic smoky rack of ribs, follow my technique for Low and Slow Ribs. They make take their sweet time, but once they’re done, they be so full of good, smoky flavor you’ll discover they were well worth the wait.


Best Meats to Smoke: Pacific Northwest

Smoked salmon meats on bagel and cutting board.

Cold Smoked Salmon

A favorite among fish lovers, this process for making Cold Smoked Salmon is great served with cream cheese, bagels, and capers.


Best Meats to Smoke: California

Sliced smoked tri tip meats on a wooden cutting board.

Smoked Tri Tip

This next recipe is popular in the Western US, but gaining traction all across the states. My recipe for Smoked Trip Tip is smoked then seared for a juicy interior and a gorgeous crust on the exterior. Oh, and it’s seasoned with my signature beef seasoning, giving it lots of great flavor.


Meats to Smoke: The Methods

Now that you have all the recipes you could ever want to cook on the smoker (and dozens more are available to you on our blogroll), let’s talk about the best way to make smoked meats. I’m partial to smoking my meat on a pellet smoker. I use my Camp Chef SmokePro daily, but you can also get an amazing smoke flavor and cooking ability on a variety of other smokers. Not sure what wood to use when smoking? If you want a great summary of all the different types of wood for smoked meat, then read up on the Best Wood for Smoking.

Backyard BBQ Grill Guide

This Backyard BBQ Grill Guide provides you with the ins and outs on many different smokers (and grills) so you can select the grill that will best fit your needs.


Favorite Meats to Smoke

What are your favorite meats to smoke? Sound off in the comments section below. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind-the-scenes action, then follow along on my social channels on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Various smoked meats on platters.
**We originally published this post in January 2020, but we recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. However, the recipes remain the same.



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Reader Reviews

15 Reviews

  1. Judy Walker says:

    My husband and I are big fans of yours and we love to have a;; your great ides. They will be well used as we are remodeling the Kitchen and will be using our smoker even more than we do now. Thank You.

  2. Jeannette cluck says:

    My husband smoked a lamb for a neighbor and they said it was the best they ever tasted. 1st time for my hubby. Warning it was greasy ! Can’t believe how much grease it left in my hubby’s smoker.

  3. Neil G. says:

    I made the garlic butter smoked prime rib for my family this last Christmas. It was a huge hit. If I hadn’t set the bones aside, I am sure my family would have picked those clean. I then used the leftover bones in a slow cooked pot of black eyed peas for New Years. They turned out amazing too – salty and smokey and super “bougie” as my wife put it.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Amazing! Thanks for coming back and leaving such a great review!

  4. Daniel Fickle says:

    Do you have any cookbooks out?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I don’t at this point in time!

  5. Brian Hebert says:

    Thank you for sharing this great article!

    1. West says:

      Great article! For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been scouring the internet for good recipies and saving links to the ones I like. I hadn’t noticed it till about a month ago but 75% of the links/recipies/tips I’ve saved over time have been yours.

      Thanks for everything! Keep it up.

  6. jc says:

    hey grill – do you have a recommended brand of pellets?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Not really. I use mostly Camp Chef brand.

  7. Kate says:

    Hi there! First timer here—we smoked a 3.75 lb grass-fed brisket today and it came out pretty tough. Turned the grill to 225, but were we supposed to adjust the grill so the smoker unit reached 225?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      What was the temperature of the brisket when you pulled it off the smoker?

  8. Robert Dameron says:

    Susie do you have a recipe for smoked leg of lamb Thank you

  9. Ken Cannon says:

    I do enjoy your web site, especially the recipes. Yesterday I smoked a chuck roast for burnt ends. Just like you said it was tender and delicious. Also smoked a rack of baby back ribs. Nothing but praise from my guest. Both were really enjoyed. Thank you for your post and the delicious recipes. Also the smoked Tri-tip is one of my favorites.