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posted September 26, 2022

Best Meats to Smoke

If you’re looking for a comprehensive post all about the best meats to smoke, 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.

Best Meats to Smoke for a Beginner

If you want good, simple smoked meats, 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.

Meat shredder claws in shredded pulled pork on a wooden board.

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, and smoked nice and slow for the darkest bark ever, it’s the best shredded pork around.


Smoked Pork Ribs

This post all about Smoked Pork Ribs is your one-stop shop for all the info on cooking pork ribs on your smoker. I’ll walk you through the differences between baby back ribs, spare ribs, and St. Louis style ribs and 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, 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 it’s full of juicy good flavor.


Smoked Pork Chops

If you’re looking for the perfect dinner for those busy weekdays, my Smoked Pork Chops are easy to make and are ready in 90 minutes or less. These guys are packed with flavor and taste 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. And fast food burgers? Those things 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 Beef to Smoke

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.

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, 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, and 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 Pork to Smoke

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.

3 2 1 Ribs

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. 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 cubed pork belly 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 Chicken to Smoke

Chicken was practically made for the smoker. It comes off nice and juicy, and the flavor marriage of chicken and smoke is out of this world. I highly recommend cooking any cut of chicken on the smoker, but start with these few here:

Smoked chicken thigh 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, 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 and basic, 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 Cuts of Meat to Smoke: 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 chuck roast 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, these Smoked Beef Short Ribs are big, meaty snacks on a stick. Follow my recipe, and you can ensure that your short ribs come off the grill good and tender.


Best Cuts of Meat to Smoke: 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 you 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 makes this tenderloin extra fancy, and I consider 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:


texas crutch smoked beef brisket on 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.



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.


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 served in bite-sized beef nuggets. For an authentic experience, serve with a slice of white bread.



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.


Pacific Northwest

Cold Smoked Salmon

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



Sliced smoked tri tip 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.


Best Way to Smoke Meat

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? Read up on the Best Wood for Smoking for a great summary of all the different types of wood for smoked meat.

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.


Smoked Meats

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, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!

This best meats to smoke post was originally published in January 2020. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips.

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