The 5 Best Meats to Smoke for Beginners at Home!

Smoking has now become a new trend and favourite technique of cooking your favourite dishes.

Smoked meat is the product of a cycle that originates in the Paleolithic period to cook red meat, white meat and seafood.

Smoking adds flavour, increases the quality of meat by the Maillard reaction, and preserves meat along with curing.

It gives the food more seasoning flavours that will leave you divine by the taste.

Here in this article, we will discuss some of the best meats to smoke especially for beginners at home. 

In this guide we have,

  • What is meat smoking?
  • The best meats to smoke for a beginner
  • Tips for smoking meat for beginners
  • Conclusion

What is Meat Smoking?

Smoking is a fire preparation technique for meat and other foods. Wood chips should be placed in the fire to give the meal a smoky flavour.

Smoking is dried separately. smoking contributes flavour and a slight food-preservation benefit to beef, fish and poultry.

It is the process to tenderize the fibres of meat with the help of a controlled temperature and this process is also known as cold smoking.

Cold smoking is a procedure that preserves and gives a distinctive smoke-like taste to meat when used along with the cure. Some foods can be smoked cold and may not have to be cured like meat. Without being cooled, cold-smoked products can last for months.  

Who wants to eat undercooked meat? You don’t want to serve that to your guests as well so make sure that you cook it fully with all the tender flavours of the meat.

Not just smoking but every cooking process has its own consequences and needs different radiation of heat.and when it comes to smoking, then smoke itself is a source of heat transferred through radiation.

Each and everything in the cooking process plays an important part and depends upon the rise of temperature. In addition to this, smoking takes the most time and energy.

The Best Meats to Smoke for a Beginner

Best Meats to Smoke in 2020

There are several kinds of meat with different benefits and cooking time. It’s just that no matter what you’re cooking the process will remain the same except the smoking process as it is the slowest process of all and it can take hours to be completely done.

This is because of radiation as it is the slowest heat transfer process because the body is not directly in contact with the heat.

As there are different types of meat so is there cooking time, consistency, size, toughness and whatever is inside them.

All of these factors are the reason for the different types of meats and how they should be smoked. In addition to this, size and toughness of meat are the main aspects of differentiation.

It will help you determine the time required for each type of meat to be smoked. Meat with lean cuts contains low fat and takes the least amount of time to be smoked.

Then there is meat with thick cuts that needs a sufficient amount of fat that lasts for hours of smoking without being dried. Meat with tough cuts has high connective tissues with the perfect amount of fat and the successful meat to be perfectly smoked.

Fat helps to keep the meat moist for a longer duration while smoking.

Moreover, the meat with tough tissue has high collagen which brokes at the time of cooking. Breaking of collagen is the process where it brokes into sugar and gives more tender flavour to the meat. Then there is another thing in this which is called smoky flavour.

  The smoky flavour is also a component of the natural flavour of meat which depends upon the wood used for smoking. 

Now we will discuss some of the best meats for smoking:

  • Tri-tip
  • Beef ribs
  • Chuck roast
  • Beef brisket


This type of beef is the most attractive of all when smoked perfectly. Meanwhile, at the time of smoking, you can explore many things.

Tri-tip is a sort of meat which is obtained from an untrained muscle which makes it easier to cook and lean.

The amount of fat in this type of beef is sufficient enough to consume. It takes less than 2 hours at 135F when smoked on oak or cherry wood.

Beef Ribs:

This is one of the favourite beef in terms of smoking. The ribs of this beef are not as tough as many others and have a good amount of fat to consume.

It is said to be the most sought beef when smoked. It takes about 5 to 6 hours when smoked at 205F in pecan or cherry wood.

Chuck Roast:

This type of beef is a bit smaller than a brisket which means it won’t take that much time to be cooked and this makes it rich in flavour.

This is a perfect combination of fat and collagen at the appropriate amount. It takes about 10 to 12 hours to smoke in hickory wood at 205F.

Moreover, next, we have the best poultry meat for smoking which includes,

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Turkey


Who does not love chicken? It always tastes good and is cooked within no time. Smoking a chicken makes the skin dry after smoking because it has less amount of fat on the skin.

Marinating a chicken is a good option before smoking or cooking as it gives more divine flavour to it. It will be smoked at 180F for about half an hour in maple wood.


Duck is another good option for smoking as it has the perfect amount of fat in it. As mentioned earlier, marinating helps in more tender flavour, so you can also do it with duck with some special marinade to enhance the flavour.

It takes about two hours to be smoked perfectly at 175F in an apple or maple wood.


This type of bird has different meat as compared to others and is said to be the best option for smoking in terms of the bird.

But before eating a bird you must keep this thing in mind that it does not have a sufficient amount of fat which you’re seeking.

You can also add some butter to smoke the turkey. It takes about 2 hours to be smoked perfectly at 160F in an apple or maple wood.

Then we have lamb beef that can be smoked and it includes,

  • Leg
  • Shoulder


The meat of a lamb’s leg is very delicious and perfect for smoking.

But it is tougher than shoulder and on the other hand, it has a sufficient amount of fat that makes the muscle more tender and moist to be consumed.

It takes about 8 hours to smoke at 190F in oak wood.


It is a perfect and delicate choice of meat in terms of smoking and a bit more expensive than many other types of meat.

It has a perfect amount of fat to consume which gives the tender flavours.

It is more tender and juicy than regular beef and takes about 9 hours to smoke at 190F in oak wood.

Next, we have SEAFOOD in the list of best meats to smoke which includes,

  • Salmon


People who are fond of smoke seafood then this is the perfect option for you. And just to remind you that it is the very first meat to be smoked which is loved up till now!

And what could be a better option than a Salmon?

As it is rich in omega 3 fatty oils which are good for a human body. It is said to be the best fish for smoking. It takes two hours to smoke at 160F in cherry wood.

Lastly, we have red meat in the list of best meats and that includes,

  • Pork shoulder 
  • Pork butt

Pork shoulder:

When comparing healthy quality cuts in both, pork tends to be marginally stronger than beef, with the exception of iron and zinc being richer.

Two times less beef is eaten worldwide. While the culinary custom views pork as white, it has more myoglobin than poultry and fish. It is biologically red meat.

Pork shoulder is the lower part of the pig. It contains a sufficient amount of muscle and connective tissue and it is smaller than pork butt. It is also among the good choices for smoking!

Pork butt:

This type of meat is full of flavour and a great choice in terms of smoked meat. It is obtained from the upper shoulder of a pig, an area rich in connective tissues and working muscles.

This is a perfect choice for smoking because of the benefits it will give to you as in dense tissues that slowly break down while cooking and results in tender flavours of meat which will leave you mouthwatering at the divine taste.

It takes about 1,5 hours to be smoked perfectly per pound.

Tips for Smoking Meat For Beginners

Smoking Meat

You must be wondering why you need tips and that too for smoking! Well not everybody is a professional and cannot cook or smoke food accordingly.

And when it comes to beginners then most of the time they undercook or spoil the food very easily.

Here we have mentioned some of the tips that will help the beginners to smoke perfectly:

Do not exaggerate it:

This is something which can easily spoil your food or anything else if you overdo it. This usually happens when you’re seeking something perfect!

Remember that it’s ok to commit mistakes and that’s how you will learn as well, just don’t go after PERFECT. When it comes to smoking meat make sure that you don’t put too much wood and for a longer duration.

It’s not like cooking that adding too much wood will fasten the smoking process instead you will end up spoiling the dish.

Make sure that you use it for half of the total time as mentioned for smoking and leave the heat to do its work.

White smoke VS Black smoke. Which one is better?

Does smoking colour really matter? Yes, of course, they are a sign of indication on their own whether the food is cooking or burning.

You should learn the proportion of air required by every food you cook so that you don’t waste the food.

In addition to this, if you see black smoke while smoking then immediately open the lid to let in the oxygen. Moreover, use some sort of ventilation while smoking so that you don’t burn the meat. 

Don’t try to look

We won’t suggest cooking to those people with lack of patience because not just cooking but everything takes some time to be done accurately.

In addition to this, it is very necessary to take care of two very important things while smoking and that is when you open the lead of a smoker the temperature drops automatically and the smoke as well.

Make sure that you lift the lid only when you have to fix one or two things.


Having said that, the guide for the best meats came to an end.

We hope that we were able to bring the best alternatives for you and the important aspects that will help you with this.

For any query, you can contact us as we truly value your feedback!