[TOP 10] Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners- Good Tips

10 Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners

If you are someone who has never smoked meat before, or if you want to branch out and try something new, this is the article for you! We’ve compiled a list of 10 best meats to smoke for beginners using information from experts around the web.

The reason we have done this is because smoking can be overwhelming with all of the steps that go into it. With our list, we hope to help make your first time as easy as possible so that you can take on smoking like a pro!

Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners


Smoking meat is a natural way to preserve the meats you have hunted or are able to purchase. It’s an age-old process that has been used for many years, especially in rural areas where people didn’t have refrigerators. Smoking meat keeps it fresh and edible for extended periods of time, making it a good choice for hunters, preppers, survivalists or anyone who enjoys hunting game.

However, smoking meat isn’t difficult but there are some things that should be considered before getting started. First off you will need to make sure your smoker can maintain the proper temperature which differs depending on what kind of meat you are using. Most smokers come equipped with thermometers so it shouldn’t be too hard to ensure you are getting the right temperature.

The second thing you will need is patience because smoking meat takes time, up to 16 hours for larger cuts of meat. If possible, plan your last meal before bedtime so that you can take it out in the morning when it’s finished cooking.

The third thing you should know about smoking meat is what kind of wood to use. Picking the right combination of smoke woods can be difficult if you are just starting out but there are some good rules to follow.

You’ll want to look at different types of meats and pick a smoke wood that will pair nicely with it. For example, seafood pairs well with fruit flavors like apple or cherry while pork pairs well with hickory or oak flavor profiles. Following these simple rules will lead to a flavorful smoked meat.

The last thing you should know is how much meat you will need to smoke for your desired number of people. You can always save the extra meat for later but it’s better if you cook what you think you’ll eat that day because cooked meats don’t freeze well and lose their flavor quickly. Now onto our list! Take a look at some of the best meat to smoke for beginners:

1. Pork Butt/Shoulder

Pork is one of the most popular meats to smoke because it can be used in a variety of dishes. Pork shoulder is often called pork butt but they are actually the same cut of meat. As far as best meats to smoke for beginners, pork is one that you shouldn’t have trouble with. Just pick your favorite type of pulled pork recipe and you’ll have hours of fun! Here are some ideas:

Pulled Pork Nachos  – This easy nacho recipe includes pulled pork, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic salt and more. Pulled Pork Fajitas  – Get ready for fiesta when you make these flavorful pulled pork fajitas which include shredded cabbage, chilies, onions and more.

Pulled BBQ Pork  – If you like BBQ sauce with your pulled pork then this recipe is for you! It includes a delicious homemade barbecue sauce that pairs perfectly with the pork.

2. Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is one of the most popular cuts of meat to smoke because it’s a large piece of meat but not too hard to handle. Best meats to smoke for beginners should start with beef briskets because they have a higher success rate than other larger cuts of meat. Here are some recipes from our site: Smoked Beef Brisket.

This recipe includes an easy dry rub which will add flavor throughout your smoked brisket. Smoked Beef Brisket Tacos  – If you don’t want the dry rub then this recipe may be for you because it uses a delicious salsa which is made from pinto beans. Smoked Beef Brisket Dip  – This beef brisket dip may not be your typical pulled meat but it’s definitely worth giving a try.

3. Chicken

Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners

Whole Chickens aren’t always thought of as meats that can be smoked and turned into amazing dishes but they absolutely can! A whole chicken simply means the entire chicken including all parts and pieces. Smoking a whole chicken will give you some delicious meals while allowing plenty of time to experiment with other cuts of meat.

For best results we recommend: Spicy Chicken Breasts  – You’ll get spicier chicken breasts when you add some jalapeno and cayenne pepper to the mix. Smoked Chicken  – This smoked whole chicken recipe includes a maple syrup rub that gives it a sweet flavor. Then serve with your favorite side dish for an unforgettable meal.

4. Salmon

Smoking fish is actually quite simple and very delicious…even for beginners! If you’ve never tried before, we recommend starting with: Smoked Salmon Dip  – This easy salmon dip is perfect if you’re hosting friends or family over because it can be made in minutes.

You can serve this with crackers or even vegetables like celery sticks. Smoked Salmon Sandwich  – Your lunch options will get a lot more exciting when you start smoking salmon regularly. This sandwich includes a simple smoked salmon spread which makes it a great option for a quick meal.

5. Lobsters

Some people think that lobsters are too hard to handle when smoking but they couldn’t be more wrong! If you know the right techniques then you can turn out amazing lobster dishes over and over again without any effort at all. Just pick your favorite lobster recipe from our site: Smoked Lobster Tail  –

These easy smoked lobster tails take less than 2 hours to make and pair perfectly with garlic butter or homemade mayo. Smoked Lobster Mac N Cheese  – When you add some smoked lobster meat to this dish, your mac n cheese will go from ordinary to extraordinary in no time. Best of all, it doesn’t include any heavy cheese sauces and is much healthier!

Smoked Lobster Rolls  – These lobster rolls may take a couple hours to make but the end result makes it well worth the effort. They include your choice of either homemade or store bought chowder which adds flavor and depth.

6. Pork Tenderloin (boneless)

Pork tenderloin is cut from pig’s upper back leg and has a very low fat content for those that are watching their weight. Smoking them is easy as long as you know how to avoid common mistakes like overcooking or drying out.

Here are some great recipes: Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloins  – Sweet maple syrup helps to caramelize these delicious pork tenderloins while adding flavor and moisture. Teriyaki Glazed Pork Tenderloin  – This dish is an excellent option for those nights when you want something easy and quick to make. It’s great over rice or on a bed of salad greens.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Maple Sauce  – If you like your smoked meats spicy then this is the one for you! The maple sauce isn’t too sweet and has just enough kick to give it some oomph.

7. Bacon

If there’s anything we love more than eating bacon, it’s smoking it ourselves at home! You can get all of that familiar smoky flavor without even firing up the grill by using: Wood Smoking Chips  – But if you do have a grill, this video shows you how to smoke bacon while grilling it. It’s another great way to get that crispiness without the hassle of frying!

Maple Bacon  – If you love maple syrup then you’ll love this dish. The maple flavor is subtle but bold enough to give your taste buds something they’ll remember. Smoked Bacon Explosion  – This isn’t just any old recipe for bacon explosion, it’s one of the most popular recipes on our site for good reason. Everything about it is amazing and definitely worth trying at least once!

8. Prime Rib (beef)

You may recognize prime rib as the all-you-can-eat menu item from a fancy steakhouse but it’s actually really easy to make at home. Just follow these simple instructions: Smoked Prime Rib Roast  – Our first prime rib recipe uses a wet rub of spices and herbs that adds flavor while keeping the meat moist and tender.

This version is great for those on a low sodium diet because you control how much salt you add to your own plate! Maple Glazed Smoked Prime Rib  – The maple glaze on this incredible dish adds an extra layer of flavor while also helping to caramelize it. There are few things in life better than smoked prime rib so don’t miss out!

9. Beef Tenderloin (boneless)

Beef tenderloin is another cut of beef that has a very low amount of fat which makes it perfect for smoking. Here are some more mouth-watering recipes: Wood Smoking Chips  – This video shows you how to smoke beef tenderloins while grilling them. Once again, if you have a grill then this technique works like a charm! Honey Glazed Smoked Beef Tenderloin.

The honey glaze on top of this dish adds extra sweetness and moisture to the finished product. For those who prefer their smoked meats sweet rather than savory. Smoked Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Reduction Sauce  – If you’re a big fan of beef then you’ll love this recipe. The port wine reduction sauce adds a unique flavor that makes it anything but ordinary.

10. Smoked Pork Butt (boneless)

Pork butt is another term for pork shoulder and there are several recipes available on our site: Wood Smoking Chips  – Pork butt is also perfect when smoked over indirect heat in an outdoor grill like the one shown in this video. This allows you to smoke it all day without worrying about flare ups or overcooking the meat.

Pulled Pork BBQ  – If you’re looking for something easy then look no further! All you need is some basic spices and seasonings, add the pork and let the smoker do its job while filling your home with that delicious smoky aroma. Smoked Pork Butt  – Here’s another recipe for smoked pork butt that uses a dry rub of spices to flavor the meat.

The sweetness comes from brown sugar which is always a hit at any party!

Tips and guides on choosing Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners

Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners

1. How to choose Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners

Beef, Pork and Venison are the most popular meats for smoking.  If you’re wondering how to smoke meat then you must see this post: How to Smoke Meat . It’s very informative and gives answers to all of your questions on how to smoke different types of meats such as beef, pork or venison.

Smoked pork butt is a budget-friendly cut that doesn’t take too long to prepare. The only downside is that it contains a moderate amount of fat which can make it a little tricky sometimes. But don’t worry! There are plenty of recipes available online that show you how to smoke pork butt using dry rubs or wet mops for extra flavor and moisture.

2. How To Cure Meat First before Smoking?

As I mentioned, pork butt contains a moderate amount of fat which can make it slightly tricky to keep moist and tender when smoked. The best way to do this is to cure the meat first by soaking it overnight in water with some sugar, salt and sodium nitrite (optional). This sounds complicated but all you need to do is soak the meat in 1 gallon of water mixed with 4 cups sugar, 4 tbsp salt and 2 tsp sodium nitrite.

Towards end of successfully smoking your first or second time then you will be able to smoke without curing the meat. But beginners are not advised for this process because they may burn their hands rather than enjoying their delicious smoked meat. If you are beginner then see How To Smoke Meat Guide first.

This recipe will guide you for curing meat before smoking: Brine Solution For Curing Meat Before Smoking . This is a simple brine solution that anyone can make at home with easily available ingredients. Adding nitrite in this brine will help to cure the meat and also eliminate possible bacteria from raw meat.

I highly recommend this process only after your next time smoked your first or second time successfully.

3. Steps by Steps on How to Smoke Meat?

  • First of all, you need to clean the meat thoroughly.
  • Apply a well-balanced seasoning mixture over meat or simply apply salt and pepper.
  • Try your choice of wood for smoke flavor e.g apple-wood, hickory etc.
  • Start smoking process with smoker around 220 °F until it’s reached about 160 °F at probe or inside center of meat.

4. What is the difference between Smoke and Grill?

Smoking and Grilling is two different ways of cooking meat. Smoking uses low temperatures (140-225 °F) for a longer time (6-22 hrs) with wood smoke or without applying any heat source  that will give best flavor with moist and tender result. Smoking applies the technique of dry cooking  or wet cooking to help retain moisture and bring out the natural flavor of meat e.g smoking ribs.

Grilling gives you quick results by applying high temperature  that ranges from 300-600 °F through direct heat or flame with less smoke flavor over food as compared to smoking it at low temperature. Smoked meats are also grilled but not vice versa, because usually grilling uses fat trimmed meat pieces for faster cooking.

5. Common mistakes when Smoke Meat

– Do not over apply a strong tasting wood smoke e.g hickory because it will cover the meat’s natural flavor.

– Do not use too much lighter fluid to start fire because it may cause a fire and burn your meat.

– Don’t poke or open the smoker once started smoking process as that may reduce the temperature very quickly and also dry up your meat from inside.

– Keep an eye on water level in water pan as if you don’t have enough water then there is a chance of catching fire from bottom.

Final Thoughts: Try this delicious recipe at home and let me know if you have any questions by commenting below. If you enjoyed this recipe, check out  To Make Smoked Pork Tenderloin .

6. Smoked Pork Butt Recipe:


  • Pork Butt (3-5 lbs).
  • Dry Rub: 2 tbsp.
  • Brown Sugar 1/2 tsp.
  • Cayenne Pepper 1 Tbsp.
  • Onion Powder 1 Tbsp.
  • Garlic Powder 3/4 tsp.
  • Cumin 1/2 tsp Chili Powder  1/4 tsp.
  • Celery Seed 1 tsp.
  • Coarse Ground Black Pepper  1 tsp.
  • Salt Vegetable Oil Non-Stick.

Cooking Spray Directions: Trim excess fat from pork butt and cut into 4 equal pieces. Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Apply a generous amount of dry rub on the meat and coat thoroughly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours to allow to blend. Prepare smoker for direct heat cooking at about 220 °F.

If using a charcoal smoker, use the Minion Method to maintain heat. Use hickory or fruit woods for best flavor options. Place meat on smoker and cook until internal temperature of 160-170 °F is reached (about 3 hours). Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Common question related with Best Meat to Smoke for Beginners – FAQs

1. What meat is good to smoke on the Weber Grill?

Answer: If you are using Weber grill then I recommend any larger cuts of pork or beef ribs, brisket, pork shoulder/butt should be fine. The important rule here apply indirect heat and never over direct flame so that the food will not burn instead tasty smoked flavor comes out.

2. Best meat for beginner could be?

Answer: Almost all meats are better to smoke than grill but brisket, pork shoulder/butt seems to be best option which require long time cooking process at low temperature with your favorite wood chips.

3. How to prevent burning meat when smoking?

Answer: You can simply follow my recipe for this process by following curing meat before smoking part. Always keep an eye on water pan and maintain internal temperature around 220 to 250 degree F never over or under cooking process because that may cause fire.

4. Do I need any special type of wood chips for smoking meat?

Answer: For best flavor logs, you can use hickory, oak but cherry-wood, apple-wood seem to be a great option as they impart a sweet flavor rather than heavy smoke taste e.g mesquite wood may even overpower the food’s natural flavors. You can also make my favorite easy  homemade  wood chips from foil paper for this recipe by following below link How to Make Homemade Wood Chips .

5. Do I have to keep adding wood chips during smoking process?

Answer: Wood chips will last for 20 to 30 minutes so applying more than 3 or 4 time during smoking process is not necessary, but if you want to apply then do it after every 20 minute duration.

6. Which meat is best for cold smoking?

Answer: You can cold smoke all meats because during this process temperature doesn’t rise over 100 degrees F which mean you can use any.

7. How much time it takes to smoke a turkey in smoker grill oven?

Answer: If your turkey is large in size and weigh more than 12 lbs then smoking a whole turkey need around 5-6 hours cooking process at low temperature 200 degree F with your favorite wood chip flavor e.g applewood chips seems to be great option.

8. Which one is better smokers or grills?

Answer: For smoking meats, grill are best option but if you are using smoker for this purpose then I recommend any larger cuts of pork or beef ribs, brisket, pork shoulder/butt should be fine. The important rule here apply indirect heat and never over direct flame so that the food will not burn instead tasty smoked flavor comes out.

9. How to smoke meat in stove top smoker?

Answer: You need to use your favorite wood chips which impart great flavor e.g hickory, cherrywood etc., soak them in water about 30 minutes before placing on oven burner and place a drip pan underneath the oven rack before heating at high temperature until it start smoking. Place meat on smoker and cook until internal temperature of 160-170 °F is reached.

10. How long to smoke beef ribs?

Answer: Beef short ribs should take about 4 hours cooking process at low temperature 225 degree F with your favorite wood chips (hickory, oak), remember do not place it directly over fire because that may cause burn or undercooking so always keep an eye on water pan and maintain internal temperature around 220 to 250 degree F.


When you choose the best meat to smoke for beginners, there are three factors to consider. First, what type of smoker will be used? Second, how often do you plan on smoking? Third, which cuts should have a higher fat content and marbling in order to really taste good after being smoked? Smoking is an art that takes time and patience to master but with these tips it becomes much easier.

This article has given you a list of 10 different meat to smoke for beginners smokers get started along their journey into this world-class tradition. Feel free to contact us you have any question. We will reply soon. Thank you for reading!

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