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The Best Meats to Smoke for Beginners

Do you like the smoky flavor in your meat dishes? Do you love meat to be tender and tasty? Maybe you want to try smoking meat yourself, but you’re unsure about which meats are the best for beginners to smoke.

At the end of this article, you will know which type and cut of meat you should use for smoking to get the right flavors and which meats are the best for beginners to smoke.

Best meats for beginners to smoke

More often than not, the affordable, fatty and less-fancy cuts of meat are the ones that are great for smoking.

Regardless of the type of smoker you use, you can get the best flavor from fatty meats, because the slow smoking process would break down the meat and make it as tender as possible.

If you are new to smoking meats, don’t worry. Here is a list containing some of the best meats to smoke for beginners. Try these in your smoker and become a pro easily.

The types of meats that are best suited for beginners are:

Pork Shoulder and Pork Ribs

You can never go wrong with the slow-cooked smoked pork shoulder.

Once you follow the recipe properly and smoke the meat for the right time, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the results.

Both of these meats are considered as one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

Smoked Chicken Breast

If you are looking for one of the best meats to smoke in a smoker, the chicken breast is a great idea. This is a classic dish that you can tweak as per your tastes by changing the sauce or seasoning.

Considered as one of the all-time best meats to smoke for beginners, the chicken breast is known for its juicy flavor, if smoked well.

And if you’re a fan of pulled pork, why not try smoked pulled chicken too?

What are the best cuts of meats to smoke?

For smoking purposes, you should always choose the less-fanciful cuts, that are tough and chewy. These cuts would not taste good, when cooked in other styles. Some of the most popular and best cuts of meats to smoke are:

Beef Brisket

If you are looking for the best meats to smoke at home, you need to buy briskets right away.

The briskets are extremely fatty meats; therefore, as the smoking process goes, they retain a lot of moisture. That’s why they turn out to be juicy and tender after you have smoked them.

Buy at least one pound of brisket every time.

The smoking time should be 90 minutes per pound, while the temperature should be set to 225 degrees F.

The briskets would be ready when the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F.

Pork Shoulder

We already told you that the pork shoulder is an excellent smoking choice for beginners. However, it is also one of the best meats to smoke in general.

The pork shoulder or pork butt is well-marbled. So, when you smoke it, the meat gets cooked from inside very well.

At the end of the slow-smoking process, you will be surprised to note how tender the pork shoulders taste.

The smoking time should be around 2 hours per pound of meat, and the smoker’s temperature should be set to 225 degrees F. While you can switch off the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, you can wait till 195 degrees F for extremely tender and juicy pork shoulders.

Pork Ribs

If you have been wondering what are the best meats to smoke easily at home, you should try smoking pork ribs.

You can choose spare ribs and baby back ribs for smoking; however, if you want to feed many people, we recommend the spare ribs.

If you are looking for affordable meat choices for smoking, pork ribs are a great choice.

The smoking time should be around 45 minutes per pound, in this case. The smoker should be set to a temperature of 230 degrees F. They are cooked when they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.

Whole Turkey

This is one of the easiest classic choices of meat for smoking.

Considered as an important part of Thanksgiving lunches, smoked turkey needs to be prepped well before smoking. The turkey should be at room temperature for an hour, at least before you put it in the smoker.

The smoking time you need to follow is 30 minutes per pound; however, refrain from using very large sized turkeys to avoid uneven cooking issues. Set the smoker’s temperature to about 250 degrees F and wait until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F at the breast.

Lamb Shoulders

Generally, beef and pork are the best meats to smoke in any smoker. However, you may be thrilled to know that lamb shoulders, too, can be used for smoking.

The meat in the shoulder of the lambs is very dense, and it has lots of connecting tissues. When you slow-smoke the meat, these connecting tissues break down to make the meat a lot juicier than you expected.

Whole Chicken

Regardless of your experience in smoking, you should definitely try smoking whole chicken. It takes a lot lesser to smoke whole chicken than beef and pork, so you can try this on days when you are hard-pressed for time.

The prep work involved in whole chicken is less, as all you need to do is to season the chicken with salt and spices of your choice.


Smoking is an excellent way of adding flavors, juice and tenderness to the meats. So, we highly recommend chewy and fatty meats for this process.

Always ensure that you strictly follow the smoking time and temperature, if you want a perfectly-smoked meaty dish on your plate.

Smoking requires a lot of time and patience from you. So, you need to enjoy the process than getting restless about it.

Smoke your favorite meats to your heart’s content and have a hearty meal with your family in your backyard to create some loving memories for life.

And remember, it’s not just meats that you can smoke! It’s also possible to smoke seafood such as carp, oysters, tuna and marlin.

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