For centuries our ancestors have been smoking foods as a form of preserving and preparing nutrient
dense food that would otherwise spoil. While we don’t always practice smoking foods for the same
reasons as our ancestors, we do love the process and the outcome. Smoking meat takes time for prep
and for the cooking process. Choosing the right cut of meat is the first step of the process. Here are
some of our favorite cuts for smoking.
- Whole Poultry
Whole chicken, compared to many cuts of beef and pork, takes much less time to smoke, making it great
for beginners. The prep work consists of either a simple brine, injecting seasoning or just a dry rub.
Whole turkey is very similar. Using a good brine and a dry rub, you are on your way to that perfect
thanksgiving meal. Whole turkey may take longer than a whole chicken due to its size, but the process is
the same for both. Depending on your smoker, this could easily be a set and forget process once the
bird is on the pit.
- Pork shoulder
The “Boston butt” or lower pork shoulder is a very common meat for smoker connoisseurs and backyard
grill masters alike. Featuring a large slab of fat and lots of connecting tissue makes this the perfect
candidate for smoking. This cut will render some of the juiciest and tender pulled pork. Boston butt is
usually inexpensive and easy for beginners to master.
- Pork Ribs
When it comes to smoking and BBQ most people’s first thought is of ribs. Ribs are by far one of the most
popular cuts of meat for BBQ and smoking, due to their exceptional juiciness from layers of fat.
Another very traditional cut for smoking is beef brisket. It does require a little more experience to
properly smoke, however smoking a brisket helps tenderize the tough cut of meat and delivers a
desirable smokey flavor. The average smoke time for brisket is around 12 hours so make sure you have
enough time set aside.
- Venison Roast
Our final suggestion is a less traditional cut. The venison roast is a more unique dish that is sure to be a
hit at your backyard gathering. Be careful with your selection of which cut of venison to use for smoking.
Leaner cuts such as backstrap or loin will cook quicker and tend to overcook due to lack of fat. To
prevent that, you could lay bacon strips over the top to add a layer of fat and flavor. Hind quarter roast
would be an excellent choice for smoking due to a higher fat content.
Smoking meat has become a past time for many folks. There are different wood options and tons of cuts
of meat to choose from. Whichever choice of meat you choose, you are sure to have a fantastic meal
with a unique flavor. Remember to keep an eye on the temp, don’t overdo it, and keep it stable. Retain
moisture, usually with a pan of liquid and maintain a constant smoke level for the best success. Get
smokin’ and have fun!