Smoked meat has an incredible flavor, transforming even the most basic meats, including chicken breast, into something truly extraordinary. But if you’re new to the food smoking world, it can be a tough hurdle to know what kind of meat to smoke first. Different cuts of meat can have diverse smoking processes that you need to learn before becoming a pitmaster. But the key thing to keep in mind before anything else is that barbecuing doesn’t have to be intimidating. Food smoking can be an easy task for anyone, with these easy smoking meats to get you started in BBQ.
Simple, quick, and easy-to-cook foods like beef ribs, pork chops, turkey, duck, and salmon are the finest meats to smoke for a beginner. This will give you a solid foundation on food smoking before moving on to more luscious and flavorful meats like brisket, lamb, pork butt, and tri-tip. These easy and simple meats for smoking will also help you gain the much-needed knowledge on the best flavors and correct temperatures for smoking perfect, tender, and savory meat. They will also enhance your confidence in the pit, warming you up for more complex cuts of meat.
Easiest Meat to Start Your Smoking Experience
1. Beef Ribs
Beef ribs are the commonly smoked cuts of meat. A significant number of outdoor cooking lovers will always have beef ribs on their ideal type of meat to smoke list. But there is a solid reason for this widespread love of beef ribs. Beef ribs are known to be one of the easiest cuts of meat to smoke, creating a succulent, tender, and tasty meal.
The high-fat content in ribs allows for smoking without worrying too much about them drying out or losing their seasoning, making them a great choice for beginners. Also, beef ribs are not as tough as other cuts of meat, allowing for quick and easy cooking.
2. Pork Chops
Pork chops are another great choice for beginners. This delicious and savory taste can be intimidating at a glance, but amateur smokers can also do them. It’s an easy-to-smoke cut of meat with soft tissue that doesn’t need intense cooking to break down.
The secret with smoking pork is having at least an inch thick cut to avoid overcooking.
Though mostly eaten at Thanksgiving, turkey is one of the easiest and quickest meats to smoke. It’s a quick-fix recipe that requires about two hours to prepare and smoke. Not forgetting how tender, savory, and flavourful a turkey can be. In addition, a turkey will give you plenty of meat that you can enjoy with your friends or family.
All you need is to be extra careful during the smoking process to avoid overheating or overcooking the bird. You can smear it in butter, which will help the turkey avoid drying out while also enhancing its flavor. This is because turkey has low-fat content, increasing the chances of it becoming dry.
While many fish taste fantastic after being smoked, salmon is one of the oiliest fish on the market and is highly sought after for smoking. The extra oil will keep the fish from drying out throughout the cooking process. You can marinate your salmon and use cherry wood to enhance the taste perfectly.
5. Chicken Breast
Chicken breasts are simple to smoke, but they can quickly dry out. A brining process is suggested since it keeps the meat moist. Seasoning can be done with any kind of rub, so make sure to use one to ramp up the flavor. It’s always best to watch the temperature keenly to make sure it doesn’t dry out too quickly.
Quick Tips to Learn Before Getting into Smoking
- Different meats require different temperatures and smoking times. Getting the time and temperature right will significantly influence the overall outcome.
- The meat’s toughness, fat content, and size influence the overall smoking time. This implies meats with a low fat content need low smoking time. A high fat content will allow for longer cooking times without drying the meat out.
- Seasoning is an essential step that influences the meat’s flavor and taste. There is also a wide variety of woods that can help enhance your meat’s taste.
- Knowing the ideal wood for the particular cut of meat you’re cooking is important for a great flavor. To clear any possible doubts on the ideal wood to use, you should go for our Bradley Bisquettes, which are specially compressed wooden sawdust pucks of uniform thickness that burn for a precise time. They produce consistent, pure smoke and are extinguished before converting to ash. Bradley Bisquettes are available in 17 flavors like hickory, pecan, apple, alder, oak, cherry, maple, etc.
- You can use any tool to smoke, but it’s always best to get a smoker. A top-quality food smoker can also change your smoking outcome giving you the best results. Some smokers, such as our Bradley Smoker, are designed with modern features that make smoking easier. Using the Bradley Smoker will serve you with an automated wood feeder, a digital console, an insulated body for your safety, and dual heat elements to enhance your meat smoking experience.
Check out these other articles on smoked meat:
5 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Smoke
5 Types of Meat You Didn’t Know You Could Smoke
To help you further on the process of becoming a pitmaster we created a free e-book:
Learn the tips & tricks of barbecue, from choosing the best grill and smoker to the best cuts of meat to start with. Also, read the pit master’s techniques and secrets to reach the perfect flavor.
+ 20 Free Recipes & Smoking Wood Pairing Chart!
And Bonus Internal Temperature Guide!