The Best Smoked Meat Recipes That Will Wow Your Guests

by Matt

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Smoking meat is a craft that turns basic cuts, into a fantastic feast. Whether you're a barbecue enthusiast or just starting your smoking journey discovering the recipes can truly elevate your cooking experience.

In this piece I'll share some of my picks for smoked meat dishes ranging from juicy pork to succulent beef brisket. Each recipe aims to help you achieve that flavor no matter your level of expertise.

We'll get into a range of meats, including pork shoulder, ribs and various beef cuts each with its smoking method. You'll receive guidance to ensure your smoked dishes turn out perfectly every time. So fire up your smoker. Prepare to amaze your loved ones with these mouthwatering smoked meat creations.

"group of Friends Enjoying a Bbq Meal Together Outdoors.

Necessary Gear for Smoking Meat

Picking the Perfect Smoker

Choosing the right smoker can make a huge difference in your smoking results. Here are some options:

  • Offset Smoker: Ideal for that authentic barbecue taste, with a separate firebox.
  • Pellet Smoker: Great for easy temperature control and consistent smoke.
  • Electric Smoker: Perfect for beginners, with simple operation and minimal monitoring.
  • Kamado Grill: Versatile and known for excellent heat retention, suitable for both smoking and grilling.

Each type offers unique benefits. If you're new to smoking, an electric smoker is a great starting point. For more seasoned pitmasters, an offset or pellet smoker might be more appealing.

For detailed product comparisons, make sure to visit Barbecue Smoker Reviews.

Essential Accessories

Having the right accessories can make your smoking experience smoother and more enjoyable. Here are some must-have tools:

  • Thermometer: Ensures your meat is cooked to perfection.
  • Wood Chips/Chunks: Different woods like hickory or applewood influence the flavor.
  • Water Pan: Keeps the meat moist by adding humidity to the smoker.
  • Tongs and Spatula: Long-handled tools for safe meat handling.
  • Drip Pans: Catch drippings to reduce cleanup time.

Using quality accessories like a reliable thermometer prevents undercooked meat. Choosing the right wood chips allows you to customize the flavor. Including a water pan helps retain moisture inside the smoker, ensuring juicy results.

Investing in the right smoker and accessories will enhance both the efficiency and flavor of your smoking endeavors.

Assorted Smoked Meats and Sides Spread out on a Table.

Popular Meats for Smoking

Smoking meat brings out rich flavors and tender textures. Here are some popular choices among smoking enthusiasts:

Beef Classics: Brisket and Ribs

  • Brisket: Often seen as a BBQ challenge, brisket is a favorite among barbecue fans. The marbled fat requires low and slow cooking to become tender. Using woods like oak or hickory enhances the flavor.
  • Ribs: Both back and short ribs require indirect heat and smoke. These cuts become incredibly flavorful when smoked properly.

Pork Favorites: Ribs and Pulled Pork

  • Ribs: Baby back and spare ribs are perfect for smoking. The 3-2-1 method (3 hours smoking, 2 hours wrapped in foil, 1 hour sauced) guarantees tender, delicious ribs.
  • Pulled Pork: Pork shoulder or butt benefits from long smoking times, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork.

Poultry Picks: Chicken and Turkey

  • Chicken: A whole smoked chicken with crispy skin is a crowd-pleaser. It's beginner-friendly and doesn't take long to cook.
  • Turkey: Smoking adds depth to turkey’s natural flavors. Brining the turkey before smoking helps keep it moist and flavorful.

Seafood Selections: Salmon and Shrimp

  • Salmon: Cold-smoked salmon pairs perfectly with bagels, cream cheese, and capers. It's a delicious choice for brunch.
  • Shrimp: Smoked shrimp cook quickly and soak up flavors well. They're ideal for skewers or part of a seafood meal.

For insights on keeping smoked meats juicy and flavorful, take a look at this guide on the best woods for smoking.

Smoking these meats will yield rich flavors and tender textures, perfect for any BBQ enthusiast.

Assorted Smoked Meats and Sides on a Tray.

Smoker Recipes for Everyone

Smoking meat offers endless possibilities. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pitmaster, these recipes will help you create delicious smoked dishes.

Classic Smoked Beef Brisket

A traditional smoked beef brisket is always a crowd-pleaser.


  • 12-14 pound whole packer brisket
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder


  1. Trim any fat from the brisket.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  4. Smoke brisket fat-side up until it reaches 195°F internal temperature (about 1 hour per pound).
  5. Rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

For detailed instructions, check out the Texas-style smoked beef brisket guide.

3-2-1 Smoked Pork Ribs

Achieve fall-off-the-bone ribs with the 3-2-1 method.


  1. Smoke ribs at 225°F uncovered for 3 hours.
  2. Wrap ribs tightly in foil with a splash of apple juice or beer, then smoke for another 2 hours.
  3. Unwrap, brush with BBQ sauce, and smoke for 1 hour.

This straightforward method is perfect for special occasions.

Simple Smoked Whole Chicken

Keep it simple with these ingredients and steps for a delicious smoked chicken.


  • 5-6 pound whole chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt


  1. Preheat smoker to 250°F.
  2. Rub chicken with olive oil, paprika, pepper, and salt.
  3. Smoke until breast reaches 165°F (about 3-4 hours).
  4. Rest for 15 minutes before carving.

This recipe is perfect for those new to smoking.

Delightful Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is loved for its rich flavors.


  • 2-3 pound salmon fillet
  • Salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Dill
  • Lemon slices


  1. Cure salmon with a mix of salt and sugar for 4 hours.
  2. Rinse and pat dry.
  3. Preheat smoker to 150°F.
  4. Smoke until flaky (about 1-2 hours).
  5. Serve with cream cheese, bagels, and capers.

For detailed instructions, check out the cold smoked salmon recipe.

These recipes cater to both beginners and experienced cooks, ensuring everyone can enjoy the art of smoking meat.

Creative Smoked Appetizers

Sometimes, you might want appetizers instead of main dishes. Here are some unique smoked appetizers to try out.

Delectable Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Treats

Smoked bacon-wrapped bites are always a hit at gatherings. They're simple to prepare and perfect for sharing.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños:

  • Fill jalapeños with cheese, wrap them in bacon.
  • Smoke for 1 hour at 250°F.

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp:

  • Wrap shrimp with bacon, season with a spice blend.
  • Smoke for 45 minutes at 225°F.

Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple:

  • Wrap pineapple pieces in bacon, brush with BBQ sauce.
  • Smoke for 1 hour at 275°F.

Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños

Cheese-stuffed jalapeños offer a perfect blend of spiciness and creaminess. Smoking them enhances the flavor.


  • Jalapeños
  • Cream cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Bacon


  1. Slice jalapeños in half and remove the seeds.
  2. Fill with a mix of cream cheese and cheddar.
  3. Wrap each stuffed jalapeño in bacon.
  4. Smoke for 1.5 hours at 225°F.

For extra kick, try using BBQ sauce on the jalapeños. Enjoy them with your favorite beverages.

Savory Smoked Meatballs

Versatile and flavorful, smoked meatballs make great appetizers or can be part of a main course.


  • Ground beef or pork
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
  3. Smoke at 250°F for 1.5 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  4. Brush with BBQ sauce during the last 15 minutes of smoking.

These smoked appetizers will elevate your snack game. Give them a try and wow your guests with these delicious treats.

Assorted Bbq Sauces in Small Glass Bowls Arranged on a Wooden Board.

Accompaniments and Sauces

Enhancing your smoked meat experience with sides and sauces is key. These additions enrich the flavors and round out your meal.

Smoked Macaroni and Cheese

The creamy, smoky taste of smoked macaroni and cheese makes it an ideal side dish for meats.

Preparation Made Easy:

  • Opt for elbow macaroni for even cooking.
  • Mix cream, cheese, and seasonings in an oven-safe container.
  • Smoke at 225°F for 1.5 to 2 hours.


  • Sprinkle bacon bits for an added kick.
  • Top with breadcrumbs for a crispy finish.
  • Garnish with chopped scallions or parsley for a fresh touch.

Smoked Veggies

Smoked vegetables complement your meats and create a well-rounded meal.

Popular Options:

  • Bell Peppers: Slice them up and smoke until tender.
  • Zucchini: Cut into thick slices to maintain texture.
  • Asparagus: Smoke until slightly charred for enhanced flavor.

Tips for Smoking Vegetables:

  • Coat the vegetables with oil and spices.
  • Smoke them at 225°F for 1 hour.
  • Use a grill basket to keep smaller pieces from falling through.

Different Varieties of Homemade BBQ Sauce

Homemade BBQ sauces offer flavors that can enhance the taste of any smoked meat.

Classic Kansas City Style:

  • A tangy sauce based on tomatoes.
  • Ingredients: Ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce.

Mustard-Based Sauce:

  • A favorite in South Carolina.
  • Ingredients: Mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper.

Spicy Chipotle:

  • Adds a bit of heat.
  • Ingredients: Chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, lime juice, honey.

Find out more about making your BBQ sauces.

By including these side dishes and condiments, you can make your meal memorable. So next time you use the smoker, think beyond the meat. Try out these ideas for a complete dining experience.

The Takeaway

Smoking meat is an art that adds richness and flavor to any dish. With the right tools and some creativity, you can turn simple ingredients into culinary delights. Whether you're new to smoking or an experienced pitmaster, there's always something new to experiment with. From smoked appetizers to sides and condiments, the possibilities are endless.

Get that smoker going, try out new recipes, and savor the experience of smoking meat. Enjoy your time smoking!

Whats a quick meat to smoke?

A whole chicken is a choice as it cooks fast in a smoker making it perfect if you want food in just a few hours.

Which meats are best, for smoking?

Top picks include brisket, pork shoulder, pork chops, chicken and ribs.

Is smoked meat healthier than grilled?

Smoking preserves nutrients due to its slow indirect heat making it a healthier alternative compared to high heat grilling.

How long does the smoking process take?

The smoking process can take anywhere from 8 to 18 hours. It requires patience and a low, consistent temperature.

What's the easiest meat to smoke for beginners?

Beef ribs are great, for beginners because their high fat content ensures they stay juicy and flavorful without risk of drying out.

What are the best side dishes for smoked meat?

Some of the best sides include smoked mac and cheese, smoked baked beans, smoked cornbread with honey butter, smoked garlic mashed potatoes, smoked Brussels sprouts, and BBQ corn ribs.

About the Author

Matt Barrell

Hi, Matt Barrell here. A BBQ and Smoked meat enthusiast. I love grilling and smoking meat, it is not just my hobby its my passion. My goal is to share my passion with as many other like-minded people as possible.