People worldwide have preferred making the food themselves with changes in eating and dining habits due to pandemics. With outdoor dining almost to a halt, foodies have turned to self-sufficient cooks. Cooking is an art, but not that one you cannot learn. BBQ is the unique form of food cooked and served worldwide. Food enthusiasts love partying around stuffed meat with smoke rising from stoves and smell creating a mouthwatering aroma. The best meat to smoke has ever served the man with various cooking options, with smoking meat on top of the list.
Getting the best meat to smoke is a challenge, especially if you are trying it for the first time. We have found seasoned pros getting it hard to produce the best smoky meat taste. Each piece of meat is different and makes the best palate if appropriately used. It means you cannot just choose any meat piece and start smoking it. So, the question arises what is the best meat to smoke at home? Do not worry; we have compiled a list of the best cuts perfectly suited to smoke in your backyard without costing you much money and time.
The best meat to smoke as a beginner
The whole chicken is one of the best forms of meat to smoke. They produce incredible taste in no time and are cheap too. Especially if you are an amateur and smoking meat for the first time, try the whole chicken. Chicken meat is less fibrous and marinates quickly compared to other meats. The inexpensive, less time-consuming, easy-to-cook features make it a tastier piece of meat to smoke.
For seasoning, you have the liberty of keeping it simple by adding salt and pepper or else use your favorite rubs. The ideal temperature to smoke whole meat is 162°C (324°F). Smoke it for around 2 to 3 hours till the internal temperature reaches 73°C (164°F).
Pro Tip: Whole chicken or any other whole bird usually dries out quickly during smoking, so keep oil moisturized before and during the cooking process.
Shifting our attention to possibly the best cut piece of meat for smoking is the beef brisket. Briskets are the best because these pieces are full of fats and collagen. Unlike the whole bird scenario, you need not keep the moisture. Beef briskets are time-taking pieces, so you need to plan your dining time accordingly.
Briskets usually smoke at 107°C (225°F) for about 10 to 20 hours. It would be best if you kept an eye on the brisket stall, as internal temperatures tend to stay constant at 65-75°C (149-167°F) for 4-5 hours. So do not worry and wait, as it is customary with beef brisket cut pieces.
Pro Tip: Always use a water pan for briskets; stay ahead of schedule as briskets are the toughest and possibly the most extended pieces of meat to reach perfect smoky serving.
Lamb meat is usually not preferred for smoking. But I bet you should give it a try. Once soaked in smoky tunes, Lamb’s rich flavor produces a natural taste and aroma. Lamb’s shoulder is part of hard-working muscles full of connective tissues like chuck roast. Such tissues keep meat pieces intact and solid during smoking.
It may take a while to reach a softening point, but keep it smoked at 190°C (374°F) for 4 to 5 hours. You will not have to wait for the lamb shoulder piece to soften. Use sauces or your choice to add a local touch for enhanced taste and tang.
Pro Tip: Always cook Lamb’s shoulder on the bone; it will not allow the meat to fall apart during serving, thus maximizing the flavor.
The cheeks piece of meat is empathetic to cut and cook, making them perfect for a low and slow smoking experience. They are called melt-in-mouth sensations, so beef cheeks must be your go-to fortress if you intend to produce something soft and cozy. They do not take much time to get ready with gentle and boneless cuts. So, if you are short on time, choose beef cheeks, which are also not very expensive and readily available.
Beef cheeks cuts are smoked at a temperature of 148°C (300°F) for 1 to 2 hours. Let the internal temperature reach 96°C (205°F). Once done, braise the cheeks in the tray, add liquid of your choice, and serve with taste buds like never before.
Pro Tip: Add garlic, onions, carrots, celery to liquid while shifting pieces to tray to add extra flavor.
A smoking meat list cannot get completed unless it has turkey meat in it. Turkey leg pieces are also ideally suited for smoking purposes, but we recommend you go for breast. The main reason behind this is that breast pieces are meatier than leg pieces. The time taken by both pieces is almost the same, so why not choose a meat piece rich in juicy meat. Also, the breast piece is low in fat but very rich in proteins.
Set a temperature of 170°C (338°F) for 3 to 4 hours by allowing temperatures to reach a maximum of 85°C (185°F). Glazed vegetables are the best add-on if you want to versatile your smoking turkey breast experience.
A reasonably unknown but trendy meat piece for smoking is a tri-tip cut. Gaining in popularity, tri-tip comes from the lower part or rear of the animal. Usually arrives in a triangle shape and does not weigh more than two to three pounds per piece. Since tri-tips are thin-cut pieces, thus they do not take a more extended period to get perfectly smoked.
A smoking period of 2 to 3 hours at the longest at a temperature of 180°C (338°F) is sufficient to cook a perfect piece of smoked meat.
Pro Tip: Add solid sticks to tri-tip cuts to avoid collapsing of meat during smoking.
Opting for the perfect meat for smoking is critical to the outcome. We have listed the pieces to target for your ease and a few valuable tips mentioned below for you to follow to produce tastier and yummiest pieces of smoked meat. Low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to the best meat to smoke. Start earlier as you never know how much time your piece requires to reach its perfect tasty form. Also, remember that more smoke is not better; opt for quality rather than quantity. Avoid opening lids often, let the smoker do its job, and use water trays to keep pieces intact and moisturized.