Smoking meat is just as popular and as American as barbecue. It is fair to say that, if done correctly, any meat can be smoked but there are some considered to be better than others. Which leads to the obvious question – What are the best meats to smoke?
Best Meats to Smoke
Most people seem unclear as to what makes the best meats for smoking. It is not simply a case of which meat will have the best texture, best fat content, or best flavor. It is actually a case of choosing the best meats for smoking based on these three factors combined with several others.
What most people fail to realise is that, in many cases, meats that you would usually consider to be tough cuts are sometimes among the best meats for smoking. Tough cuts such as poultry, mature beef, pork, ribs, and brisket may certainly be considered to tough but they can all be excellent choices for smoking.
Here are our picks of the very best meats for smoking.
1 – Pork
If you were to ask people who have experience with smoking what they believe to be the best meats for smoking the majority of people would most likely tell you the same thing. They would tell you that pork is one of the best meats for for smoking.
One of the main reasons pork is considered among the best meats for smoking is the fact that they consist of lots of collagen and lots of fat. There are other ways to prepare pork but at the end of the day nothing can compare to the wonderful flavor that you will get from smoking this meat. The fact pork, pork shoulder especially, has a large fat content means that when it is cooked to perfection it will become mouthwateringly tender.
Pork is one of the easiest meats to cook and smoke and therefore very forgiven especially if you are new to the process of smoking. Even if, in your first attempt, things go drastically wrong there is every chance you will still be left with an awesome piece of meat.
Pork ribs are especially popular for smoking especially among beginners. As with all pork it is a relatively cheap meat to buy and is one of the easiest to cook. Try adding a little of your favourite rubs and you will be surprised just how tasty pork can be when smoked. All with very little effort.
2 – Beef
Beef Rib – Beef rib is another of the best meats for smoking that contains clots of connective tissue and fat. While in most cases this can prove to be tough it is makes for the best meats for smoking.
If you can cook beef rib correctly you will not just be rewarded with that delicious beef taste, you will also find that the fat within the meat will melt during the smoking process. This will help to soften up the meat adding a beautiful texture and unleashing extra flavors.
Prime Rib – Another form of beef which is easily one of the best meats for smoking is prime beef. Like most beef prime rib comes with laden with fine lines of fat that will melt during smoking. This will of course add extra texture and flavor to the meat while also softening it up.
The biggest problem with prime rib is the fact that it is an expensive meat to buy. This fact obviously makes prime rib a meat that you really should not practise smoking with. But with that said prime rib is one of the best meats for smoking and also one of the most tasty when cooked correctly.
It is advisable when you start smoking prime ribs that you reduce the amount of smoke. This will allow the beef flavor to take over and not become clouded or overly smokey.
Brisket – Out of all the cuts of beef brisket is without a shadow of a doubt among the best meats to smoke.
It takes time and practice to learn how to cook and smoke brisket and it is something that may seem impossible to beginners. Once you manage to master the art of smoking brisket you will realise that this beef cut is the very essence of what barbecuing is all about.
Brisket has a reputation of being a tough meat but if you perfect the art of smoking this meat you will find it is transformed into the perfectly delicious and tender meat that is filled with flavor combined with a a wonderful fatty layers.
This is one of the very reasons that brisket is one of the best meats for smoking.
3 – Poultry
Smoking a turkey takes both time and skill but the end result adds extra flavor, juices, and texture over a turkey that has been cooked in the oven.
Since smoking turkey correctly can be a difficult process to master it is worth checking out one of the many guides available. The end results really will be worth it.
Chicken – Like turkey, chicken is one of the best meats to smoke. In fact chicken is actually, in many ways, a better meat to smoke than turkey.
For a start chicken is a somewhat lean meat so cooking it is much quicker. It is also quite an easy meat to cook so it is ideal for practicing with before you move on to trying to smoke a turkey.
A whole chicken is also quite a cheap meat and is very easy to find. Plus a whole chicken gives you the option of smoking the entire chicken or separating the parts and smoking them individually.
4 – Lamb
Lamb Shoulder – As you already know meat that consists of plenty of fat so it is natural that lamb, a generally fatty meat, is among one of the best meats to smoke. A lamb shoulder is actually one of the fattiest parts of the entire lamb so it is simply superb in every ay when it is smoked. The excessive amounts of fat means a lamb shoulder, when cooked correctly, will be both moist and soft.
It is somewhat surprising that a lamb shoulder is not one of the most popular of the best meats to smoke. Especially when it is actually one of the tastiest meats that you can smoke.
Despite the fact a lamb shoulder is one of the best meats to smoke finding a good lamb shoulder can be somewhat difficult. This is why you should always look to buy a shoulder of lamb from a high quality butcher.
Leg of Lamb – Lamb in general is considered a fatty meat and a leg of lamb is no exception. It may not be as fatty as a lamb shoulder but it still has many of the same qualities which makes it one of the best meats for smoking. A leg of lamb is perfect and the taste hugely benefits from a slow traditional smoke.
A leg of lamb is a little harder to smoke than a lamb shoulder because of the somewhat large leg bone. This can lead to, especially for the inexperienced chef, the meat cooking slightly uneven. Of course, uneven cooking is nothing that can not be corrected with a little practice.
5 – Seafood
The very fact that salmon is both an oily and fatty fish means that when it is smoked it generates a beautiful and deep flavor that is hard to beat.
If you grill salmon on a plank of cedar you will find the fish becomes infused with a deep wood and smoke flavor.
The end result will be a salmon meal like you have never tasted before.
You can also cold smoke salmon which adds yet another remarkably unique flavor from a salmon.
6 – Venison
Venison Roast – Deer is quite an expensive meat but it is also one of the best meats to smoke. While any part of a deer can be smoked there are some parts that will smoke better than others. The wonderful thing about venison is the fact that everyone has their own opinion as to which part of a deer is the best to smoke. It really is down to your own personal taste.
Venison is considered to have a somewhat gamey flavor to it and is a relatively dry meat. While these qualities may not be to everyones liking trying smoked venison can quickly change a persons opinion. With practice there are only a few people who would argue that venison is not one of the best meats to smoke.
When it comes to smoking venison we would highly recommend that you try an overnight brine. This will transform everything you think you know about this meat as the smoke will remove that gamey flavor and the brine will add extra moisture.
7 – Sausages
The bottom line is that if you are one of the many people who love sausages cooked in the oven then you will undoubtedly love the taste and flavor of sausages that have been smoked.
Amazingly, not only are sausages an ideal meat to cook in your smoker, they are also a very easy to meat to smoke. They are also very cheap. This means if you are new to the process of smoking and wanting to experiment and perfect your skills on grill then sausages are ideal. Even if you get things wrong when cooking it really does not matter.
If you are looking for one of the best meats to smoke that is both cheap and easy then you really should try smoking sausages.
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