Smoking is a slow cooking technique by using smoke often from burning wood or charcoal to give flavor to meats, fish, cheese or vegetables. In this article, we want to share with you some of the best meats to smoke because not all meats are suitable for this cooking process.
This is due to some good lean cuts of meat would become dry and not edible as smoking requires a long cooking time from as low as 2 hours to 20 hours depending on the type of meat. Also, check out this post for the top 5 best pellet smokers that smoker enthusiasts love to use for smoking all type of meats.
What Types of Meat Are Best for Smoking?
When it comes to smoking, you want to avoid good lean cuts of meat such as pork chops or tenderloin, steak or roast as these types of meat is not suitable for smoking. A good choice would be the cheap and bad cuts such as beef brisket, ribs, and pork shoulder.
These bad poor quality cuts are tough, chewy and full of fat and connective tissues. It is usually not suitable for cooking. But these types of meat will benefit from the smoking process as the long cooking times will melt the fats and break down the connective tissues making it tender, flavorful and incredibly delicious. Hence, these are the best meats to smoke.
Best Meats to Smoke
1. Wild Pork
When it comes down to cooking, wild pork is an entirely different type of meat compared to domestic pork. Wild pork can possibly be the best choice for smoking as the meat can be very tender, moist and succulent.
If you have never tried smoked wild pork, you have missed out on one of nature’s finest dish, and I really mean it when I say nothing taste like smoked wild pork. Wild pork resembles deer meat or young beef, and it is darker than domestic pork.
The flavor of smoked wild pork is sweet, and the texture is tender, stringy, moist and not too greasy. The best parts of a wild hog for smoking are the shoulder or Boston Butt, the ribs and spare ribs, the lower legs or picnic, loins or if you have a smoker huge enough, you can also smoke the whole hog in a piece.
There are many ways and different recipes to smoke wild pork, but the important thing to remember when smoking wild pork is to keep the temperature low and maximize the smoking time nothing less than 14 hours and sometimes up to as long as 36 hours. You may also want to check out the best smoker thermometer that you can use to easily monitor the temperature for optimum cook.
2. Pork Ribs
Pork ribs is another popular choice for smoking. It contains lots of fat and collagen which is perfect for smoking. Pork ribs are fairly cheap, and you can get them from any market or grocery store.
The important thing when it comes to smoking pork ribs is the preparation. Before smoking your pork ribs, you need to remove the membrane along the hind of the rack which can be easily removed by pulling them off. Some prefer just to leave it on when smoking but your pork ribs will not have the same taste or texture.
Pork ribs have two parts or sections which are the ribs proper or upper section and the lower spare ribs which are also known as the lower sections. You can buy the pork ribs separately for easier smoking and also due to the size of smaller smokers, most people tend to smoke them separately. Of course, you can also find a whole rib that is intact, and you may also smoke the whole piece together if the size of your smoker is large enough.
You may rub your pork ribs before smoking them, and one of the best recipes for pork ribs is the Sweet Smoked Pork Ribs. The recommended parts are the baby back ribs, or you may also use the spare ribs.
Just like smoking wild pork, the “Low and Slow” rule applies which means keep the temperature low, and the general duration for smoking pork ribs is about 1 ½ hours per pound. Pork ribs will become moist, and the meat will be so tender that it will just fall off the bone as you put in your mouth combine with a sweet and complex flavor.
3. Beef Brisket
Beef brisket is another favorite cut for smoking, and naturally, beef brisket can be tough, chewy and lack of taste but if smoke properly, the outcome can be pretty fantastic. A properly smoked beef brisket will produce a feeling that is so moist and wonderful as the collagen and fats melt into the meat.
A good smoked beef brisket will taste like a good roast beef or steak, and you will be amazed at how a piece of tough, leathery piece of meat turns tender, sweetish with a stringy complex flavor.
Again, brisket is just as easy as any other cuts to smoke but the key thing to remember is Low and Slow, and this is especially important for brisket than other meats because it will take a longer time break down the connective tissues.
Just like pork ribs, you can rub or brine your brisket before smoking them, and the duration to smoke is also about 1 ½ hours per pound. Beef brisket is also the official meat for Texas Style Barbecue, and you can slice the briskets into thin slices and leave it in a tray of hot barbecue sauce for 10 minutes after smoking.
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4. Whole Turkey
The whole turkey is another type of meat that is perfect for smoking, and I really meant the whole bird as most barbecue grill is almost unable to cook a large bird; a smoker is ideal for this.
Smoked whole turkey is such an excellent dish, and it is hard to comprehend why this bird would be cook in any other way which would make it end up tasting just like a souped-up chicken.
The flavor of smoked turkey is creamy and sweetish comes from the flavor of the smoke wood and the meat is exquisitely moist and firm in texture and the aroma will just blow your mind away.
Wild turkeys are preferable because they give more flavor from smoking, but it works well with domestic turkeys or even chicken, pheasant, goose or duck. The important thing is to adjust the timing of your smoking duration according to the size of the bird.
Before you smoke your turkey, it is best that you brine them first to avoid the turkey from becoming dry. The duration of brine is roughly 1 hour for 1 pound. After brining and drying off the turkey, you may also apply a rub on the turkey before smoking.
The ideal temperature for smoking turkey is about 225 degrees F for about 30 minutes per pound and also make sure to keep water in the drip pan. After it is done, allow the turkey to rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving.
In our selection of the 5 best meats to smoke, I recommend goat as the last one, and although it is not very popular in the US, it is one of the most consumed meats in other parts of the world, and I would definitely suggest that you give it a try in the smoker.
In comparisons to other red meat, goat meat has far less fat, and it is also lower in cholesterol and calories. Smoked goat meat will give you an amazing smoky and sweet flavor with a slightly stringy texture.
Before smoking goat meat, it is a must to brine it first. Otherwise, it will end up tasting like shoe-leather. A good amount of duration for brining goat would be 1 hour per pound, and after brining, a good lemon-pepper style rub would be perfect to go with the goat before smoking.
A suitable temperature for smoking goat would be at 200 degrees F for about 1 hour per pound and also remember to keep water filled in the drip pan when smoking. If you prefer lamb from goat, you can prepare it the same way, and both is similar when it comes to smoking.
Let’s Start Cooking
There you have it. We hope that this post has provided you with some useful information on the best meats to smoke. If you are a smoker enthusiast like us, let us know which kind of meat is your top choice that you use to smoke by commenting it below. And maybe you can share your recipe too? Let’s start smoking!
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The post The 5 Best Meats to Smoke for Your Barbecue Fiesta! appeared first on Gordan Ladd's Kitchen.
I've been the cooking for my family since 2009, and my passion for cooking grew stronger each day. Whenever I have time, I love to blog about my culinary experiences and how my kitchen has trained me to become a better chef for my family and friends.