Best Things To Smoke In A Smoker

Those who are excited to start smoking food, I suggest going for easy things to smoke in the beginning. In this article, you will understand the types of food to cook in a smoker as a smoking enthusiast. After polishing your smoking skills, you can try to cook some complex dishes in your smoker. Till then, you should stick with some simple recipes. Let’s check.

Best Things To Smoke In A Smoker

Best Things To Smoke In A Smoker

A list of things to smoke in the smoker for both beginners and pros is the following: 

  • Beef Brisket
  • Tomahawk Steak 
  • Beef Cheeks 
  • Whole Chicken
  • Lamb Shank 
  • Boston Butt
  • Texas Crutch 
  • Brisket Stall

Beef Brisket


Beef brisket is a thin, long, and flat cut of beef. The cut comes from the shoulder’s lower part, also known as the “flat” section of the beef. It contains less fat than other parts of the animal and is more tender.

How To Smoke Beef Brisket?

Step by step:

  1. With salt and pepper, season the meat from all sides.
  2. Heat your smoker or grill and get it ready to go.
  3. Place the brisket in the smoker/grill, fat side up, with the fat cap facing down.
  4. Smoke for about 6-8 hours, depending on how large you want your brisket to be. Using an instant-read thermometer can help you determine when it is done.
  5. Shred the meat using two knives after it reaches 160° F temperature about 75 minutes after it has been smoked. Let it rest for 10 minutes before shredding it with two forks.

Tomahawk Steak


Tomahawk Steak is a cut of beef named for the blade of an ax used in combat. The US Army popularized it in World War II, and now many restaurants and butcher shops use it. It is a small strip of meat on the inside of the cow’s leg or shoulder with more fat than other beef cuts, making it flavorful and tender.

How To Smoke Tomahawk Steak?

I am going to be making smoked tomahawk steak at home. It is going to be a straightforward and easy process.

  1. Take the tomahawk steak and cut it into two equal parts.
  2. Season both sides with salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs if you like (I like rosemary).
  3. Place the two pieces of meat on the smoker rack in a disposable aluminum pan or heavy-duty foil-lined baking sheet or aluminum foil (we use this one). We do not recommend using a regular baking sheet because they tend to warp from too much heat inside them.
  4. Let it be at room temperature for 5-10 minutes while you pre-heat your smoker to 200° F (93° C). Place meat in the smoker for 3 hours or until internal temperature reaches 160° F (71° C). Alternatively, you can use a charcoal grill only by placing the smoker pan in the center of a charcoal grill over indirect heat for 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160° F (71° C).

Beef Cheeks


Beef cheeks are the cheek meat of a cow, and they are a popular part of the beef. It is soft, tender, and has a rich flavor. If you have ever had beef cheeks in your favorite restaurant, then you know what beef cheeks are all about. Beef Cheeks are also commonly available as regular beef cuts like stew meat or steaks, but it is still worth trying out when looking for something unique.

How To Smoke Beef Cheeks?

The following steps will help you smoke beef cheeks: 

  1. Trim large pieces of fat from the beef cheeks and dry them with paper towels.
  2. Place the beef cheeks in an aluminum pan (disposable), cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. It will give the meat time to relax and improve its texture once it is cooked.
  3. Remove the beef cheeks from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you are ready to cook them. It will allow them to come up to room temperature before cooking to keep them from drying out during cooking or freezing.
  4. Pre-heat your smoker to 200° F to 225° F (95° C to 107° C). Smoke for 10 minutes per pound (455 g) of meat until the internal temperature reaches 160° F (70° C) for rare, 180° F (82° C) for medium rare, and 190° F (88° C) for well done. It depends on how well you prefer your steaks or burgers to be cooked when you are smoking them at that particular time of year.

Whole Chicken


The whole chicken is a large raw chicken that has been slaughtered and processed by a USDA-approved facility. The meat is essentially the same as what you would get if you were to buy a whole chicken in your local grocery store. Whole chickens are available in many sizes, from small fryers to large roasters.

How To Smoke Whole Chicken?

These steps will help you smoke whole chicken effortlessly: 

  1. Marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.
  2. Place the chicken in your smoker at 225° F for about 2 hours.
  3. Check on the chicken every 30 minutes to ensure it is no longer burning. If it is getting too dark, wrap aluminum foil around the skin of the chicken, so it will not burn.
  4. When you are satisfied with the color of your chicken, remove it from the smoker and let it get cool for 15 minutes before you serve it.

Lamb Shank


A Lamb shank is a cut of lamb from the neck. It is a tender part of the animal and can be used in many ways. The best way to prepare lamb shank for cooking is to braise or roast it. Lamb shank is braised well in liquids like wine, broth, or stock. The meat becomes rich and flavorful because it is cooked with liquid instead of dry heat.

How To Smoke Lamb Shank?

You must follow these steps if you want to smoke lamb shank:

  1. Start with a cold out of the fridge. It will help add moisture to the meat and make smoking easier.
  2. Cut off sinew, fat, or excess meat from the lamb shank bone.
  3. Place your lamb shank bone on a smoker rack and wrap aluminum foil around it to insulate it from direct heat and prevent flare-ups.
  4. Add your wood chips to the smoker and bring them up to 150° F (66° C). Mesquite smoke is too heavy for this cut of meat, so you should use oak or hickory chips instead. 
  5. Place your shank bone in the smoker and let it smoke for about an hour. Remove the meat from your smoker/grill and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. So the juices inside do not run out during the cooking time. 

Boston Butt


From the shoulder blade comes Boston butt, a cut of pork meat. It is similar to other cuts of pork but with a few differences. The Boston butt has a certain shape and texture, so it is called “butt.” It has two parts: The leaner part and the fattier part. The leaner part is about 85% lean muscle, while the fattier part is about 15% fat.

How To Smoke Boston Butt?

These steps you be followed when smoking a Boston butt:

  1. Preheat the smoker to 225° F.
  2. Place Boston Butt on the smoker, fat side up. Leave a 1/4-inch gap between the meat and the smoking wood chips or pellets placed on a water pan.
  3. Smoke the butt for 30 minutes to an hour with wood chips or pellets in the water pan. You can add more wood chips or pellets if necessary during this time.
  4. Remove the butt from the smoker when done, and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving off the fat cap and slicing it into slices with a sharp knife or electric carving machine.
  5. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce, mustard, or ketchup, and enjoy. 

Brisket Stall

A brisket is a boneless cut of beef that has been cored and trimmed. It is not cooked until it reaches a temperature of 185° F. The beef is then sliced into individual sections and cooked to perfection in a smoker or other heat source.

How To Smoke A Brisket Stall?

This step-by-step guide will help you smoke a brisket stall: 

  1. Season the brisket with your favorite rub, then wrap it in plastic and place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
  2. Take the brisket from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before preparing it for smoking.
  3. Pre-heat the smoker to 250° F using a water pan with water or apple juice mixed with a minimal amount of apple cider vinegar as a smoking agent (depending on your smoker).
  4. Place the brisket in your smoker and smoke it until the internal temperature is at least 185° F, generally about 6-8 hours, depending on how low your smoker runs and how much heat you put into it.
  5. Withdraw it from the smoker and wrap it in aluminum or heavy-duty foil to rest comfortably while still warm enough to slice easily when cool enough to handle safely. 

Things You Should Know Before Starting Smoking Food

These things should be followed whenever you start to cook food in the smoker: 

Start Earlier 

You should keep your meat and other food ingredients as close to room temperature as possible before putting them into the smoker. It will allow them to absorb all your smoke flavors without losing their taste. So, you should start smoking food before the expected time. 

More Smoke Is Not Better All The Times

I recommend you to use more smoke when cooking your food. However, sometimes this is not advisable because it can cause the food to burn or become dry. If you want to use more smoke, then it is suggested that you start at around 30 minutes and then increase the time as needed.

Utilize A Water Tray

You should also use water trays to keep your smoker in check and prevent excess heat from escaping. The water trays will also help you control how much smoke comes from the smoker. So there are no burnt areas on your meat.

Keep The Grill Lid Closed

Do not just open the lid and start smoking your food. You need to let the food rest for some time before you start cooking. It will help keep the smoke from penetrating the meat and making it taste bitter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Smoked Food Healthy?

Sm smoked food is an excellent option if you want a healthy way to cook your meat. It is less fat and calories, so it will add flavor to your favorite dishes. But before you start smoking meat at home, you need to consider what kind of smoking you want to use.

What Can You Smoke In A Smoker Besides Meat?

You can smoke almost anything in your smoke. You can smoke vegetables or fruits, for example. There are many recipes online for delicious smoked fruits and vegetables. You can even make a fruit salad by combining some of your favorite fruits with some seasonings (i.e., honey, cinnamon, etc.).

Can You Smoke Meat For Too Long? 

Yes, it is possible to smoke meat for too long. However, I will not recommend it because of the risk of drying out the meat and making it challenging. The right way to prevent this is to keep a close eye on your smoker and ensure you do not over-smoke your food.

Final Words

Once you get your smoker, you must first decide what type of food to smoke. It is great to start with poultry or meat like brisket, Boston butt, and chicken. These things work well for beginners as they require less maintenance and preparation. You can experiment with some simple dishes before moving on to more intricate plans.

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