The Best Meats to Smoke

When it comes to testing a new smoker, it can be hard to know where to begin in terms of what to smoke. We recommend fattier cuts of meat, as they work well with low and slow cooking method. As the meat cooks, the fat melts, and the tough connective tissue breaks down, which produces a tender, fall-off-your-fork, melt-in-your mouth bite.


  1. Whole Hens. Whole hens are readily available and fresh at almost any grocery store. After removing the gizzards and neck, just season and smoke the bird. Whole hens stay moist while smoking and cook fairly quick due to their petite size.

HOT TIP These are a great practice meat.

  1. Chicken Quarters. A large portion of dark meat make chicken quarters great for smoking since this cut tends to lock in flavour well.


  1. Shoulder or Boston butt. Pork shoulder has a decent amount of fat, lending to self-basting as the fat renders over time. Additionally, it’s a very forgiving meat and difficult to make a mistake with.
  2. Ribs. Ribs are a classic when it comes to smoked meat. Not only are they relatively easy to cook (especially when following the 3-2-1 method), they’re also among the most cost-effective cuts of meat.


  1. Brisket. We might as well call this the king of smoked meats. Thanks to an exceptionally thick layer of fat, it maintains its moisture while absorbing a great smoky flavour. It also gives you a great smoke ring. The best part? It’s one of the easiest meats to find.
  2. Prime Rib. Smoked prime rib can taste quite luxurious when cooked right. It’s a bit more difficult than other meats to smoke it to moist, juicy perfection. So, we recommend holding off on this cut until comfortable with your smoker and the method of smoking.


  1. Shoulder. Lamb shoulder has a high fat content, which breaks down in a way that reveals a smoky meat with gamey texture. It is, however, difficult to find and pricier than alternative meats.
  2. Leg. Similar to a shoulder, smoking a la leg needs to be cooked low and slow. One challenge unique to this cut of meat is it requires a level of creativity when positioning it thanks to it’s uneven build. Achieving the perfect internal temperature without over cooking one end and undercooking the other can be challenging at best.
    HOT TIP If boneless, consider cutting the leg in half and only cooking one half at a time. You can also divide the halves on your smoker racks to ensure even smoking times.


Salmon. Not only is this fish packed with healthy Omega-3’s, it can also pack a punch of flavour when smoked. Looking to get bump it up a notch in terms of difficulty? Try your hand at cold smoking salmon.

The Extras

Sausage. You can start with a recipe if you prefer to follow a specific set of directions, but you can also dive in head-first and throw some links on the smoker from your local butcher.

  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Seafood