Smoking meat is as old as fire itself. From the beginning man realized that cooking meat was a necessity to stave off illness, but it also made the meat taste sooo much better. It was an obvious match that didn’t take a genius to figure out. Since then, man has perfected smoking meat to the point that we hold competitions to find out who is the best. Pitmasters from all over the world compete with their pits, rubs of coarse sea salt, brown sugar, and herbs for meat mastery. If you are just starting out in the smoking game, we have a list of the five easiest cuts of meat to smoke for beginners. Go forward armed with the knowledge of meat and fire.
Beef Chuck Roast
Beef chuck roast is a classic American cut that is better known as the pot roast. It is perfect for cooking low and slow and therefore is perfect for smoking. The chuck roast is loaded with marbled fat throughout the cut. All that fat helps keep the meat juicy and tender while cooking. Using a combination of hickory smoked SPG (salt, pepper, and garlic) will let the flavor of the meat come through.
Pork shoulder, or pork butt, is a classic and easy cut to smoke. It is a huge piece of meat that will feed a lot of people and takes a long time to cook. Filled with fat and tender bits of meat, the shoulder is very forgiving. The only way to ruin it is to under cook it, so as long as you get over 180 degrees and the collogen breaks down, you’re golden.
If you can find a chicken breast with the skin on it, that’s preferred. The skin has a bit of fat in it and will keep the chicken from drying out. Boneless, skinless breasts are still great if you marinate them overnight that way, they take on some additional moisture. Chicken breast doesn’t take much time and it will help the beginner find out about their smoker and how it works.
Pork Back Ribs
Ribs are a bit of a step up in smoking but still forgiving. There is a basic formula that plenty of people use when smoking ribs, the 2-2-1 method. Smoke the ribs for two hours without looking at them, wrap them for 2 hours, then unwrap and smoke for an hour. They are kind of like pizza, even when bad, they’re still pretty good. Back ribs don’t have a ton of fat in them, so they need moisture when cooking so wrapping them is always a good strategy even if you don’t follow the science.
Nothing is easier to cook than a hamburger, but don’t get cocky you can still screw it up by overcooking it. A stack of ground beef patties is perfect for learning how your smoker works and how much time and attention it will need. Think of this as a “getting to know you session” between the smoker and you; a first date if you will. Leave the grill in the garage, then get your pit up to a high 250 degrees then call some buddies to help you eat the burgers.
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