There are very few things that make life more enjoyable than a good slice of perfectly smoked meat. Smoking is a traditional technique that has long been practiced to add flavor to meats and preserve it for longer periods. While the process seems fairly easy, beginner smokers are often confused about how smoking wood is categorized and which type goes best with a certain variety of meat or fish. With varying opinions from pit masters, choosing the best wood may seem challenging at the beginning but there is no need to fret. We have narrowed it all down and simplified the decision-making process so you can dive into making your own smoked dish by the end of this article.
Ready to fire up your smoker? Before you start cooking, make sure you know what the food safe temperature is for every type of meat. Our infographic is a quick cheat sheet you can save and reference while you’re smoking. Don’t overcook that beautiful brisket that you worked so hard on!
The recipe for smoked salmon pastrami from ChefSteps is a tip of the hat to Pacific Northwest barbecuing, but is it any good? The answer is a resounding yes, according to our pitmasters. The recipe is easy to follow and simple to do, and will result in a deliciously smoky, savory fish with a slightly sweet bark.
Maybe you just bought your first smoker and you’re looking for the perfect dish for that maiden voyage. Or maybe you’re a seasoned pitmaster looking for some inspiration. Either way, we’ve put together 101 of our favorite smoker recipes, from smoked brisket to smoked pork butts, we even have some great side dishes and smoked desserts that made our list!
Our Favorite Cookbooks
We’ll kick this off with a quick list of our 10 favorite cookbooks filled with smoker recipes. A lot of these authors, like Steve Raichlen or Aaron Franklin, have specific recipes included below. But their cookbooks are fantastic, we’ve learned a ton about smoking thumbing through these books, we highly recommend them!
Beef Smoker Recipes – Steaks, Brisket, Roasts & Ribs
We love smoked tri-tip here at BBQonMain.com. It’s a great, cheap cut of meat that is delicious when done right. Vindulge has a great smoked tri-tip recipe that we love, and they include red wine pairings to go along with it!
Have you ever seen those gigantic “big dino bone” smoked beef ribs at someone’s cookout and wondered what massive beast they came from? Dubbed “dino bones” because of their size, these ribs are actually just your regular beef variety!
When you order ribs at your local butchery or at a restaurant, they’re usually from the Short Plate section of a cow’s rib cage, cut into smaller 2- to 3-inch pieces and labelled as beef short ribs. “Dino bones” are these self-same rib bones before they’re cut to size. And my lord are they delicious!
Steven Raichlen of Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible has a fantastic three part series on pork shoulders, wherein you can learn all you need to know about this delectable hunk of hog. ‘In Praise of Pork Shoulder’ covers everything from the anatomy and animal husbandry involved in selecting the perfect pork shoulder to the best seasoning, grilling techniques and gear for optimal deliciousness. It’s the most in-depth, step-by-step recipe you can find.
Aaron Franklin is one of the most famous pitmasters in America. And he’s earned it! His restaurant Franklin Barbecue is one of the best BBQ joints in Texas, which is saying something. He’s also the host of BBQ with Franklin on PBS where he shares his favorite recipes, tips, and techniques with the rest of the country. Plus he wrote one of our favorite cookbooks about smoking meats.
He shared his famous Franklin BBQ Brisket recipe on his show. We figured we’d feature the recipe here and include the clips from the show so you can try smoking this brisket for yourself at home.
You can find this recipe and many more in Aaron Franklin’s book Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.
The beauty of this recipe is how simple it is. Aaron Franklin isn’t doing anything crazy, his back-to-basics brisket is meant to show off the taste of the meat. It’s based on technique and simple ingredients, which makes it easy to cook for pitmasters of all skill levels. It also makes it one of our favorite recipes yet!