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!
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!
Food, especially meat, tastes much better when smoked. If you want to take up smoking food but you’re worried that it might be too complicated there is one simple solution for you – get yourself a pellet smoker. Pellet smokers, also known as pellet grills, have started selling like crazy as people begin to realize they are incredibly easy to use. You may not get the street cred from traditional pit masters with your pellet grill and smoking skills, but you will be able to produce excellent barbecue effortlessly. Wood pellet grills give you smokey, juicy, and tender meat that’s perfectly cooked without the hassle of babysitting your smoker.
What is a pellet smoker?
As you could probably guess from the name of these smokers, they run by burning wooden pellets. Typically, a pellet smoker comes with a hopper on the side where the pellets are added. When you turn on the smoker, pellets will move from a hopper to a burn pot where they will be burned and the smoke will be diffused by a fan. A thermostat measures the temperature of the grill and determines how many pellets to burn while keeping a consistent temperature.
The greatest thing about pellet smokers is that you don’t have to do much to get perfectly smoked dishes. Simply set the digital controller to the desired temperature and the smoker will do the rest. These smokers are pretty much set-and-forget, which means that you’ll be able to spend more time with your guests and still serve them food that has wonderful smoked flavor. It’s this convenience that’s led to the recent rise in pellet grills and other electric smokers.
Another thing about pellet smokers which might impress you is that you can also use this type of smoker to grill your food. So, don’t be confused if you come across the term “pellet grill” in this article because it refers to a pellet smoker. When used as a grill, pellet smoker will start up quickly and cook your food with minimal supervision. Depending on your smoker, you can either use the small area above the fuel pot to grill your food or you can put a griddle on the pellet smoker when it is running on high heat.
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.
Smoking meat, or any other food, gives it a great flavor that you can’t get from a grill or an oven. Technically, you can try using a grill to smoke meat, but the taste won’t be the same. Gas grills reach very high temperatures quickly and they are not good at capturing smoke. In addition, they can cause the meat to become very dry over long periods of time. On the other hand, charcoal grills can do the job, but they are usually too small for lots of meat. That is why you need something larger and better – an electric smoker.
Top Pick - Masterbuilt 40 Inch Electric Smoker
This is the perfect backyard electric smoker. The Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker with Viewing Window and RF Remote Control is the best electric smoker for most people because it has the perfect combination of convenience, durability, and quality.
With an LED controlled heating element, internal temperature probe, and rugged construction, this smoker is durable and easy to use. With 975 square inches of cook space it can handle everything from smoked chicken legs on a school night to a Christmas brisket. The removable racks and drip trays make it easy to clean up. Just plug it in, set the controls, and the smoker will take care of the rest. This 40” electric smoker from Masterbuilt is a great choice for both amateurs and pros alike.
Brisket is a large, tough cut of beef that comes from the breast of a cow. It is most often prepared using a slow cooking method like smoking, braising, or barbecuing. Unlike some other meats, you will want to cut away parts of the brisket to make sure it cooks properly and you maximize your flavor. In this article, we’ll show you how to trim a brisket before you cook it.
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.
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!
Don’t let the dreaded brisket stall get in the way of your BBQ. There is nothing better than enjoying a slow afternoon around the smoker with your loved ones. The only downside of a good brisket barbeque (apart from the occasional turn of the weather) is the wait. All the finger snacks have been polished off, stomachs are rumbling and mouths are starting to drool in anticipation. Then it happens… the dreaded brisket stall, also known as the brisket plateau or the ominous “zone”. Suddenly the temperature of the brisket, which has been steadily climbing as it cooks, stops dead and refuses to rise any further. Your beautiful cut of meat that you labored over has suddenly stopped cooking.
You’ve heard stories about this temperature plateau lasting for hours, and now you’re in a panic. We’re here to help!