With the invention of electric smokers, smoking meat and other types of meals have taken a new level. You have a lot of options to smoke different types and cuts of meat.
If you are looking to find the best meats to smoke in an electric smoker, you may need to look at the source, the type, the cut of the meat and the recipe you want to prepare before you decide which is the best.
This comes with different smoked flavor options too. Whether you love lean meat or prefer something with a little fat, there are several options ranging from pork ribs to chicken quarters. To get the best smoking results, you need to get the right meat cuts, the right spice, as well as the right woodchips.
If you are new to the world of smoking with an electric smoker, this guide will educate you on the various meat options you have when cooking with an electric smoker. In the end, you will be able to select what works for you and which smoked meal produces the most enjoyable taste and flavor for your satisfaction.
- 1 Different Meat cuts to smoke in an electric smoker
- 2 Plant-based foods that can be cooked with an electric smoker
Different Meat cuts to smoke in an electric smoker
Chicken quarters are one of the tastiest meats you can even cook with an electric smoker. But they are not easy to smoke as their skin can easily get burnt and dried up. However, there’s a proven method to get the best result.
You can brim the quarters for about 2 to 3 hours before smoking until the skin falls apart around the joint section. To get a rich taste of the meat, you need to maintain a cooking temperature of about 180 F and spice it up with enough sauce. Maple and Apple woodchips are the best woodchips you can use to smoke this meat cut for the best flavor.
This is a griller favorite, which is not surprisingly the official Texas style BBQ meat. Generally, briskets are chewy, tough, and almost lacking in flavor. But when placed in a smoker with the right woodchip, you will see the essence of having it. All its collagen baths each fiber of meat in an excellent, juicy, flavorful gelatin.
It is one of the easiest to smoke too. It requires a slow smoking process in the electric smoker because it needs some time before the connective tissues are broken down. Also, you don’t need to do much prep before smoking this meat. You can brine it or rub it with a little spice before throwing it in the electric smoker. Usually, you’ll need about 1.5 hrs to properly smoke the meat.
It’s recommended to slice it in smaller particles to make a Texas BBQ. The most important thing to note about smoking brisket is to select the best piece of meat with healthy fat layer and ample marbling.
You can serve either with a sauce or no sauce at all. Brisket is arguably the most popular smoked meat in the US, and it’s expected, considering the overall flavor it provides after smoking. To get the best flavor, use hickory or mesquite when smoking.
Beef ribs may not be as common as some other meat cuts. There are different beef rib cuts you will see in the grocery store, but the right one for your electric smoker is the one from chuck plate. They don’t usually require much prep.
Just add a little pepper and salt as a seasoning and slow smoke them for about 5 hours. You can also spritz or pop them if you want. To get the right smoky taste, you can smoke beef ribs with Pecan, Hickory, Cherry, or Oak woodchips at 205 degrees.
Pork has different meat cuts, which will be discussed below
Pork butt is a special cut from the top side of the shoulder. It weighs from 5 to 10 pounds and is sold cheaper than most other meat cuts. Generally, you will see a shoulder bone in the meat, which can easily be pulled out when the meat has received a certain level of heat. It’s your choice to keep the bone while smoking or to remove it after.
But most people prefer leaving the meat with the bone until it’s fully smoked. You can use Pecan or Hickory woodchips to smoke this meat cut.
These are one of the easiest and quickest meat cuts to smoke. Unlike ribs, shoulders, and butts, they don’t have so many connective tissues you need to break down. Smoking this part of the meat takes approximately 1.5 hrs. When you smoke chops, do not make them too thin as they are likely going to dry out in the fire.
Basically, make the cut about 1 inch in diameter. That way, the juice will stay intact and give you the right flavor after smoking. To cook pork shops effectively, you need to use Maple, Cherry, or Apple woodchips. It requires about 145 F for effective smoking.
Pork Picnic Shoulder
This is the opposite end of the pork shoulder. The pork picnic is the lower part of the shoulder which holds the elbow joint. It is prepared almost the same way you prepare the pork butt, but there’s a slight difference.
There is less level of fat in this cut, so adding more apple juice, sugar, and salt will help with the taste. And in most cases, the skin in this cut is removed to allow for better heat penetration.
Just like the pork butt, you can easily smoke this meat cut with Hickory or Pecan woodchips. Cooking time takes approximately 10 hrs.
These have a greater ratio of lean meat to fat, making them perfect for slow smoking. When they are well smoked, they are usually moist with a rich flavor peculiar only to the meat.
However, you need to get the right meat cut if you want to smoke them well. Unlike other types of meat, you won’t get the best result when you take them out of their pack and just throw them in the smoker with little or no prep.
First, you have to take out the strong membrane at the back. There are two parts you will get from ribs: the spare ribs aligned with the ligaments and the baby backs. You can choose to smoke them together or separately.
But the meat will retain more flavors if you smoke them together. Applewood and Hickory are the most ideal woodchips to use for pork ribs.
A chuck roast has a lot of connective tissues and marbling, which makes it perfect for slow and low-temperature smoking. It feels like a brisket but doesn’t require that long time to cook.
It takes about 5 hours to get ready, and you will surely enjoy every bit of it because of its unique flavor. Pecan and Hickory’s woodchips are perfect for smoking Chuck roast
The best meat cut for deer are the tenderloins and shoulders. Deer have lean meat and do not require too much heat for smoking. So if you don’t like too much fat for your meats, a smoked deer shoulder will be a great meal choice for you.
To enhance the smoky flavor, you can use Cherry, Oak, or Apple woodchips. It’s important to note that softwood is definitely a no-no for smoking deer. It will just spoil the smoky flavor and produce a soured taste on the venison.
This is a meat cut from the sirloin. It’s very tender and lean, which makes it perfect for steaks. It requires only smoke as flavor and stays in the fire for about an hour. If you are looking for the fastest meat portion to smoke, this will be ideal for you.
As a newbie, you won’t find it difficult to give it the required temperature it needs to cook since it doesn’t require much. Although it’s not as common as other parts of meat, tri-tip is certainly worth the search if you can find out time to look for it. Pecan, Hickory, Cherry, and Oak are all good woodchips you can use to smoke this meat cut.
If you are a newbie griller, lamb may not come as a top priority or a top contender for the best-smoked meat for you. But it has its unique taste. An electric smoker easily breaks down the fat present in the meat, making it an exceptional piece of BBQ masterpiece.
To improve the taste, you can add beer basting, marjoram marinades, and dry rubs. It’s possible to scrape off some hard fats from the lamb’s top to make it easier to smoke. You can make use of maple and fruit woods to enhance the smoky flavor of the meat.
Here is another popular meat cut not just for its taste but for its special size. It’s very juicy and can be smoked with little spice.
You may not love the skin after smoking the turkey, but the meat’s overall taste is great. It has some good level of fat that makes it juicy and moist after smoking it.
You can use Maple or Apple woodchips to bring out the best smoky flavor.
One importance of goat meat is the added health benefits it has. This is not really in terms of any additional nutrients but its cholesterol, calories, and fat levels are considerably lower than in other meats. Smoking goat is handled almost like you would smoke deer and lamb.
To get a tender and delicious portion, select a younger goal meat of about 10 months old. The smoking process takes a slow one in order to keep all the juice and flavor intact. Hickory woodchips are the best wood to get the right smoky flavor.
Seafood (Smoked Salmon)
Although most grillers are conversant with meats, seafood is a special delicacy loved by seasoned grillers. And the grandfather of them all is salmon. It’s a fatty fish and brings out great flavor when being smoked. It can be planked on Cedarwood as the wood flavor ingrains into the fish. Cooking salmon requires a low temperature and doesn’t take much time to get ready.
Plant-based foods that can be cooked with an electric smoker
If you are a vegetarian and feel you are left out when it comes to smoking meat, you can still enjoy your favorite meals with an electric smoker.
There are certain plant foods (especially vegetables) that taste great when you smoke them with an electric smoker. The vegetables and foodstuffs below are easy to prepare and smoke with an electric smoker.
Mustard goes well with ham and pork. You can garnish it with mayonnaise to make a sauce for shellfish or grilled fish. One good thing about mustard is that you can either use hot smoking or cold smoking. It doesn’t require much temperature and gets ready on time.
Smoking nuts require a high-temperature level of about 300F. And it’s slightly more stressful to smoke. You need to place the nuts in an iron tray and put them in the electric smoker. Smoke for about 30 minutes and stir continuously. You can add some butter or oil to the pan to improve the overall flavor and taste of the nuts.
You can place whole tomatoes or cut them in slides if you want to get a smoky flavor in all areas. You can also add some onions to improve the overall taste and flavor.
Cut out a section of the cabbage with stem and wrap in a foil before placing in the electric smoker. Of course, you need to cream it up a little before smoking in order to bring out its unique taste.
Add vegan butter or margarine with pepper, salt, and paprika on the cob. Then place in the fire while stirring every few minutes until it’s completely smoked.
Cooking potatoes on a smoker is very easy. Just rub sea salt and a little amount of olive oil around the body and put them in the smoker for some hours. A smoked potato usually produces a unique smoky flavor that’s refreshing to eat.
There are different types and cuts of meats we can cook with an electric smoker, as has been noted above. Each cut requires its own special temperature settings, cooking times, and best woodchips for the best flavor.
If you are still learning the act of smoking, it’s best, to begin with smaller meat cuts. This is easier to prepare than placing a whole chicken or beef in the smoker. As you improve with practice, you can increase the quantity of meat and even smoke as large as your smoker can take.
Patience is needed to prepare the perfect smoked meal with an electric smoker. And it’s important to allow the smoker work on its own terms to get the best smoky flavor you will love.