Whether you’ve got your very first smoker or have been working a pit for decades, you want to know what are the best smoker recipes that you can cook in your backyard. There are recipes that everyone who owns a smoker should know. Then you’ve got more adventurous ideas for those who have gotten the basics down and want to branch out.
Remember, just because we think of barbecue as meat doesn’t mean that only meat can go on your smoker. Whether you have an offset smoker, a pellet grill, an electric smoker, or even smoke on a charcoal grill with indirect heat, these recipes are for you.
So here are our favorites and what we consider to be the best things to smoke.
These smoker recipes are where most backyard pitmasters get their start. Whether it’s how to smoke a killer brisket, the best ribs you’ve ever had, or tender pulled pork, these should be in your arsenal.
1. Texas-Style Brisket
Brisket is one of the kings of barbecue, whether you’re from Texas or not. It is also one of the most daunting cuts of meat in barbecue. It takes time to get good at smoking brisket, but it is well worth the time and effort. Here at Angry BBQ, we prefer a Texas-style brisket smoked low-and-slow and sticking with the traditional salt and pepper.
There are other ways to prepare brisket (please don’t fight us, Texas-style purists.) We have a Kansas City-style rub for a sweeter take as well as a Texas-style rub with a twist. Regardless of your rub preferences, having a good brisket recipe is something all backyard pitmasters should have.
2. Smoked Ribs
Here we go, starting an argument in our second straight recipe. Some people think that ribs should be fall-off-the-bone tender, smoked to the point where you can slide the rib bones out of the meat without anything left on them.
Michael Haas will firmly tell you they are wrong (he might even do it politely, but the name of the site is Angry BBQ, after all.) Here is his recipe on how to prepare ribs properly. These ribs need to be bitten for the meat to come off the bone, but they will be delicious and tender. A lot of people follow the 321 cooking method because of its simplicity, but a big part of this recipe is cutting down the time the ribs spend in foil and cooking with sauce after the foil.
3. Simple Smoked Pulled Pork
Pulled pork makes for an amazing sandwich or part of a barbecue platter. Regardless of how you enjoy it, you want to be able to make a tender pork butt that can be shredded with little effort. This recipe is simple, only requiring a pork butt, yellow mustard to serve as a binder, and your favorite barbecue dry rub.
If you’re nervous about using yellow mustard, don’t be. I personally don’t like it, but it’s my go-to binder. You won’t taste it, but it’ll keep the rub on your pork butt (or whatever you want to rub) without issue. Then once the pork butt is done and shredded, serve it with your favorite barbecue sauce!
4. Smoked Chicken Quarters
Chicken is a staple of countless barbecue fundraisers. Chances are you’ve seen chicken quarters being cooked over a long grill with some type of sauce being mopped on them while cooking. This recipe takes those chicken quarters, then runs them through wood smoke before being finished hot to help crisp the skin.
The key to a good smoked chicken quarter is remembering that different parts of chicken will cook at different speeds. If you’ve got white meat, like chicken breasts, it’ll cook faster than the thighs’ dark meat. So make sure you’re paying attention to the internal temps using an instant-read thermometer like the Thermapen One or the ChefsTemp Finaltouch X10.
5. Smoked Salmon – Wet Brine
Looking for new smoked food ideas? Think Salmon. If you’ve ever had locally smoked salmon, you know it is substantially better than store bought. We prefer to use the wet brine method as the salt and spices penetrate deeper into the fish. It’s best to have a smoker that creates very low heat but this can be done on a pellet smoker as well.
This recipe is our favorite and uses a lot of salt in the brine. You can reduce the salt to your liking.
The Best Smoker Recipes To Amp Up The Creativity
Those recipes cover some of the basics of barbecue, and that’s great. What if you want to go deeper into the world of barbecue? Looking for new smoker ideas? That’s where these smoker recipes come in. Whether it’s putting a unique spin on cuts of meat you would normally see on the smoker or completely out of the (fire)box, these are great recipes to check out.
6. Smoked Chuck Roast Brisket-Style
If you’re a big fan of brisket but don’t want to make room in the budget for it, you can turn to a chuck roast or two. This recipe is a simple one, but it results in delicious, tender slices of beef reminiscent of brisket. It takes less time than smoking a full-size brisket, too.
While the recipe focuses on salt and pepper with some garlic thrown in, you can use your preferred rub to replicate your favorite brisket.
7. Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast
While the previous recipe results in sliced chuck roast, this take on chuck roast gives you pulled beef. Typically, we think of pork and even chicken when we think of meat smoked low-and-slow to give us pulled and shredded meat. Pulled beef is a tasty departure from the norm, and it’s easy to make.
Chuck roasts have good marbling, so smoking them for a long time will give you a tender pile of beef. If you’ve ever enjoyed a pot roast that shreds, this is a smoky version that will keep you coming back for more.
8. Brisket Burnt Ends
While the earlier brisket recipe is ideal for beautiful slices of brisket, it’s not the only way to prepare brisket. You can use the brisket point to make these brisket burnt ends. These wonderfully flavorful and sticky nuggets of brisket are a completely different take on brisket, but no less delicious.
These run through the smoker twice, first as the full brisket point. Then they are cubed, tossed with the concoction of sweet and savory flavors, then returned to the smoker at a higher temperature in a foil pan to turn into burnt ends.
9. Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Brisket isn’t the only cut of meat that can be turned into burnt ends. Pork belly, which isn’t just for bacon (though we love that, too,) can be turned into burnt ends as well. This recipe differs a little bit in the preparation for the brisket burnt ends, but the theory remains the same. These cubes are smoked twice and come out sticky and sweet. What could be better?
The biggest difference, besides the cut of meat, is that the pork belly is cubed before the initial smoking process. There are a few other smaller differences, but if you can smoke brisket burnt ends, you can smoke pork belly burnt ends. Then you’ll have a new game day fixture.
10. Smoked Then Fried Chicken Wings
Speaking of game-day recipes, is there anything that screams football season more than chicken wings? (That might just be my Western New York roots coming through, but I’m not wrong.) This recipe is a smoky take on a fried chicken wing, adding a depth of flavor that most wings only wish they had.
The beauty in this preparation is that you get a tender chicken wing with a smoky flavor due to the time on the smoker while also getting that crispy fried exterior of a traditional wing. You can experiment with flavors, but never overlook a traditional chicken wing tossed in hot sauce. Better be Frank’s in this Buffalo fan’s opinion.
Remember to safely thaw your chicken before cooking.
11. Easy Smoked Bacon
Pork belly is a versatile cut of meat, but it’s best known for bacon. Bacon is perfect for any number of dishes, but there are few things as enjoyable as popping a crispy slice of bacon into your mouth. This recipe takes crispy bacon and adds smokiness to it, amping up the flavor.
It’s not quick, so make sure you have the time to wait for mouthwatering bacon. However, what you do get is smoky flavor and beautifully rendered bacon fat. This is probably the easiest smoker recipe ever.
12. Smoked Prime Rib
Prime rib is a decadent dinner, full of tender beef and rich fat. When cooked properly, it is the star of the show and needs little help. Yet there’s always a drive to improve food, even when it’s universally beloved. This recipe takes a prime rib and gives it a smoke bath, adding another layer of flavor.
The low-and-slow method of cooking helps render some of that internal marbling to add flavor to the meat. The bark, while already developing during the long smoke, will be helped by the ramping up to high heat and creating an experience unlike any other preparation of prime rib.
13. Smoked Beef Rib
Beef ribs (not beef back ribs) are towering monsters of a rib. If you have an Instagram account, chances are you’ve seen these huge hunks of beef lately. This recipe shows you how to make them on your own smoker. Having a good relationship with a butcher will help you here. Make sure you get either chuck ribs or plate ribs to ensure you’re getting the meatiest beef ribs.
In terms of flavoring, the simpler the better. Whether you want to go with equal parts salt and black pepper or add garlic powder to the rub, you’ll get excellent results. Add wood smoke and you’ll have delicious, meaty beef ribs the envy of any social media user.
14. Wet Brined Smoked Turkey
Many people consider late spring through early fall the smoking/grilling season. However, don’t forget holiday favorites can get some love on the smoker, too. This recipe for smoked turkey will turn heads and delight taste buds.
If you’ve ever had complaints (or complained) about dried-out and bland turkey, then combining a two-day brine with a low-and-slow cooking method will erase those memories. You can also develop good, crispy skin in the smoker.
15. Smoked Mac And Cheese
While a big focus has been on main dishes, side dishes deserve some love from the smoker, too. This recipe for smoked mac and cheese will probably ruin boxed mac and cheese for you and your family forever. You’ll have a blend of creamy cheese in the middle paired with a smoky, bubbly, and crispy layer on top that puts all others to shame.
For best results, pay attention to the types of cheese you put into this recipe. You will also be making a roux, so make sure you give yourself enough time.
Desserts On The Smoker?
Smokers are truly a versatile way to cook. You can prepare meats, vegetables, and even mac and cheese. You can also elevate desserts to a whole new level. Check out these two desserts that will have you looking at your smoker in a whole new way.
16. Smoked Cheesecake
Cheesecakes are a rich dessert that when smoked develop a whole new layer of flavor. This recipe looks like a traditional cheesecake but then spends close to two hours picking up smoke flavor. The preparation is essentially the same as if you were making this cheesecake in the oven. If you want, you can make this recipe in the oven.
However, you’ll miss out on the extra flavor provided by the wood. Maple or pecan wood adds a sweet (and nutty in the case of pecan) flavor that pairs well with a cheesecake.
17. Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Cast iron is no stranger to smokers. However, in this recipe, you load a cast iron skillet with chocolate chip cookie dough before sending it into the smoker. This works well especially if you’ve already been using your smoker for your main course.
The most important part of this recipe is making sure you pull the cookie out of the smoker early enough. Even though it may look like it needs more time, that cast iron skillet will retain plenty of heat to finish the job. If you keep it on the smoker too long, you’ll end up with a burnt bottom to the cookie.
Wrapping It Up
This is an overview of some of the best smoker recipes out there. There’s something for everyone, regardless of their experience using a smoker and what kind of smoker they have. What’s your favorite smoker recipe? Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!
Best Smoker Recipes
- 1. Texas Style Brisket
- 2. Smoked Ribs
- 3. Simple Smoked Pulled Pork
- 4. Smoked Chicken Quarters
- 5. Smoked Salmon
- 6. Smoked Chuck Roast
- 7. Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast
- 8. Brisket Burnt Ends
- 9. Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- 10. Smoked Then Fried Chicken Wings
- 11. Easy Smoked Bacon
- 12. Smoked Prime Rib
- 13. Smoked Beef Rib
- 14. Wet Brined Smoked Turkey
- 15. Smoked Mac and Cheese
- 16. Smoked Cheesecake
- 17. Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Scroll up and pick a recipe from above.
- Complete Recipe.