Knowing the best meats to smoke in electric smoker

Cooking is a fun, enjoyable, and joyful activity especially when the cooking tools on hand are useful and efficient to make the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

Try cooking your meats with an electric smoker and you will be sure to experience the joy of cooking thanks to the wonderful flavor and aroma of smoked meats!

When you cook with an electric smoker, it is important to choose your meats carefully.

There are certain cuts and types that cook better using this piece of equipment.

In this article, let us review the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

An electric smoker is typically the most favorable way of smoking your food. It is not like with the common charcoal smoker. 

Though it uses electricity for heating, it still requires a certain amount of wood to generate smoke.

When you smoke food with an electric smoker, it will surely deliver you the best taste and ensure the fastest cooking time.

What is Smoking?

This is a process of browning, cooking, flavoring, or preserving food.

Smoking is done by exposing the food to smoke that comes from smoldering or burning materials. 

Wood and charcoal are generally used for smoking. You can read our full guide here.

The Best Meats to smoke in Electric Smoker

Are you completely new to the process? Beginners will generally smoke any meat they like.

However, you need to know that there are specific types.

Namely, that each come with a unique set of characteristics that make them the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

Here are the best meats you can easily cook with an electric smoker in your home.

Note that most of the meats require a little bit of preparation to achieve the best results in cooking.

Pork Ribs

best meats to smoke in electric smoker

This is one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

It is a popular cut so it should not be hard to find in the market.
Pork ribs are cheap and perfect for smoking.

Unbeknownst to many, they actually come in two kinds: the lower spare ribs and the ribs proper.

Cooking pork ribs in electric smoker will make you enjoy the mouthwatering fat even more than usual.

If they’re smoked properly, they become irresistibly delicious tender meats.

We are going to talk about how long to cook ribs in electric smoker in such a way that will ooze a complex combination of appetizing flavors. 

Guidelines for Cooking Pork Ribs in Electric Smoker:

  • You should buy a fresh pinkish rack of pork ribs. This should never be frozen. You can have this ready at least a day before smoking it. 
  • Take off the paper-like membrane that is on the back part of the ribs the night before you wish to smoke them. Some say you can leave it, but your ribs will not attain the ideal texture and flavor if you do.
  • Don’t separate the upper and lower sections of the ribs. It will be more flavorful if the sections are kept intact.
  • Prepare a mop sauce. Use a dry rub and some amount of apple cider vinegar to moisten the meat while you’re smoking it.

Cooking Tips:

It is significant that you know how long to cook ribs in electric smoker.

You can smoke your pork ribs in electric smoker for about 3 hours at 225⁰F.

Make sure to place them directly on the racks. Once you remove the pork ribs, tightly cover or wrap them in an aluminum foil. 


electric smoker chicken

Chicken is also cheap and almost always available in whatever store you go to.

It is also exceptionally easy to prepare for smoking. Hence, why it is one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

Simply remove the gizzards and neck, then just season and smoke it in the electric smoker.

The short size makes it easy to be smoked. You can even try smoking chicken quarters instead of whole chicken.

Guidelines for Preparing Electric Smoker Chicken:

  • Look for a chicken that has been slightly processed for fuller flavors.
  • It is not necessary to mop your chickens while smoking as they really don’t dry out.
  • For crispy chicken skin, heat your meat on high temperature for 20-25 minutes.

Cooking tips:

Smoking an electric smoker chicken is as simple as these steps: 

  • Just set up your smoker for 250 F using your choice of wood. 
  • Rinse your chicken in cold water.
  • Tie the legs of your chicken together with a butcher’s twine or kitchen string.
  • Liberally rub your chicken with spice rub.
  • Place your chicken in an electric smoker.
  • Use a remote thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your chicken by checking the breast portion. Pull your chicken out when its temperature reading reaches 165⁰F.


best meats to smoke in electric smoker

The specific cut or size of the sausage meat is not significant. Many of the sausages are made from pork meat.

However, some manufacturers make sausages using a blend of pork, beef, poultry, or even wild game meat.

Smoking sausages gives it an intricate layer of delicious flavors.

You may try your own recipe for sausages or just grab the pre-made sausages from a butcher.

Choose low-fat and low-sodium variants of sausages for healthier consumption if you wish.

Nevertheless, it is also one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

Guidelines for Smoking Sausages:

  • Make sure to dry the sausages just before smoking them. You may choose to air dry them or use a sausage smoker.
  • The kind of sausage you’re going to smoke will require specific preparation procedures.  Your preferred style of smoking will also impact the taste. You can try and smoke a variety of sausages with your own style, and see which kind you like the best.
  • To know the length of your sausage’s hot smoking time, check the diameter of the sausage. Sausages with 36mm hog casings have to be smoked anywhere between 1 or 2 hours.
  • The doneness of your sausage may be determined by the color of its exterior. Remember to gauge the smoked sausages by this guide: dark brown is heavy, light brown is moderate, and light yellow is light.
  • Let smoked sausages cool properly to make it juicier.

Cooking Tips:

Hot smoking times for sausages range from 1 to 3 hours. You should add a cure to your sausage mix.

This is to prevent any harmful bacteria from growing on the mix during and after the process of smoking.

While cooking the sausage, make sure it’s flipped halfway through so that both sides can receive the same amount of the required heat.

Beef brisket

beef ribs in electric smoker

You can’t go wrong with beef brisket. It is one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker, after all.

It’s actually the official barbecue meat for the Texas-style barbecue. Brisket is known to be chewy, tough, and generally flavorless.

However, cooking beef ribs in electric smoker can do wonders.

Smoking it while following an electric smoker brisket recipe will give you a tender and juicy dish.

For novice smokers, they should have no problems looking up easy recipes for beef ribs in electric smoker.

Guidelines for Smoking Sausages:

  • Choose organic beef as much as possible. The farm-raised cattle on a grass-based diet have a subtler and richer beef taste after a successful smoking.
  • Select flat-cut brisket for a nice flavor and easy smoking. Furthermore, avoid the deckle brisket or the uneven muscles and fats between the flat and the rib cage).
  • Seasoning beef brisket should be minimal. The combination of basic salt-and-pepper should already be enough when it comes to preserving its moisture. Less is more as it can already improve its flavor.
  • Make sure that you have a steady heat during the smoking process. Place your briskets at least several inches away from each other.

Cooking Tips:

Cook beef brisket between 215-225 degrees for an hour and a half per pound.

This is to achieve its winning flavor. A great electric smoker brisket recipe can absolutely transform it into a rich and flavorful meal.

Moreover, smoked beef ribs in electric smoker can take around 6 to 8 hours of preparation.

When you are in a hurry, you can wrap the ribs with an aluminum foil once they’ve cooked for about 2 hours in an electric smoker.

This will shorten the time you need to cook it.


best meats to smoke in electric smoker

This is widely smoked used during the Thanksgiving season in the US. The aroma alone will have everyone at the table swooning.

Its succulent quality appears to be the reason why it’s chosen over any other poultry and considered one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

Turkey has relatively lesser fat compared to other meats.

Therefore, you should brine it more thoroughly. Don’t forget to smoke your turkey slowly.

A turkey may turn out dry when it is not brined and cooked well.

Moreover, a well-prepared smoked turkey should be flavorful and moist.

If you like the great taste of roast turkey, then you will also like smoked turkey.

In addition, the texture of smoked turkey is between extremely soft and tender when properly done. 

Guidelines for Smoking Turkey:

  • Put your turkey in the fridge overnight. This way the salt will further penetrate on the meat.
  • A small turkey should be brined for about 12 hours. While a big turkey should be brined for up to 2 days.
  • Choose wild turkey instead of a domestic one. A wild turkey usually has more intense flavor. Moreover, you may opt to go for a farm-raised turkey if you prefer the milder taste of grain-and-grass diet turkey.
  • Check the breast and thighs of a turkey to know its internal temperature when smoking. These parts are the perfect areas when it comes to checking the internal temperature of the turkey.

Cooking Tips:

Smoke your turkey at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes per every pound. Make sure to keep water inside the drip pan.

Let your turkey rest from anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes before carving it.

Lamb shoulder

best meats to smoke in electric smoker

You may think that lamb shoulder is not one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

You’ll be surprised. It can give you great results if the process is done properly.

Guidelines for Smoking Lamb Shoulder:

  • To enhance the taste of a smoked lamb, you should use dry rubs, beer basting, marjoram, or rosemary for the marinade.
  • Wrap your lamb meat in foil mid-cook as soon as your lamb has formed crusty bark. Use 2 sheets of foil to ensure the juice will be locked in.
  • Slice off some of the hard fat on the upper portion of the lamb shoulder as it can make the smoking process more difficult
  • Soak about 4 cups of wood chips in the water for at least an hour just before you begin to smoke.
  • Use fruit woods to mildly complement to the flavor of the lamb.

Cooking Tips:

Steps in smoking your lamb:

  • Place your lamb in the middle of food rack. Cover the smoker.
  • Maintain the temperature of the smoker at 225⁰F.
  • Cook your lamb for about 4 to 5 hours or until the meat thermometer reaches 150⁰F. You can check its temperature by inserting the meat thermometer into the thickest portion or part of the lamb.
  • You may add water, wood chunks, and charcoal to the smoker as needed.


The amazing thing about the meat of deer is that any part of it can be smoked.

Indeed, it’s one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

However, unlike the other suggested meats for smoking, its meat is lean.

The simplest recipe of a brine solution can significantly enhance the flavor of the deer.

In addition, the brine recipe can lock the moisture in. Win-win!

Guidelines for Smoking Deer:

  • Choose the tenderloins and shoulders of the deer for superior flavors. 
  • Put enough water in the cooking pan. Be careful not to dry out your deer.
  • Brine your deer for about 12-24 hours.
  • Break down the hindquarters into pieces first. Place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes just before slicing them away at its silver skin.

Cooking Tips: 

Smoking the meat of deer in an electric smoker is incredibly easy as the smoker will regulate the temperature for you.

You can smoke the deer meat for approximately one hour and 30 minutes per pound or until the deer meat reaches the 140⁰F internal temperature. 


best meats to smoke in electric smoker

Smoked goat is tasty and healthy. The whole family will surely love it.

The calories, cholesterol, and fat of a smoked goat are typically lower than the other types of red meat in the market.

Smoking a goat meat can bring out its hidden sweetness.

Thus, why we include it as one of the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

In addition, it complements the stringy texture of the meat.

You can brine and cook the meat in the same way that you brine and cook deer and lamb meat.

Guidelines for Smoking Goat:

  • Choose young goat meat to have a delicious dish of tender smoked goat. A young goat is better than an adult goat. The quality and taste are very similar to young pork. Take note that the age of a young goat ranges from 6 to 12 months old.
  • Use salt sparingly. The goat meat is lean so putting a lot of salt will suck the juice out of the meat.
  • You may add bacon fat and lard fat for additional flavor.
  • For best results, you can refrigerate your smoked goat meat overnight before serving it.

Cooking Tips:

Use hickory wood when smoking your goat. Don’t rush the process of smoking so that you can achieve a delicious smoked goat dish.

Rushing the smoking process can make the goat meat bland-tasting, dry, and tough.

Boston butt

best meats to smoke in electric smoker

This is known as a cut of pork meat that comes from the shoulder of a hog (the front of its leg).

Boston Butt is also known as pork shoulders.

Therefore, if you can’t see any “Boston butt” in a grocery store, just use the term “pork shoulders” and the butcher will know what you mean.

Boston Butt is amazingly rich in fat making it perfect for smoking.

Smoked Boston butt can give you a juice and superb meal on a humble budget.

Guidelines for Smoking Boston Butt:

  • Save or keep the juice that drips out from the foil as you unwrap your smoked pork butt. You can mix the juice back in once you pull the Boston butt meat apart.
  • Don’t skip trimming the meat if you want it to look good!
  • Try to combine a variety of wood chips. It will enhance the flavor. You may use cherry wood and hickory wood for that mild, sweet, and classic taste.

Cooking Tips:

Remove the butt from your smoker after it reaches the internal temperature of 195⁰F. Then let it sit around for 30 minutes.


best meats to smoke in electric smoker

The taste and texture of smoked salmon are somewhat strange at first because it’s similar to raw salmon.

However, this is considered to be the best seafood for smoking.

Salmon is readily available. It is flavorful, fatty, and relatively inexpensive. Moreover, salmon is a versatile meat.

It produces various flavors depending on the technique of smoking you apply.

Guidelines for Smoking Salmon:

  • Use kosher salt instead of regular table salt when you are seasoning the salmon.  Salmon will taste better that way. 
  • If you prefer sweet smoked salmon, add maple syrup and genuine birch syrup to it.
  • If you want classic salmon, go for a chum (Keta) salmon.

Cooking Tips:

Cook your salmon for 3 hours at 120⁰F. Crank it up at 220⁰F if you barely have 2 hours for smoking.

The Best Smoke for Smoking the Best Meats in an Electric Smoker

Now that you already know the best meats for an electric smoker, it is then pertinent to know the best wood for an electric smoker.

This will enable you to fully enjoy your smoked meat.

Though electric smokers don’t require a lot of wood, you may always add more wood chips to get a better smoke.

Here is the list of wood chips flavor that you can use when smoking:


Applefwood is a fruity and mild wood that is perfect for chicken, turkey and other poultry.

The smoke of wood will last you several hours.


This wood has a sweet and mild flavor. Cherry burns relatively hot for a long period of time.

The cherry wood is even more perfect when combined with the hickory wood.


Hickory is hardwood that has a taste of sweet. The burning will be hot and slow.

Too much hickory for smaller meats may result to a bitter flavor, however.

For a pleasant and nice taste, it should be combined with cherry wood.


Maple wood is a subtle wood. Its flavor is milder compared to that of hickory.

However, it also burns slow and hot. This is the sweetest wood among the heavy woods.


Peach wood has southern roots. It imparts a sweet and light flavor to smoked meat.

You will be satisfied as it burns hot and long. Use the fresh cut of peach wood because it loses its flavor quickly right after being cut.

How long is your smoked meat allowed to be kept?

You can keep smoked meat for 3-4 days inside the fridge after it has been cooked.

Properly wrapped smoked meat, however, can last 2-3 months inside the freezer.

If you cannot follow the proper storage and consumption period of your smoked meat, dispose of it as spoiled food can cause health problems.

Often times, we find it hard to determine what are the best smoking meat times for a new recipe.

Therefore, we decided to provide you with an easy to use chart on the best smoking meat times to use.

Now, remember that these are not exact for everybody, it really varies on the type of meat and smoker that you have.

You want to make sure to tweak these a bit as you see fit. Also, make sure you read up on the different smoker options as well here.

However, here are a few quick points to keep in mind:

smoking meat times

Smoking meat times quick points

Primarily, the main fact to always remember is that when smoking meat, you want to always take a look at the temperature.

In order to know when the meat cooking is done. For this reason, we always recommend to get a digital meat thermometer.

The best cooks, make sure to always have one. On the other hand, you have to be very careful when using temperature charts.

While they are indeed very useful(as we will show below). You cannot accurately determine when a specific meat will be ready. 

Fact is, that some meats can be cooked slowly at a temperature of under 210 degrees.

While a piece of pork might cook extremely fast at over 300 degrees.

But, the point is that this can vary, and going strictly on a chart is bad idea. 

Whether you are using a pellet smoker, or something else, keep this in mind.

This is especially relevant when you consider the fact that the thickness and weight of meat can also vary.

You can read the rest of this here. Nevertheless, please take a look below at our smoking meat times.

We hope this helps, and don’t forget to check out our blog for more posts such as this one.

Also, feel free to shoot us any questions you may have on smoking meat times or any other query. 

smoking meat times

Final thoughts

An electric smoker is a great investment for anyone who enjoys the process of smoking.

While it can also be used to cook pizzas, vegetables, and other dishes, nothing can quite compare to looking at the best meats to smoke in electric smoker.

However, it is important to know the best options in the market so that you can satisfy your friends, guests, and family.

Smoking is no joke. It takes a lot of effort and time to accomplish.

With that in mind, you should strive for the best possible results.

While different types of meat have their own advantages, it is important that you choose the one that fits your preferences.

All you need to do is follow the guidelines mentioned above and keep an eye on the rack while it’s cooking.

Also make sure you take a look at our buying guides for more at thecookingsmokers.