4 Mouth-Watering Smoker Recipes For Meat Lovers

Beef brisket

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If you do it right, smoked meat is one of the most delicious things in the universe. That’s how I see it anyway. I truly love it. And I have found four smoker recipes that will knock your socks off. I’ve also included directions to make two of our favorite barbecue sauces. But you can use any sauce with these recipes.

Be prepared to take your time. Smoking meat is all about going low and long, my friends. You use low temperatures, and you cook the meat nice and slow. Some of our favorite smoker recipes can take 12 hours or more. But it’s so worth the wait! You can also make the meat even more flavorful by using different types of wood in your smoker. You can use the ones listed in each recipe, or you can swap them out for your favorite. So be adventurous and get smoking!

What Kind Of Wood Should I Use For Smoking Meat?

smoke meat

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Your wood choice is largely a matter of personal preference. But there are a few things that you should know. There’s a spectrum of different types of wood that you can use for your smoker recipes, going from mild to strong. Fruit woods like peach, apple, cherry, and pear are on the mild side. Their flavors are subtle enough that you can use them in your smoker recipes for fish, poultry, and sometimes pork. Birch is slightly heavier and good for stronger flavored fish like salmon.

In the middle of the spectrum are woods like hickory, pecan, maple, and oak. These woods are great with pork, beef, and game meats. The most potent wood of all is in a category all its own. That’s Mesquite. Mesquite makes some out-of-this-world delicious smoky food. Use it in moderation.

Should I Soak My Wood Chips For Smoking Recipes?

There is some difference of opinion on whether or not you should soak your wood before you smoke. Some smoker recipes call for wet wood, and some use it dry. But there are some facts that we know. First, studies have shown that chunks of wood absorb very little water, even after soaking for hours. When you put wet wood on the grill or smoker, it doesn’t start to smoke until all of the steam burns off. Another problem with using wet wood for your smoker recipes is that it can affect the temperature of the smoker.

Some pitmasters like to soak the woodchips because they burn up so quickly. But if you place dry wood chips into a foil packet with holes in it to release the smoke, you can avoid that problem. This method keeps both the chips from catching fire and improves the smoke quality.

Can I Use My Gas Grill As A Smoker?

gas grill

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Some gas grills come with a metal smoker box. You can also buy a heavy-gauge stainless steel box to use for your smoker recipes on your gas grill. But you can also make your own. Place drained wood chips in a foil pan and cover with aluminum foil. Then poke some holes in the foil to let the smoke out. Place the pan directly on the bars over an unlit burner. Then put the cooking grates in place, turn the grill on, and close the lid. When smoke appears, it’s ready to cook your food. Adjust the temperature and add more chips as needed.

Our 4 Favorite Smoker Recipes This Year

There are a lot of great smoker recipes out there. But there are some that are just in a league of their own. Here are four of our favorites.

1. Smoked Beef Brisket With El Sancho Barbecue Sauce

smoked beef brisket

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One of our favorite smoker recipes this year is this one from My Recipes for beef brisket. It’s simple and utterly delicious. We love it with the El Sancho barbecue sauce, but you can use any sauce that you like. Be prepared, with this recipe it’s all about low and slow. Like many of the best smoker recipes, it takes a long time, but it’s so worth the wait.

What you need for the beef rub

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarsely ground black paper
  • 3 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper

What you need for the brisket

  • 1 trimmed beef brisket (12 to 14 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of beef rub
  • 3 to 4 pecan, hickory, or oak wood chunks
  • Butcher paper

How you make it

Start by combining all of the ingredients for the beef rub. You can store it sealed at room temperature for up to a month. Next, brush the Worcestershire sauce on the brisket and sprinkle it with the beef rub. Then let it cool in the fridge for one to four hours.

Allow the brisket to stand for one hour while you prepare the smoker. You want to maintain the internal temperature of 250 to 260 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Then with the fat side down, place the brisket on the top food grate. Smoke the meat with the smoker lid on for five hours or until the temperature at the center of the meat is 165 degrees F. Remove the brisket and wrap it tightly in butcher paper. Then return it to the smoker and smoke for another three to five hours. You should check the temperature at the center of the meat every hour until it reaches 200 degrees F.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and open the butcher paper. Let it stand for two to four minutes until it is no longer steaming. Then let the brisket stand, loosely covered with the paper for two hours. While your meat is resting, make your sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. When you’re ready to serve, cut the meat across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices and add the sauce.

What you need for the El Sancho Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

How you make the barbecue sauce

In a medium saucepan, combine the garlic, salt, black pepper, liquid smoke, onion powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, tomato paste, ketchup, and vinegar. Then add the sugar and honey and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low, stirring occasionally. You should use this delicious sauce immediately. Or you can cool it completely and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

2. Smoked Ribs With Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce

smoked ribs

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You can’t have a list of the best smoker recipes without including ribs! And we love this one from Bobby Flay and the Food Network.

What you need for the rub

  • 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chile de Arbol
  • 2 racks St. Louis-style pork ribs with 12 ribs each, membrane removed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • A mix of hickory and applewood chips
  • 1 quart of apple cider

What you need for the mop

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • A few dashes of hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Carolina barbecue sauce

How you make it

Start by combining all of the spices for the rub in a small bowl. Then brush both sides of the racks with oil and rub them with the spice mixture. Wrap the ribs in plastic and put them in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Next, combine the mop ingredients in a large pot over low heat. Bring it to a simmer and continue cooking until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool it to room temperature.

Take the ribs out of the fridge about 45 minutes before smoking to allow them to reach room temperature. Add the hickory and applewood chips to your smoker and heat to 220 degrees F. Then put the apple cider in a small heatproof pan in the smoker.

Put your ribs directly on the smoker rack and smoke for six hours. For the first five hours brush them with the mop every hour. During the last hour, you will slather the meat with the Carolina barbecue sauce every 10 minutes. Then remove the ribs from the smoker and serve.

What you need for the Carolina Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 coarsely chopped medium Spanish onions
  • 6 coarsely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How you make the barbecue sauce

In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for three to four minutes until they are soft. Then add the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the ketchup and water and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture for five minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes, until it thickens, stirring occasionally. Then remove from the heat and cool for about five minutes.

Carefully transfer the sauce into your food processor and puree until it’s smooth. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and then pour it into a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature. You can use the sauce immediately. Or you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

3. Brown Sugar Smoked Salmon

smoked salmon

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This Brown Sugar Smoked Salmon is another of our favorite smoker recipes this year by Blackberry Babe. It’s super easy, and it’s ready in about two hours.

What you need

  • 2 pounds fresh salmon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • Pecan, oak, or cherry wood

How you make it

Heat your smoker to 250 to 275 degrees F. Next, combine the salt, pepper, brown sugar, and dill. Gently press the mixture onto the top of the salmon. Place it in the fridge to dry brine for about an hour. Then smoke the fish for about an hour until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. We think this salmon is best when served at room temperature or cold.

4. The Best Smoked Pork Butt

smoked pork

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The best smoker recipes this year also include this smoked pork butt from Food for a Year. It takes about 9 hours to cook this meat, and the recipe serves 20.

What you need

  • 2 fresh 7-pound pork butts
  • Soaked mesquite chips

What you need for the brine

  • 16 cups water (8 cups per bag)
  • 1 cup kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

What you need for the rub

  • Lawry’s Season Salt
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup mild red hatch chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper

How you make it

Start by pouring six cups of warm water into two two-gallon zipper-top plastic bags, three cups for each. Add half of the salt and sugar to each bag. Then seal the bags and shake vigorously until the salt and sugar dissolve. Place one pork butt in each bag and add enough water to cover the meat. And then refrigerate overnight, or for at least eight hours.

Prepare your smoker and add a few soaked mesquite chips for flavor. Then remove the pork butts from the brine. In a medium bowl combine all of the rub ingredients except the Lawry’s and the lemon pepper. Place each piece of meat on separate baking sheets and sprinkle liberally on all sides with the Lawry’s Season Salt. Then sprinkle the rub all over the pork, including on the bottom. Pat the mixture onto the meat so that it creates a shell. Sprinkle the lemon pepper over the pork butts and then place them in the smoker, cover, and cook for five to six hours.

Remove the pork butts from the smoker and place on the rack of a large roasting pan. Tightly cover with foil and bake in the oven for 3 more hours at 300 degrees F. Next, remove the foil and broil the meat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the exterior crisps. Make sure that you pay close attention while the pork is broiling because the brown sugar can burn quickly. Once the skin is crisp, remove the meat from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before you shred with a fork. Then serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

One Last Thing

One thing to remember when you’re smoking your meats is that you don’t want to over smoke. Over-smoking the food is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Some experts say that you should smoke for about half of the overall cooking time.

Besides the delicious smoky flavor, another great thing about smoking is that it gives the meat a gorgeous hue. Part of the appeal of woods like hickory and oak are that they give the meat a beautiful dark mahogany color. Feel free to mix and match the woods when you smoke. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Two combinations that we love are hickory with apple wood and hickory with cherry wood.

Now we would love to hear from you! Tell us in the comments section about your favorite smoker recipes.

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