Best foods to smoke on BBQ

The thought ‘what to cook today’, has haunted every household from time immemorial. Be it a single person, a family of a few, a big family, or a huge gathering, the question remains omnipresent. You rack your brain and think of all the possible foods you can cook, bake, or smoke. Here, we’ll help you decide what to cook today. That being said, we include here some of the best foods to smoke on BBQ, as we know that’s what you’re here for. 

Although there are endless possibilities with the smoker and we do try out new things some day or the other, some foods are really the best and evergreen when smoked to perfection. We’ll be sharing foods with you that are destined to smoke and recipes that many swear by. For the best ever results, you obviously need a smoker you can always count on. You can check out the most handsome smokers of all time here. 

Smoking 101; you can always adjust the quantities of the ingredients according to your likings. You can trust your instincts with the cook time as well as it varies from smoker to smoker, and method to method. Seasoning and preheating properly are requisites. Patience is the key to a faultless smoking escapade as it involves a lot of slow cooking. 

Let’s get started with the best foods to smoke on BBQ party.

Best foods to smoke on BBQ 

Chicken breast 

Chicken has always been an easy food to cook, bake, or smoke due to its short cooking time as compared to other meats. Also, it’s quite rich in proteins. Smoking an ultimate chicken breast might be a little tricky (like keeping it all moist, tender, and juicy) but it’s all worth trying. Once you learn the trick, in a smoke or two, it becomes effortless thereafter. 

The smoke time is real quick, usually around 40-60 minutes. You’ll need a thermometer to keep a check on the temperature to make sure no extra heat is there as it may dry out the chicken. 

Another advantage of smoking a chicken breast is having many options to enjoy it. You can serve it on a pasta, sandwich, burger, or however you may like it. 

Check out this really simple recipe of smoked chicken breast. 

Beef Prime Rib

If you’re really happy, you may like to indulge yourself in this premium smoked beef prime rib treat. It has a big eye of meat in the center and is surrounded by layers of fats. It’s this fat that melts as the smoking proceeds making every bite juicy, moist, and tender. After all, there’s a reason it’s called the king of beef cuts. 

Though it lies under a bit expensive cuts and takes a long time to smoke, it doesn’t fail to prove that it’s worth every penny. It comes from the latter part of the ribs, that is from the sixth through the twelfth. 

Again, there are many ways to smoke it. The average smoking time is around six hours. Take a look at the recipe below.

Whole Chicken

Whole chicken roast is always a delight. It’s small so it cooks through easily. It’s easy availability gives us another reason to prioritize it. An average whole chicken takes around 3-5 hours to smoke throughout. 

You can serve the chicken smoking hot and can store the remaining for using it up later in your sandwiches, enchiladas, or pasta. It’s quite easy to use leftover chicken due to the variations it can be served in. 

What if the smoking turns the chicken’s skin leathery. That’s a common belief and an occasional occurrence. However, you can always minimize this possibility by simply applying olive oil all over the chicken before you apply the rub. 

Check out this recipes to try on a whole chicken. 

Chicken Quarters

Another readily available is the chicken quarter cut. It’s easy to make and tends to have more flavor. They fall on the less expensive side making it a good choice among the beginners for practicing. Moreover, the low carbohydrate value makes it a healthy choice. 

The flavor it offers sometimes doesn’t even require much focus on the seasoning. The simplest rub and fhe least ingredients can make a good, flavorful, and delicious chicken quarters. 

Check out these simple recipes here. 


Bologna is another great option you can try smoking. It’s precooked so you don’t need any extra efforts to get it cooked (that you might need in some other uncooked meat cuts). You can try it in gatherings and parties at your home due to the serving varieties it offers. 

We’d recommend you get the whole chub from the grocery store, smoke it, and later cut, slice, or cube it however or for whatever style you may want. You can also chill it overnight and eat it cold the next day.

Here’s a tip: As it’s already cooked, it won’t absorb and retain the rub as good as any uncooked meat does. To fix that up, you can keep reapplying the rub every half an hour as it smokes. 

Here’s a simple recipe for smoked BBQ bologna. 

Pork ribs

Pork ribs are easy to smoke when doing them in an electric smoker. There’s an easy and evaluated formula for smoking pork ribs that’s called the ‘3-2-1 formula’. 

It involves smoking the ribs with your favorite rub for 3 hours at 225°F. Next, take them out and wrap them in aluminum foil. Make sure to add a liquid inside the foil before folding. The liquid evaporates and adds moisture in the ribs. It could be wine, beer or any fruit juice. Put them back in the smoker for another 2 hours. Lastly, take out the ribs and coat them heavily with your favorite sauce and smoke directly on the rack for 1 hour. You’ll have the perfectly smoked ribs.

Note: For a little amount of ribs, you don’t need the exact 6 hours. They may get done early. Keep a keen eye to avoid overcooking. 

Beef brisket 

Beef brisket comes from the chest of the animal. Although, we’ll rate it among slightly difficult cuts to smoke. Due to its thick and large size, it’s sometimes difficult to get it done without overcooking, overheating, or drying. It requires practice to achieve expertise. 

It’s one of the many meats easily available in the market. What makes it ideal for smoking? Its thick layer of fats that requires low and slow cook to ensure it turns out juicy and the best in taste. 

Not only that, it’s really easy to cut and handle once cooked. You won’t be creating any mess. 

Lamb shoulder 

Lamb is known for its fat content. So the results you’ll get after smoking it, well, we’ll leave that to your imagination. For some reason, it’s underrated. It’s a forgiving meat and proves to be foolproof while handling it. 

It’s pricier and more difficult to find in the market but there’s no wrong in trying it out some time. Keeping the temperature of your smoker high while you cook the lamb shoulder will ensure it is juicy inside and crispy outside. 

Whole Turkey

A whole turkey tastes great when smoked on an indirect heating smoker, that is, offset smokers. Brining the turkey prior to smoking will make it tender and juicy. Just like the whole chicken, covering the whole turkey with olive oil before applying the rub would be a sensible step. 

The average cooking time for turkey is 6-8 hours. Although it can vary depending on the weight of the turkey and the smoker. 

You can also give a try to spatchcock turkey, that is turkey flattened out to ensure even heating and taste. 

For your upcoming Thanksgiving, check out these recipes to try. 

Turkey Breast

This one is another great option among the best foods to smoke on BBQ. It’s all delicious white meat so you don’t need to bother about cutting around the bones. It would be a perfect feast on a Thanksgiving evening when you’ve few guests and aren’t in a mood to smoke a whole turkey. 

Again, it’s one of the cuts that tend to dry out. So, you will need some tips and tricks up your sleeves to keep it moist and juicy. 


Rich in Omega-3, Salmon would be the perfect seafood option to try out on your smoker. Again, practicing smoking it will lead your way to precision. You can smoke it both hot and cold. It can be eaten on its own, tossed in pasta, or sprinkled in your salmon salad. 

To bring out the best taste, you’ll need to use kosher salt instead of the regular table salt. You can either take off the skin or smoke it skinned, both work equally well. 

If you haven’t smoked any seafood yet, it’s time! Get your favorite salmon and get smoking.


With cooking time of 3-4 hours, sausages are a good option when you’re in a hurry (Ok, not that much hurry). The cooking time may also vary depending on the type of sausage you’re using. 

It could be your lunch, dinner, or an evening/late night snack. However, you need to make sure to chill the sausages after smoking is over, it’ll ensure killing off the harmful bacteria that might be lingering on. 

Note: Make sure to have a deep knowledge of cold smoking sausages before you go for it, or else you’ll trading your health. 

Pork belly

That’s another meat cut really rich in fat content making it one of the best foods to smoke on BBQ . The juicy, tender, and melt-in-mouth results you achieve with this cut will leave you wanting more. The most loved and popular way of having it is in the shape of cubes. They’re nicely browned around the edges and then dunked in any of  your favorite sauce. 

They make a perfect finger-food and are equally good for any occasion. You should give the following recipe a try (and keep trying for the perfection) and we bet you won’t regret. 

Our Say:

When it comes to smoking, you can be your own teacher. The trick for achieving the flawlessly smoked chunks of any meat is to practice, practice, and practice. When it comes to smoking, you can be your own teacher. Your own trials and errors will make you a perfectionist. How to keep the temperature of the smoker consistent, how to look when’s the smoking is just done, what works for your smoker the best are all the questions you’ll need to find answers to on your own.


Nonetheless, we wish you best of luck on your journey, along with our ultimate guide on best foods to smoke on BBQ, to the endless perfect smoking experiences!

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