The 5 Best Cuts of Beef for Smoking

The 5 Best Cuts of Beef for Smoking

By: Brisk It Culinary Team

There's nothing quite like the taste of savory, juicy, flavorful beef that's spent hours cooking in a smoker. It's no wonder that beef is one of the most popular types of smoked meat, made by thousands of Americans every month, and among the best things to smoke for beginners. But when it comes to smoking, all cuts of beef aren't created equal. 

Just about every piece of beef has a place on the menu, but some just aren't well suited for smoking. For example, you generally wouldn't want to smoke a high-end cut like filet mignon, which would be better served grilled or pan-seared. So which are the best choices? Fire up the smoker, and let's take a closer look!

Beef Brisket

Smoking Temperature: 225-250°F

Time: 10-14 hours

What better way to start than with the unquestioned king of beef cuts. Whether you've worked up an elaborate spice rub or stick to simple "Texas-style" salt and black pepper, smoking a beef brisket begins with a tough, fatty,  fibrous cut of meat. After 10 to 14 hours in the smoker, the cut softens and nearly falls off the bone with immaculate flavor. The "low and slow" process of smoking breaks down the collagen in the brisket, tenderizing and adding flavor to the cut as the outside develops a crispy bark that seals in the juices. Make sure to cook the fat side down for best results. Depending on your preference, you can cut the brisket into slices or chop it up to serve on sandwiches with a side of coleslaw.

Chuck Roast

Smoking Temperature: 250°F

Time: 5-6 hours

While chuck roast is commonly cooked on the stove for pot roasts, it is also a choice cut for smoking. Smoked chuck roast is an unusual and delicious spin on this delicious and succulent cut of beef. Much like brisket, chuck roast needs time to dissolve the tough, fibrous fatty tissues throughout the roast. These large, thick cuts of meat slowly cook as the temperature in the smoker rises, preserving flavorful juices and preventing the exterior from toughening before the interior is cooked. You can either shred the roast (like you would with pulled pork) or slice it for an entree-style presentation. The contrast between the crusty, flavorful outside and the perfectly cooked and tender interior is one you and your dinner guests won't soon forget.

Beef Ribs

Smoking Temperature: 225-275°F

Time: 5-7 hours

When it comes to ribs, pork is usually the most popular choice. But if you've never smoked beef ribs, you're missing out. You can either opt for back ribs or the monstrously sized "dinosaur" style (also known as beef short ribs) – perfect for a backyard BBQ! Both of these cuts provide incredibly rich, beefy flavor after just a few hours on the smoker. In either case, ribs are among the more straightforward cuts of beef to smoke, supported by the large bones which ensure even cooking. Just make sure to remove the membrane before tossing them on the smoker. Beef ribs are delicious with any kind of sauce of your choosing or simply prepared with some salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors of the meat.

Top Sirloin Steak 

Smoking Temperature: 225°F

Time: 1 hour per pound

Smoking may not be the most common preparation for steak, but it may be the most delicious. Sirloin should be among the top choices for beginner smokers looking for a delicious and easy cut of beef. This cut from the hip of the cow is relatively lean, meaning it doesn't need too much time on the smoker. This makes it a perfect choice for weeknight cooking or other spontaneous smoking when you might not have time for brisket or rack of ribs. Many barbecue chefs like to marinate the steak for several hours before cooking, a move designed to both amp up the flavor and ensure your steak doesn't dry out. Others prefer a dry brine, which can provide the benefit of tenderizing the meat as well.

Flank Steak

Smoking Temperature: 225°F

Time: 2.5-3.5 hours

Another fairly quick cut of beef to smoke, flank steak is taken from the steer's underside. It also offers another big advantage: price. Flank is among the more affordable types of steak and an excellent benefit for smokers on a budget. Still, barbecue chefs don't need to sacrifice any flavor for these savings. This is thanks to the intensely beefy taste of the initially tough muscle fibers, which soften and tenderize while smoking. Like sirloin, flank steak should be marinated for several hours before cooking. Use this as an opportunity to soak your steak in even more flavor and test your marinating skills. Best part is this is the perfect ingredient to go into a large selection of larger dishes such as fajitas, tacos, or stir fry!

Take Your Pick – All Beef Tastes Better On A Brisk It Grill

Whether you're in the mood for a juicy brisket, succulent chuck roast, fall-off-the-bone ribs, or grilled steaks, there's nothing like smoked meat. These five best cuts of beef for smoking are your best choices to take advantage of the unique benefits of your smoker or grill, like the Brisk It Smart Grill. Looking for some inspiration? Check out our brisket and beef dino ribs recipes today!