Tougher cuts of meat and fish are popular choices for smoking since the low and slow cooking method gives them time to tenderize
, but they aren’t the only option. “I’ll tell you a secret––you can really smoke any cut
, it’s just a matter of how long to smoke in order to develop the flavor and texture you’re looking for,” says Bruce Kalman, chef/owner of SoulBelly BBQ in Las Vegas
. If you’re smoking filet mignon, he recommends a cold smoke followed by a sear for best results.
Meat with a lot of fat is good for smoking,
especially if it will be in the smoker for a long time. “The fat helps protect the meat from drying out during the smoking process,” Kalman says. Dan Miele, head chef at Bluebird Barbecue
in Burlington, Vermont, says that meats with lots of connective tissue are great for the low and slow cooking style. If you’re new to smoking, he recommends starting with chicken or fish
, since they don’t need to be in the smoker for as long as, say, beef brisket (which can take over 12 hours). For fish, go with salmon or sea bass rather than flaky white fish that is more prone to falling apart.