The Best Cuts Of Beef To Smoke (You Don’t Always Have to Smoke Brisket!)

If you are anything like me, you enjoy a succulent piece of beef but likely revert to the same boring options.

If you are tired of repeating the usual grilling, roasting, or stir-frying, it might be time to try smoking your beef.

But what cut should you smoke?

We all have heard of brisket, it’s like the celebrity of smoked beef. However, they many other delicious options, and below you will find them all!


The tri-tip cut is a triangular shape and has very little fat content.

The secret to serving this section of bottom sirloin is the three S’s: season, smoke, and sear.

A rub makes a good seasoning, so it’s up to you which flavor, or combination of spices to use. After the meat is seasoned, it can be smoked.

The best wood options for smoking tri-tip are pecan, oak, hickory, or cherry wood.

Make sure that the internal temperature is consistent at 135°F (57°C) for a medium-rare steak, with a smoking temperature of 225°F (107°C). This smoked beef needs to be cooked for about two hours.

Lastly, sear the steak with some butter using a skillet or sizzle it on the grill. Serve and savor the smoky flavor.

If you have a bit more time to spare and would like to savor the slow smoking experience with some suds or soda in hand, possibly the tastiest cuts to smoke are brisket, chuck roast, and ribs.  

Top Sirloin Steak

The sirloin is ideal for smoking. We recommend dry brining the cut will help to make sure it is tender. You only need to use about half a teaspoon of salt or kosher salt for every two pounds (about one kilogram) of meat to ensure that it is juicy, tasty and its texture is enhanced.

After dry brining, leave the meat in the fridge for at least two hours. The longer it sits, the more delicious it will be. Smoking top sirloin happens in a series of twos: it also only takes about two hours to smoke for every two pounds (or one kilogram) of meat.

This cut is smoked best with mesquite or hickory wood (or a combination of the two), with a smoking temperature of 225°F (107°C) and an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

Beef Brisket

Smoking beef brisket is the quintessential smoked meat. The key is to start early, let it smoke the whole day, and appreciate the fruits of your labor for dinner.

The secret to smoking brisket is choosing the correct cut, one with marbling, and that can bend a little when you hold it up.

Brisket is cut from the lower chest and is one of the most exercised parts of the cow, making it a tough piece of meat. Cooking it slowly at low temperatures will make it delicately fall apart. But be warned, this is not a cut for beginner smokers as it needs more care and attention because of its toughness.

To smoke this cut, use pecan, hickory, cherry, or oak wood. Cook at an internal temperature of 205°F (96°C) for 10 to 14 hours.

Chuck Roast

Chuck is cut from the cow’s shoulder. As this muscle group is well used, it needs to cook low and slow to ensure that the meaty fibers and connective tissue can break down.

A chuck roast is suitable for beginner smokers as it is easier to smoke than a brisket. It is also a smaller cut, so it takes less time to cook.

There are two ways to smoke chuck. One is to cook it as you would brisket, at a smoking temperature of 225°F (107°C) to an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C).

The other is to pull the meat, like pulled pork, at a smoking temperature of 240°F (115°C) and an internal temperature of 205°F (96°C). Hickory and pecan are suitable types of wood to use.

Short Ribs

If you have time and would like to enjoy a cut that is on the bone, then beef ribs are for you.

Short ribs are a delicious, meatier alternative to a rack of pork ribs. Beef ribs are suitable for beginners to cook and prepare as they are easier to smoke than pork. All you need is a salt and pepper rub. Even a beginner can be mistaken for being an experienced smoker!

Types of wood to use to smoke ribs are pecan, oak, cherry, or hickory. Cook at a smoking temperature of 250°F (121°C) and an internal temperature of 205°F (96°C) for five to six hours.

juicy smoked beef short ribs

Smoking Tips

Regardless of the cut you choose, here are some key tips;

  • Slow and low – cook slowly on low heat. Smoked food is not fast food! If its your first time smoking meat, make sure you read our guide for beginners.

  • Hang about – don’t wander too far from your smoker. Be close and attentive, as you would for your partner (or wine).

  • Keep it shut! Yes, you want to take a peak but resist the temptation. Do what you need to (add wood, check the meat) and get out! Treat your smoker as a baking oven – don’t let the heat out.

  • You’ve done your best, now let it rest. It has been a long cooking process. It is now time to let the meat savor in its juices. You will appreciate the delicious flavor, and your efforts, so much more.

Now you know some of our favorite cuts of beef to throw in the smoker! It doesn’t always have to be brisket or ribs you know!!

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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