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So, you have a smoker? You want to use it? But you are stuck, you don’t know what recipes there are, or what you can cook up on your smoker. No worries, we have you covered. We have 20 beginner recipes ready for you.
Smoking up some great recipes does not need to be difficult, and while some recipes can be complex, there are plenty that are suitable for even the most novice smoker chefs.
You can be veggie, vegan, or a full-blown carnivore, it doesn’t matter, we have a full list of all the great and easy beginner recipes here today, ready and waiting for you. So, get your notepad out, put your cooking hat on and let’s get started!
20 Beginner Friendly Smoker Recipes: Ribs, Chicken, Vegetables And More
Smokers are a great way to cook as they can give your food a unique flavor that you just do not get anywhere else. The best way to cook food when you put it into a smoker is with a low temperature.
This allows the food to get cooked properly and thoroughly, while it soaks up as much flavor as it possibly can.
It is a great way to cook meats, vegetables, fish, and just about anything else. What’s best, even if you are new to smokers, and you have never used a smoker before in your life, that is okay, while there is a trick to using them properly, you can easily learn!
With the recipes we are going to teach you today, all you need is a really basic knowledge of how a smoker works. This means the unit itself, we aren’t going to teach you about that here, we are focusing on the food!
However, you should know how to fire up your smoker, and understand how it works. Note that a smoker will have different cooking times depending on what you are cooking, and that you can check on your food, but you shouldn’t do so too often.
Now… those recipes…
Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder
Pulled pork is a dish that is never going to go out of style, no matter how much time passes, it’s an age-old favorite, and there’s a reason for that appeal. You see what it is done on a smoker like this, the meat just falls away from the bone.
It is so delicious, tender, and simply nicer than any other cut of pork you have ever tasted, no one at the dinner table will be able to resist. If you are planning a family barbecue weekend, and you want to impress the family with your cooking skills, this is the dish that will do it.
Grab the following;
- Brown Sugar
- Smoked Paprika
These are the magic ingredients that make up your barbecue rub!
Slather this rub all over the meat and just let the smoker work its magic, with pulled pork, there will be a long cooking time, at least 8 hours, maybe more depending on the size!
Just make sure the smoker stays at a steady heat!
Smoked Beef Brisket
Not unlike your previous mention, a smoked beef brisket is simply one of the things you have to try at least one, two, or three times in your life. Of course, it’s not the easiest thing to get perfect either.
However, once you have got it correct, you will never worry about getting it wrong again, it’s a bit like riding a bike… but delicious. And, of course, once you’ve done it right and found out how amazing it tastes, you might be a bit addicted.
All you need is some salt and pepper, however, the secret is not in what you put on it, but how you cook a brisket, which is slow and steady.
First you need to season your brisket, smoke it usually for over 10 hours for perfect tenderness, wrap it, rest it, and then slice.
Make sure you wrap and rest the brisket, this is absolutely critical to getting it perfect, the wrapping helps to maintain the juices and the resting allows it to soak up the juices and stay tender.
Smoked Sweet Potatoes
Here’s one of the veggie lovers. Even vegans and vegetarians can benefit from a smoker, sure they are usually targeted towards heavy meat eaters, but you can use one too… a sweet potato is a great recipe to start with as well.
You can season your sweet potatoes with a bit of salt if you just want a gentle side dish. However, if you want to try something a little more… hardcore, you can make them delectable.
For the vegetarians, have you considered adding a spoonful of maple cinnamon butter onto the top of your sweet potato before you dig into it.
It’s like having a traditional baked potato but just better, and of course the smoker makes it even better, and that slower cooking than you would get in an oven just makes the inside so fluffy and full of flavor. You cannot go wrong.
The only issue with making sweet potatoes this way is that you will want them all the time!
What if you smoked up the turkey for thanksgiving? It would be something different and if you dress it just right with the right ingredients, it could become a new family favorite.
You can use apple, butter, onion, celery, and soda to create an amazing flavor for the turkey. But, if you fancy trying something unique yourself, don’t feel like coming up with your own unique ideas on how to flavor your turkey.
You should coat your turkey with your sub, and the flavors should mesh together once you cook it in your smoker. This means you definitely need to remember to coat the inside of the turkey!
Oh and remember, low heat, and conserve as much moisture as you can, a dry turkey is no one’s favorite thing, no matter the rub!
You could also try something new, a bacon explosion!
This is made from crispy bacon crumbles, rammed into a savory Italian sausage, which is wrapped with, you guessed it, more bacon! Finally, lather it with a spicy dry rub on top.
Anyone else mouth watering yet?
You could go even further, add in some jalapeños, hot sauce, cheese, or maybe all of these if you love a bit of heat with your meat.
Get creative with this one, the main thing you need to remember about this recipe is the bacon and the sausage, but apart from that you can feel free to go wild! Let your imagination go crazy.
Like cheese? Pop some cheese in there. Really, really like cheese? Pop some cheese in the sausage with the bacon and then once it’s finished cooking, drizzle some melted cheese on top, as well as a barbecue sauce to serve.
Since you will have 3 layers of meat, you will be looking at a fair cook time for something like this, you want to make sure it’s all cooked through, and any ingredients you have added yourself are also properly cooked through as well.
If you love bacon, there is no way that you can say no to this dish!
Smoked French Fries
We would always assume that french fries are, well… fried. It’s in the name after all, but you needn’t ONLY fry them. That’s right, what you do before you fry them matters too.
If you try smoking your fries before you fry them it can add a significant flavor you are unlikely to forget any time soon.
For all the french fry lovers, this one’s for you. Consider the taste that your smoker brings and then the crispy deliciousness of french fries merged into one being.
Smoke your fries, it doesn’t need to be for very long, especially if they are a very thin cut, then you can deep or air fry your french fries. However, you do it is up to you, but it will add a new zing to your mouth when you take a bite.
They are not the easiest thing to smoke, but once you’ve tried it, you’re unlikely to be satisfied with normal fries anymore.
This one is not just the best for using your smoker in a new way, but it is also great for the homecooks who like to test themselves with new recipes!
This one is making your own chorizo. Now there are many ways you can make chorizo, you could ferment it, cure it or cook it to turn a pork sausage into chorizo.
However, the method you use to do it is not quite as significant as the smoking of it. The smoker is the key here, and remember that how long you need to smoke your chorizo is entirely dependent on how large the chorizo is.
Learn how to make chorizo and make it your own by doing so in whatever way feels right for you, it might take a few tries before you get it exactly how you like it, but the smoker will add its only pizzazz to your dish anyway.
Since chorizo is a type of sausage, do not forget that oak wood has the best flavors for sausage, but since we are experimenting here, don’t feel afraid to try out other wood flavors too!
Let’s say you have smoked up a brisket, or maybe some ribs, or even a turkey, and now you want something to go alongside it with just as much epic flavor. Or maybe you’re just making a normal, standard chicken, but you are itching to use your smoker.
This is what you need;
- Summer squash/ onions
- Salt and pepper
- Maple wood.
Maple wood is one of the best for veggies, so don’t forget to get the right wood for the best flavor, add in some fresh herbs, maybe some rosemary will be perfect.
You will get a lovely amount of flavor added onto your vegetables if you smoke them for 45 to 60 minutes. Adding something different to your plate.
Want to make it even better? Drizzle some balsamic vinegar on there before you pop them into the smoker, doing so ups the zing of the flavor, and enhances the taste overall!
Smoked Green Beans
Green beans are, without any shadow of a doubt, one of the best vegetables out there! They are so versatile. Sure many veg are, but green beans can have almost anything done to them and still taste great.
They are a healthy side dish that simply makes everything better. But what makes them even better is when they are smoked. They can boost your meal, even if they are the only thing that has been on the smoker.
You will get a really nice dish, but if you want to enhance it even more, why not add in some bacon, or some ham into the mix while you smoke the green beans to get a savory flavor with meaty undertones meshed into the healthy, and green taste of the beans.
It is somewhat unique, but it will add something special to your dinner. What’s better is that by smoking them, you aren’t using any oils or fats, so they are still healthy, but they taste better than just plain and ordinary green beans!
Smoked Prime Rib
Prime rib is one of the delicacies of the southern states, it is like the signature dish that everyone knows, but most of us who know the ways of cooking with smoke and fire know that smoking a prime rib is the only real way to go.
If you are going all out and getting prime rib, then you simply have to smoke it up without any question!
Ideally though, you should want to roast the prime rib before you put it on the smoker. A couple of hours to do it, just to help it cook, so pop it in the oven for a few hours and then pop it onto the smoker to really get the best of that smoky taste.
Do make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through as well, you never want it slightly undercooked after spending so much time on it, a thermometer is the best way to check how ‘done’ it is.
Do not forget to add some barbecue sauce to really tickle your taste buds as well! This is a great dish to make if you want to show off your cooking skills to your family, although they will constantly be back asking for more!
Smoked Rainbow Trout
Trout, one of our favorite fish! It is already backed to the brim with flavor, but on a smoker, its god-tier flavor!
It retains a subtle smokiness which doesn’t overpower the fish, but you will be hooked on cooking this fish this way after just one taste.
It also goes well with different pairings such as potatoes, or veggies, which you could also cook on the smoker, although perhaps not at the same time?
However, whatever the case, we are certain that you will soon be just as addicted to this fish as we are. Trout is also great because it does not need a super long cook time, it cooks pretty quickly. So, in comparison to most of our other dishes listed so far (veggies not included) it is probably the fastest cook.
Smoking salmon is a little time-consuming, but it is seriously worth it! It will take you the whole day, and by this we mean 11 hours! From the prep to putting it on the table, so be ready for an early morning!
There is a secret to getting the best flavors into that fish meat though. You should let it sit in a brine with maple syrup, orange juice and kosher salt for around 8 hours. So, in theory, you could get up early, make the brine, pop the fish in, and then go back to bed!
After this, it is just the cooking process, expect a few hours on the smoker, but it will produce incredible results you simply won’t believe.
Who ever knew that salmon could taste so incredibly good! And really all that matters here is the brine and the smoker, apart from that, there is little else impacting the flavor, and you can add other things to the brine if you want to experiment a little as well!
Smoked Corn On The Cob
Although it is not a dish that immediately comes to mind when it comes to smoking, corn is actually a great thing to cook on the smoker. It absorbs flavor instead of getting mushy, staying firm and flavorful.
Remember to take the silk off the corn first and then place it in its hulk. It is best to let it smoke for around an hour, maybe two, although that is up to you, depending on how crunchy you like your corn.
Brush it with some cilantro, some butter, and you will never see corn the same way again. In fact, we strongly recommend making a few of these, as you will soon be addicted.
It’s a totally new way to eat corn, and if you love corn, but feel like it could just do with some more flavor, or a bit of a crunch, then this is exactly what you have been waiting for! It is perfect, and adding in butter and cilantro and whatever else you want, it is perfect!
Beer Can Chicken
Ever heard of beer can chicken? No? It does sound weird at first, doesn’t it? But don’t worry, it’s an engineering masterpiece!
The rub will take things to a level you never imagined. Much like turkey, chicken is another meat that is well known for being dry, and that dryness is a bit unappealing, but in this recipe you do not need to worry about that!
We aren’t sure what genius thought this up, but the steam that is generated from the beer will keep the meat juicy and moist while it cooks!
All you need to make this is…
- 1 Chicken, a 3-4 lb whole chicken should be great.
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- 2 tablespoons of barbecue rub.
- A canned beer.
In this weird but wonderful way of cooking you make a tripod out of the chicken, with its legs and the beer can. What does make it easier is just getting a beer can chicken holder, it can actually make it easier to cook the chicken.
Feel free to use your own chicken barbecue rub concoction for this recipe as well, the main thing is the beer!
Fruits are jam packed with natural sugars, that is why they taste so good! So, what do you get if you cook a sugary fruit at a high temperature? Caramelization!
So, if you decide that the pineapple that has been chilling in your refrigerator for a while needs to be used, why not pop it on the smoker and wait for wondrous things to happen.
You will gain an incredibly caramelized dish that you won’t be able to turn away, it is like the perfect tasty treat you didn’t know you needed. What is even better about smoking pineapple, though, is its versatility.
You needn’t smoke anything else, you can just smoke the pineapple and then if you have any other dish lined up that has the potential to be boring, like a salad, you can add the pineapple in there, and you change the whole dish, giving it flavor.
You will never see pineapple the same way ever again!
Coffee Rubbed Smoked Chicken
Like coffee? Like chicken? Like putting things into the smoker and just seeing what happens? This one’s for you!
Coffee is a beverage that we are all moderately addicted to, or at least most of us, however, we never really think about incorporating it with our food. But, you can and you should!
All you need to make your chicken rub is coffee grounds (fresh!), some onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper… or a lot, depending on how much spice you like in your food!
Lather the entire chicken in this absolutely mouth watering rub and then let it sit in your smoker for around 2 or 3 hours (a little longer if it is a big chicken – use a thermometer to make sure it is properly cooked!)
The smell of the chicken will be enough to send you halfway to heaven! Just think, the smell of smoked chicken, cayenne pepper and coffee… all in one meal! This is a smoker recipe made by God!
We are aware, it sounds ridiculous right? How can you smoke a cake! Smokers are for so much more than meat now, so you can make a smoked cake!
- Vegetable oil
- Icing sugar
- Cooking spray/butter
- Vanilla icing
- Rainbow bit cake mix.
Ideally you should just follow the directions of the cake mix, use the icing to flour your pan and the cooking spray or butter to grease the pan.
Start up your smoker and set it to the temperature required for your cake mix. Using butter or cooking all to grease your pan and dust it with the icing sugar. Then mix the cake according to the instructions and pour it into the baking pan, then place the cake on the bottom rack of your smoker.
You want to check the cake around halfway through the cook time, and if needed, rotate the cake. Then finish cooking until it’s ready, and remove to cool.
It’s really simple. For the most part you are just following the instructions of the cake mix, but with a smoker and not an oven!
Smoked Mac And Cheese
You can add something a bit more to your mac and cheese by smoking it, you can make it just as you want with no rules or regulations and simply enjoy mac and cheese as you always dreamed of!
- Elbow macaroni.
- Flour, butter and milk as well as cream cheese for the roux.
- Cheeses (mix it up with the cheeses, use your favorites to gain different flavors).
- Fresh black pepper and spray for cooking.
- Whatever else you want!
Make up the Marconi cheese mix as you usually would, and pop it in a tray as if you were going to put it in the oven, but instead, put it on the smoker and let it work its magic!
This means you want to cook over a low heat and add in the butter to the saucepan to melt then whisk in your flour and cook it for 2 minutes, add in the milk as it starts to get brown and then cook until it starts to thicken, then add in your cream cheese.
Cook your macaroni as needed and then pour into a heat-resistant bowel. Add in your cheese and your sauce and spray your tray with a cooking spray and spoon the mix in.
Keep it on the smoker over an indirect heat for 2 hours at 225 or there about, until it is crispy on top but gooey inside. It can be tempting to turn the temp up, but don’t, if you do, it will dry out your cheese!
Smoked Chicken Wings
You’re probably as excited for football season to come back as we are, but nothing makes a game day better than a plate of wings! Actually, let’s rephrase, nothing makes game day better than a plate of SMOKED wings!
Adding on a sweet and spicy rub and then smoking the wings will even have the players trying to jump out of the TV screen to grab a bite!
Don’t forget to lather them with a gorgeous barbecue glaze as well
There are many amazing things in our world. Cornbread is definitely one of them, but smoked cornbread is even more definitely one of them. It is super easy to make, and it tastes amazing if you pop it with pepper and cheddar!
Of course, cornbread is versatile and can be sweet and light, but it can also be hearty and savory, and when smoked it will be the latter.
You will need something that can take the heat of the grill to cook it on, a cast iron skillet is usually a good way to go. With a smoker box or wood chip packet you should be able to smoke through the whole bake, but be sure to keep the temperature consistent.
If you love cooking cornbread, you can pretty much do this and then just add it to your smoker. You should keep the grill at 450 to 500 for 25 minutes for a full cook.
So, there are 20 easy recipes you can do as a beginner to cooking with a smoker. Honestly, a lot of these recipes are not difficult, and you do pretty much exactly what you would do if you were cooking them in any other way, but the difference is using a smoker.
This is why, we will repeat just how important it is to know how your smoker works, this means being aware of cook times, the types of wood you should use for different types of food and so on.
Some foods will need a slower cook than others, notice bread doesn’t need a long cook, but a brisket needs ages? The denseness of the food is important, but the amount of flavor you want to have inside your food is important too.
So, before you start cooking something big like a brisket, why not try out some of the smaller vegetable recipes we have suggested? To help you get to know your smoker better and do not be afraid to experiment with your cooking. Experimenting and trying new things can be scary, but it can also result in masterpieces. How else was smoked beer can chicken discovered?