Tips & Tricks for Smoking Meat


Smoking can take quite a lot of practice when it comes to getting perfection in your results. 

However, you can save a lot of time by learning a few basic tricks about smoking meat that will go a long way for you.

You can learn these smoking meat tips along your way as well, but with our help, you can save yourself from committing the mistakes that a lot of beginners can make, and hence save yourself from frustration. 

We’re here with this article to help you learn the basics of meat smoking that will help you get great results from the very first day.

Smoking Meat Tips

Without any ado, here are a few of our favorite smoking tips for beginners that would certainly help you get the smoked meat that everyone wishes to enjoy!

1. Prepare Yourself 

This is of course the most important tip that we can give you. Although you might not think a lot about it, it’s one of the most common things that people miss out on.

It would be best if you always kept everything ready that you will need during the smoking process – such as foils, tongs, plates or trays, gloves, and everything you can think of.

You might think that you know where they are and can grab them whenever you want, but it’s best to have them present right next to you, so you don’t have to run around looking for things to pull your meat out with, or to put them on, while it’s overcooking in the smoker. 

Also, make sure that you know your recipe and cooking method. You should be aware of how much time your meat should sit marinated for, how much time it will take to smoke, and how long it should rest.

2. Know Your Smoker

Before you purchase any type of smoker, it’s very important to understand how it works. And by that we don’t just mean what’s written in the product description, but whatever it will take for you to get familiar with it.

For instance, you should check how much the temperature fluctuates from one point inside the smoker chamber to another, so that when you are smoking meat, you don’t end up with an undercooked side and an overcooked one.

Similarly, you should also see how well the dampers and vent work and how much temperature control the smoker offers you.

It is all experimental, but once you know what works for you – you’ll easily get used to it. 

Here as some of our articles that can help you know your smoker better:

3. Don’t Check On The Meat Too Often

We’re aware that when you’re smoking meat, especially for long hours, you want to constantly keep an eye on how well the process is going.

We know that you are only doing it to make sure that you don’t end up overcooking the meat, but it still isn’t the best decision to make.

This is because every time you open the smoker chamber, a large amount of air is allowed to enter the smoker and therefore replace a large amount of smoke from it.

This influx and outflux greatly disrupt the balance of heat and temperature inside the smoker, and hence should not be allowed to happen.

Therefore, the best thing to do for your meat to come out great is simply letting it smoke for whatever period your meat cut and recipe suggest!

Also Read >> Best Meats to Smoke for Beginners

4. Pellet Management

This only applies to you if you own a pellet smoker

Just make sure that you always have a sufficiently extra amount of wood pellets and chips present at all times so that you never run out of them mid-smoking.

Similarly, you should also familiarize yourself with the wood flavors you prefer so you can buy only those wood pellets and not experiment a lot.

You can see the list of wood chips to choose from here.

5. Get An Accurate Thermometer

One of the most important smoker accessories to buy before starting smoking your meat is a meat thermometer. 

You can get any thermometer or meat probe that is available to you or suits you, but an instant-read, digital meat probe is one of the best choices you can make. It will both tell you the temperature of the meat accurately, and in an instant, so you don’t have to wait for a moment.

Using an accurate meat probe is very important because it will help you decide when your meat is ready to be taken off the heat.

However, we still recommend that you probe the meat yourself as well using a knife, or even the tip of the thermometer itself, to check for its tenderness even after it has reached the desired temperature.

6. Use Heavy Duty Foils

Always make use of heavy-duty foils for wrapping up your meat. 

The purpose of wrapping your meat in foil is to prevent it from drying out and locking all the moisture inside the meat to keep it flavorful and tender.

7. Clean Your Smoker Regularly

No matter how busy you get, it’s essential to keep your smoker cleaned. It’s both best for your health and also the smoker’s life span.

Cleaning the smoker is necessary because it doesn’t only have residue from your previous smoking session, but also dust and dirt that sits on it every day. 

All of these together can stick on the smoker and not come off eventually if they are allowed to sit for too long.

We recommend keeping your smoker clean if you want to maintain it the right way and give it a long and healthy life.

Check out these articles we’ve made:

8. Using Clean Tongs and Plates

This might not seem like a big deal, but using a separate and clean set of tongs, plates, etc., to handle your cooked meat from raw meat is very important.

This is because you might accidentally end up contaminating your freshly smoked meat if you use a pair of tongs that you also used to handle raw meat. The same rule applies to serving dishes as well.


How Do You Smoke Meat Properly?

This is a very subjective question and depends on a lot of factors, such as the cut of meat you have with you, the recipe you are trying out, etc.

But other than that there are only two things you need to make sure of.

One, you should follow all the tips and tricks we listed for you because they can help you achieve better results.

And two, always remember to cater to your own needs. 

At the end of the day, it’s you and your family or friends that you are smoking the meat for. Whatever they prefer and like is best for you. As long as you don’t make any newbie mistakes and stick by your taste preferences, you are good to go.

How Do You Keep Meat Moist When Smoking?

You can easily keep your meat from drying out while smoking it by using a water pan

The water from the water pan helps the smoky flavor from the wood stick to the meat but also keeps it moist.

Similarly, as long as you use indirect heat to smoke your meat, you will be safe from dried meat.

Other things to make sure of include wrapping it in heavy-duty aluminum foil, letting it rest for the suggested time, etc.

How Long Should You Smoke Your Meat?

This depends on the cut of meat you are smoking. 

Tougher meat cuts, such as briskets, can take up to 22 hours to smoke. But most cuts of meat can easily be smoked tender within 6 to 8 hours.

Should You Put Oil On Meat Before Smoking?

It’s always a good decision to brush a little oil on the surface of your meat before smoking it.

This oil helps the smoke adhere better to the meat being smoked. It also keeps the meat moist and tender and allows it to be browned faster and easier.

There is a misconception that oil prevents adequate smoke penetration, which is not true at all.

Wrapping it Up

Pitmasters might look scary when they show you how to smoke meat to perfection. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, smoking can be fun and easy if you just remember a few tips to assist you!


Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.