This Is The Best Cut Of Beef For Smoking

Beautifully fragrant and tender smoked meat is a mouthwatering delight. Barbecue pitmasters make it look easy, but if you are going to attempt to smoke meat at home, you need to proceed carefully, as there are many different smoking methods and materials to get lost in. You can smoke almost anything, but when comparing different cuts of meat — beef in particular — there are certain attributes that separate the good from the great.

Grasping the process of smoking is incredibly important to understanding which cuts will fare better than others. At its most basic, smoking involves slow cooking meat in an appliance that traps smoke, typically created by a smoldering wood fire (via MasterClass). The smoking process does double duty, imparting smoky flavors and cooking meat very slowly. The low-and-slow process means that your meat needs to be a bit tougher to be able to maintain its form during the long smoking hours without falling apart. You'll also want to choose a cut that has a high enough fat content to moisten the meat and keep it from becoming jerky-like (via Food & Wine). 

So, what is the best cut of beef for smoking?

And the winner is ...

Brisket! Beef brisket meets all the criteria for a successful smoke and then some. Due to the high level of connective tissue found in the cut, brisket, which comes from the lower chest of the cow, is just tough enough to be able to take the long, low, slow heat of the smoker, according to the Los Angeles Times. During the smoking process, the brisket's tough tissue will be slowly broken down into an incredibly tender but still shapely prize.

As Char-Broil notes, you should look for a cut of brisket with plenty of marbling, as the fat will help to keep the meat juicy and tender. As the fat slowly renders, the meat will be able to stay relatively moist without too much attention, though you will also need to manually moisten the brisket as the smoking progresses.

Successfully smoking anything to perfection is not easy and takes quite a bit of experience and no small amount of patience. But brisket is the ideal beef cut to get you started.