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Smoking tips

If you are gonna smoke, you might as well do it right.

Slow-cooked smoking is perfect for well-marbled cuts with muscles that do more work, such as brisket.

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Smoking cuts and cooking times

Slow cooking

Slow-cooked smoking is perfect for well-marbled cuts with muscles that do more work, such as brisket. Such cuts may not be as well known, but they’re cost effective, packed full of flavour and ideal to feed a crowd. The long, slow heat and smoke melts the fat and tenderises the meat around the bone, creating a palate-pleasing pull-apart finger food that’s delicious in a bun.

Cuts suited to slow cooking:

  • Brisket
  • Shoulder
  • Short ribs
  • Chuck
  • Tri-tip
  • Standing rib roast

Faster and flavoursome

Hot smoking can also be used to introduce a fantastic zestiness into cuts that don’t require long cooking times.

Cuts suited to slow cooking:

  • T-Bone
  • Sirloin
  • Butterflied leg of lamb (evened out by your butcher)
  • Lamb cutlets
  • Lamb riblets
  • Meatballs (smoke for 10-15 minutes, then pan-fry for an incredible taste sensation)

Cooking time and temperature guide

Popular cuts

Smoking temperature

Smoking cooking time (may vary)

Final smoked temperature

Smoked brisket (sliced)




Smoked brisket (pulled)


1.5 hours/500g


Smoked beef ribs


3-4 hours


Smoked baby back ribs


5 hours

Tear-apart, tender

Smoked spare ribs


6 hours

Tear-apart, tender

Smoked meat balls (5cm)


1 hour


Expert tips:

  • Remove meat from the fridge an hour before cooking. It’s best to start the cooking process when meat is at room temperature.
  • To check temperature, push an accurate meat thermometer into the thickest part of the joint, avoiding any bone.
  • Always cover a cooked joint and let it rest for 10-20 minutes before serving.
  • Slow-cooked joints such as brisket may require higher temperatures for some recipes.

Rubs and Marinades

Dry rubs, marinades and spices

The flavour of smoked beef and lamb can be further enhanced with the addition of dry rubs, marinades, spices and even beer basting.


Dry rubs are a blend of spices and herbs, firmly rubbed into the meat before cooking. There are no rules so you can choose your favourite combinations to transform your cut of beef or lamb. Consider creating a Cajun, Indian, Mexican or even Korean blend. Simply add the rub about 30 minutes before cooking, or leave the rubbed meat in the fridge overnight for an intense spice infusion.


Marinades are flavour-infusing liquids that also help keep meat moist and tender during cooking. There are ready-made marinades that can be purchased, however you can easily create your own with ingredients to hand, such as lemon, oil and herbs. Marinades with sweeter ingredients can help create a delicious crispy or caramelised coating. For ideal results, leave meat marinating in the fridge overnight to let the flavours soak in but if time is scarce, even a half-hour marinade will create flavour.

Expert tips:

  • Meat can appear pinker when it’s smoked, using rubs and marinades. Make sure you use a meat thermometer to check its doneness rather than relying on a visual check!
  • Smoked veggies taste amazing, too! Cut wedges of potatoes, pumpkins, carrots or sweet potatoes, season and generously glaze in olive oil. Smoke according to taste and finish in the oven or on the barbecue grill.
  • Fresh herbs can really bring out the flavour of all smoked cuts. Mint and rosemary pair beautifully with lamb, while smoked beef loves a dose of fresh parsley butter.