The Best Beef Cuts to Smoke – How to cook them?

If you want to learn more about smoking meat, please visit our blog here: Cooking for Profit. Are you planning a BBQ this weekend? You have come to the right place. It can be confusing to know which cut of beef you should serve to your guests, but your worries can stop right here. Aside from that, you get tired of reading super lengthy posts about the best beef to smoke in a smoker. Hence, you end up just scanning them and maybe not even finish half of it.

With the popularity of smoking BBQ nowadays, you will find a lot of information about it on the internet. The cuts of beef are important, and you will find out what they are here.

Best Beef Cuts to Smoke
Best Beef Cuts to Smoke

Here are the 7 best cuts of beef to smoke and what you must look for:

The brisket, rib, chuck roast, top sirloin, rump, round, and flank steak cuts are the best beef for smoking.

The content of this post is an outline of what makes each cut great, and it helps you decide which cut of beef you must choose. At least you will know which one to buy for your next barbecue.

It is true that beef is an iconic meat, and it is the best for barbecues. BBQ beef is beautiful because it comes from a large animal which offers a wide range of textures, flavors, and aromas. All beef cuts have something new to bring during meal time, but some cute are better than others. That means one of them stands out.

1. Beef Brisket

Brisket is probably the most popular and certainly the best meat to smoke if you want beef for smoking.

The kind of BBQ is the brisket. It is the smoking process of a big piece of beef to a succulent and tender meat on a plate is mouth-watering. The beautiful bark coat sums up what outdoor cooking is.

Smoked beef brisket contains everything that you look for in a good meat cut. Brisket is tough, tender, and packed with flavor. The tough fibers are meaty and it is full of flavor. The fat on the top layer make it tender.

Unlike many other kinds of meat, brisket does not need brining or many added flavor if you want to get the most from it. The key is to choose the piece of meat that is perfect for your BBQ.

Key facts in smoking brisket:

  • Cooking time: 10 to 14 hours
  • Preferred type of wood for smoking: Oak, Hickory, Cherry, Pecan
  • Internal temperature should be: 205 degrees F

Try choosing a cut that has a lot of grains, tender texture, and a good layer of fat.

A good tip: When you are choosing the best brisket cut, hold up the piece of meat for a bit. If you see the meat bending, then this is a very good sign that it will become tender after you cook it. The meat is more tender if it bends more.


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2. Chuck Roast

Even if brisket tops the list of the best beef cuts to smoke, a lot of people are also a fan of smoking chuck roast.

Chuck roast is common with brisket. The connective tissue and tough meaty fibers of the chuck roast are like the firm construction of a brisket.

Key facts of smoking a chuck roast:

  • Cooking time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Preferred wood for smoking: Hickory or Pecan
  • Internal temperature: 205 degrees F

The good thing about chuck roast is it has a smaller cut, which is why it does not take as long as the brisket to smoke. You do not need to dedicate at least 10 hours like smoking a brisket, chuck roast only takes 5 to 6 hours.


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3. Beef Ribs

When it comes to ribs, people often think of pork ribs, but beef ribs are equally good when it comes out of the smoker. It could even be better.

Key facts of smoking beef ribs:

Cooking time is 5 to 6 hours

Preferred wood for smoking: Oak, Hickory, Cherry, Pecan

Internal temperature: 135 degrees F

Beef ribs are not so easy to find, but it is worth it. What makes things confusing is that there are different beef cuts that are sometimes labeled as ‘beef ribs. You must buy the ribs that come from a chuck plate.

Like the baby back ribs, beef ribs do not take long to smoke compared to the brisket. You only need to dedicate about 5 hours to smoke it.


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4. Tri-Tip

The tri-tip is one of the best cuts of meat to smoke even if not all people are open to the thought of smoking steaks. However, they still deserve a spot on this post. Sometimes, people confuse the Tri-tip with the sirloin, but it is really a small portion taken from the large sirloin. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find.

Key facts of smoking tri-tips:

  • Cooking time: 90 minutes
  • Preferred wood for smoking: Cherry, Oak, Pecan, Hickory
  • Internal temperature: 135 degrees F

Unlike many other meats to smoke that need the fat content to tenderize and render them, tri-tips are actually lean cuts of meat. Hence, it only takes at least an hour for smoking a tri-tip before it is seared on the grill for a couple of minutes.


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5. Top Round

The top round is one of the best cuts of beef to smoke; it is actually perfect for it. You will love it even if you eat it as a steak, sliced up, or in your tacos or fajitas.

Key facts of smoking top round:

  • Cooking time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Preferred wood for smoking: Oak
  • Smoking temperature 225 to 250 degrees F
  • Internal temperature: 135 degrees F

Most of the time, the top round must be cut by your butcher, and not a prepackaged in stores or supermarkets. If you notice, the ones bought from a store tend to have a small cut. That is why most people buy it from a butcher and get more weight per piece.

This cut of best beef to smoke also needs dry brining, which is not hard to do. Instead of soaking it in salt water, you lightly coat it with table salt and refrigerate it overnight. The salt is going to slowly draw some juices from the meat before the meat reabsorbs it back. You can help the top round retain a lot of the natural moisture while smoking to keep it from drying out.


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6. Flank Steak

It may seem unusual to use low and slow flame to smoke steaks instead of searing them on the grill, specially if you prefer them to be rare or medium-rare. However, flank steaks are one of the most fantastic cuts of beef for smoking and it is a different way to smoke meat.

Key facts of smoking flank steak:

  • Cooking time: 3 hours
  • Preferred wood for smoking: Mesquite or Hickory
  • Smoking temperature: 225 degrees F
  • Internal temperature: 145 degrees F

Sometimes, flank steak is cheaper compared to other kinds of steak since their fat content is less. if you can cook them right, flank steaks are super good.

Flank steak has rich muscle fibers, which is why it can carry a meaty and intense flavor. That is why you can use strong woods like mesquite or hickory with it because they won’t overpower the flavor of the steak.

Compared to other beef cuts, flank steak does not need a lot of time for smoking. It is a thin and lean meat slice.


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7. Top Sirloin Steak

This meat strip is more tough and lean compared to most beef cuts, and it is from the cow’s hip. You can either buy the top or sirloin, but the more tender choice is the top sirloin compared to the bottom. That is why it is a lot better for smoking.

Key facts of smoking sirloin:

  • Cooking time is 1 hour per pound
  • Preferred wood for smoking: Mesquite or Hickory
  • Smoking temperature: 225 degrees F
  • Internal temperature: 145 degrees F

Like flank steak, sirloin is lean meat which is why you do not have to dedicate many hours in the smoker compared to other beef cuts.

It is recommended that you marinate the sirloin for a couple of hours before cooking. This helps keep the juiciness of the meat and keep it from drying out while smoking.


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Now that you are aware of the 7 best cuts of beef for smoking, you are ready to host your next weekend BBQ to friends and family.

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