What you’ll find below is my collection of smoker recipes for various meats and fish, as well as a few general tips on smoking in general.
Smoked meats are some of my favorites, and while the basic process for smoking is all very similar — salt cure, dry, smoke, eat, repeat — there is a lot of nuance and variation in exactly how you get to that point. Many of these recipes are designed for wild game or wild fish or shellfish, but you can almost always substitute store-bought meat and fish.
The best food to smoke is food that has some fat in it. Period, end of story. Yes, you can smoke lean foods, like lean fish, but I don’t much like it — as a strictly smoked product. If, on the other hand, you are simply cooking, say, a leg of venison over a slow smoky fire just until it hits medium on the inside, then that works great.
Strictly smoked foods are under the smoke for a long time at often very low temperatures. Hot smoking is somewhere between 80°F and 225°F, but at that higher end you are really getting into barbecue country, which is similar, but different. Below 80°F, you are cold smoking.
Speaking of barbecue, this is also best done in a smoker, and for those smokers where you can control the temperature, you can even roast things, which is what you get once your temperature passed about 325°F.
My sweet spot for timing in most of these recipes is four hours. You can smoke most meats in that timeframe and get a nice level of smoke without destroying the meat. Fish takes less time, and something like wild hog BBQ takes a lot longer.
As for the smokers I prefer, I mostly use a Traeger Timberline, which is just about as badass a smoker/pellet grill as I’ve ever used. The only other smoker I recommend is a Bradley — for smoking seafood and fish. I’ve used all sorts of other smokers, though, even an old Weber kettle. You can rig something up no matter what you have on hand.
Keep in mind these are all smoker recipes for hot-smoked products, and hot smoked meats and fish do not keep as long as cold smoked things, such as salami or salmon.