Smoking meat to perfection is a skill that requires both time and patience. If you overcook the smoked meat, it will taste dry and guests will remember you for the worst smoked meat they have tasted it. If it is undercooked, those that eat the meat could get a foodborne illness. It’s important to find the perfect combination of these two to make sure that your smoked meat is perfectly cooked.
Making sure that the meat is cooked well is not the only thing that you need to do, though. It’s also important to learn how to season meat, marinade it and hydrate the meat through cooking to make sure that your dinner is packed with flavor. There is nothing worse than biting into smoked meat only to discover that it is bland and tasteless.
What are the Best Smoking Meat Books to read?
These books are the best of the best. They are by far the 20 best books on smoking meat. Browse through them to find the perfect book to match your skill level. Some of these books will teach you amazing recipes and others will start with the basics, making them a nice choice for beginners. One of them is going to be perfect for you to learn more about smoking meat.
Best Smoking Meat Books: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best smoking meat books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto [A Cookbook]
This book can benefit both novices and those experienced in smoking meat. It reviews everything from how to build your own smoker and selecting the right wood to picking meats that are a good cut. These basics are things that every beginner will appreciate learning.
After that, the book goes into more detail about how to smoke meat, including some amazing recipes that will make your mouth water just reading them. These recipes can serve as a beginner’s cookbook or those more experienced can learn new ways to smoke meat that they never thought of before picking up the book.
Because this book goes in depth on tips for beginners, such as how to build your own smoker, those that are just looking for a cookbook might find that they don’t use half the book. On the other hand, you might also find the tips incredibly useful if you want to learn more about smoking meat. How much you need to know that information will determine how much you truly appreciate the book.
- Authors: Aaron Franklin (Author), Jordan Mackay (Author)
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Illustrated Edition (April 7, 2015)
- Pages: 224 pages
2. Smokin’ with Myron Mixon
Myron Mixon has become a household name in the BBQ circle, so it only makes sense that he would have his own cookbook to help teach readers how to make the perfect smoked meat. His book does refer back to his website and products that he has available, such as his famous sauce, but it also offers alternatives if a person does not want to purchase his products.
The recipes are perfect for beginners. They are simple, easy to make and instructions are in simple language so readers will never have to look up what specific terms mean. Instead, they can go from never cooking to making a few delicious meals with a couple quick turns in this book. If you’re looking for something basic to get you started, this is a great idea. If you’re expecting a lot because of the man behind the text, you might wind up disappointed. This one is for beginners, so it’s important to remember that.
- Authors: Myron Mixon (Author), Kelly Alexander (Author)
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Illustrated Edition (May 10, 2011)
- Pages: 192 pages
3. Project Smoke
Project Smoke, a book by Steven Raichlen, is packed with variety. It reviews several different techniques for smoked meat, such as cold smoked, smoked with tea and even how to use your grill as a smoker. Each technique provides detailed instructions for beginners, making it easy to add some variety into your life and dinner plate.
Several tips help beginners make sure that they are smoking meat the best way possible. Project Smoke has advice on tools to use, wood that is best for smoking and more so that you can learn about the basics before you get started smoking. Every single detail that goes into smoking is covered in this book.
The last portion of the book has recipes. You can learn how to smoke everything from salmon to cheesecake. These recipes are ideal for beginners, and they are a great way for experienced chefs to learn new recipes or methods.
- Authors: Steven Raichlen (Author)
- Publisher: Workman Publishing; Illustrated Edition (May 10, 2016)
- Pages: 336 pages
4. Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue
Jeff Phillips has become well-known in the world of smoking meat for his astonishing website, one that is one of the highest ranking websites on the topic. His website provides plenty of instruction and some great recipes, but this book takes things a step further. It was written for beginners in an easy to read format and tone.
This book about smoking meat tells beginners everything that they need to know, from how to choose the right wood to how to smoke the meat itself. The in depth instructions on every aspect to smoking meat make this book an essential for beginners that have never smoked meat before. These guides take up the first half of the book.
The second half of the book is comprised of recipes that most people enjoy. There are a variety of recipes, from rubs to sauces, to make sure that there is something for everyone. These recipes are also broken down into easy to read instructions to make it seem like you have a friend standing next to you. This is the main reason that this book is so nice for beginners. You don’t have to know anything about smoking meat to be able to read and utilize the beginning directions or the recipes.
- Authors: Jeff Phillips (Author)
- Publisher: Whitecap Books; 1st Edition (April 27, 2012)
- Pages: 224 pages
5. Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (Revised and Updated)
This book teaches the beginner chef the basics behind salting, smoking and curing their own meat. It provides a complete guide that encompasses choosing a good cut of meat, and detailed instructions to preparing it to perfection. It includes recipes for dry rubs in addition to how long to cure meat per weight. The temperatures are specific, and the process is thoroughly explained to make sure that you understand how to both cure and smoke meat properly.
Those that would like to know how to salt their meat to properly preserve it will also enjoy that section of this book. It provides instructions that beginners will be able to utilize as soon as they are done reading the text. It’s important to keep in mind that there is one additional book to this one that provides more detailed instructions while this one has more recipes. This book is also an excellent addition to anyone’s current collection that would like to take a butchering class and make their own meat at home.
- Authors: Michael Ruhlman (Author), Brian Polcyn (Author), Yevgenity Solovyev (Illustrator)
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Revised and Updated Edition (September 3, 2013)
- Pages: 474 pages
6. The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook
This book is the ultimate guide to preparing meat with an electric smoker. It is presented in three different sections. The first section discusses everything that beginners need to know. Learn about different types of electric smokers, the controls and how they work, and types of electric smoker necessities that you might want to stock up on.
The second section expands on using an electric smoker by providing different techniques that are commonly used. It covers techniques for cooking every meat and seafood that you can imagine, as well as tips on what not to do when cooking with an electric smoker.
Finally, this comprehensive guide provides over 100 recipes. Recipes include instructions for smoking meat, vegetables, creating marinades, sauces, rubs and much more. Every recipe provides detailed instructions, a picture and tips to make sure that it turns out like it is supposed to the first time you cook it.
- Authors: Bill West (Author)
- Publisher: Rockridge Press (September 26, 2017)
- Pages: 198 pages
7. Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design
Stanley Marianski provides a wealth of knowledge to the reader in one of his latest books. His belief is that it takes time and knowledge to produce quality food, and that is seen in his book. Instead of filling the book with recipes for rubs or smoked salmon, he fills his book with knowledge that the reader can apply to any recipe, such as how to build a smokehouse or methods behind cooking.
This is because he believes that it is necessary to understand the process behind smoking meat in order to excel at it, and he’s right. When you properly understand how smoked meat gets its taste and the process of cooking meat through this method, you will have the knowledge to create your own recipes like a master chef. It should be noted that this is not a quick reference guide that you can rely on to give you an amazing recipe. Instead, it is like taking a class.
- Authors: Robert Marianski (Author), Adam Marianski (Author), Stanley Marianski (Author)
- Publisher: Bookmagic LLC; 3rd ed. Edition (March 20, 2012)
- Pages: 338 pages
8. A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game
This complete reference book will teach you how to do everything except butcher the animal yourself. (If you’re interested, you can take classes that will teach you how to do that.) Once you have the meat, this guide will help you with anything that you need to both preserve it and prepare it. Start learning how to can or freeze meat properly. Then, learn more about curing meat and smoking meat. The step by step instructions are easy to follow for beginners, and the class like instruction will be a breath of fresh air for readers that do not want to read someone else’s narrative.
Although not included in the title, this book also teaches a person how to make their own jerky. This skill is a must have for anyone that loves to hunt as well as eat some jerky. There are detailed instructions, including ingredients, etc. to help readers make sure that the jerky turns out perfect, even for beginners.
- Authors: Wilbur F. Eastman (Author)
- Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Revised and Updated ed. Edition (August 15, 2002)
- Pages: 192 pages
9. Myron Mixon’s BBQ Rules: The Old-School Guide to Smoking Meat
Newer, electric smokers cannot compare to old school styles of smoking meat. Cooking meat old school style involves a pit, coals and even making your own coals. Myron Mixon, one of the most well-known names in the BBQ circle, comprised a complete guide that will teach readers how this method of cooking works.
Then, after readers understand this style of cooking and feel confident enough to try it on their own, they can browse through fifty recipes to put their new skills to the test. These recipes range in difficulty, so that both novices and more experienced chefs can find something to meet their needs.
It’s important to note that this book is geared primarily towards a BBQ pit, or a backyard pit. The text will teach readers how to build one as well as cook with one. Other smokers are only briefly mentioned throughout the book, and most recipes are for a backyard BBQ pit.
- Authors: Myron Mixon (Author), Kelly Alexander (Author)
- Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Illustrated Edition (April 19, 2016)
- Pages: 240 pages
10. Stop Beating Your Meat – Smoke it Instead
The title of this book begins with telling you to quit beating your meat, and to smoke it instead. If you are one to enjoy crude humor, you will love this book. If you find it distasteful or offensive, this might not be the book for you. It has some awesome puns that are the definition of dirty.
In addition to those hilarious jokes, this cookbook does provide delicious recipes for those that are just getting started in the world of smoking meat. The recipes are easy to read, written in a friendly tone like the rest of the book and provide accurate measurements. Readers more advanced in their smoking techniques might find it a bit boring, but beginners can benefit greatly from learning these tips and tricks. Despite the humorous approach and casual tone, all the recipes in this book are legitimate recipes. It also includes pictures to help the beginner smoker know what their finished dish will look like.
- Authors: Grady Talbot (Author)
- Publisher: Dirty Girl Cookbooks (November 1, 2019)
- Pages: 62 pages
11. Masterbuilt Smoker Cookbook 2019-2020
This cookbook was written by Roger Joney, an author that has written a few other cookbooks that offer equally amazing recipes. The primary difference that fans need to note is that this cookbook does not offer nutritional advice as his other ones do. This has been a disappointment for some owners, so it is important to make sure that you are comfortable with that before purchasing the book.
Aside from that one difference, fans can expect the same high quality that they received with other cookbooks. The Masterbuilt Smoker Cookbook provides recipes and techniques for smoking a variety of meats, including lamb, chicken, game, seafood and more. Every recipe is explained in detail to make the plans easy to follow.
Beginners should note that this is a cookbook, not a guide to smoking. It does not provide complete directions on how to smoke, tools to be used, etc. Instead, it is intended for those that are simply searching for new recipes.
- Authors: Roger Joney (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (June 19, 2019)
- Pages: 129 pages
12. Smoking Meat 101
Smoking Meat 101 is designed to give beginners everything that they need to produce amazing meals with perfectly smoked meat. It covers the basics, such as which wood to use. It also includes advice for different types of smokers, and helps you learn more about how to season your meat.
This book is a guide that is designed to help you learn how to smoke meat from beginning to end. It introduces you to different techniques, and then gives you a few recipes so that you can try out those techniques. Then, it takes things further by helping you develop your skills through more complicated recipes. Each one helps you build on skills that you have already learned until you become a master.
The one area where this book seems to stand apart from others in the same category is in the Troubleshooting Tips section. It carefully reviews common problems beginners will run into and helps them avoid beginners’ mistakes.
- Authors: Bill West (Author)
- Publisher: Rockridge Press (July 9, 2019)
- Pages: 206 pages
13. Master the Wood Pellet Grill
This book provides plenty of recipes that can be used with both a pellet grill and a smoker. The recipes include pictures to give you an idea of what the finished product should look like and provide exact measurements to make sure that you get the recipe right the first time around. This is preferred over the usual trial and error method that seems to go hand in hand with most cookbooks.
Most recipes have master tips included with them so that chefs will have those extra little tips from a professional to guarantee that the recipe goes beyond basic. This is one of the aspects of the book that makes it ideal for beginners that are just learning how to use their pellet grill.
In addition to master tips for the recipes in the book, the author provides tips for those that are just learning how to use a pellet grill. He is an experienced man that knows the ins and outs of using a pellet grill and doesn’t hesitate to share his knowledge.
- Authors: Andrew Koster (Author)
- Publisher: Rockridge Press; Illustrated Edition (November 26, 2019)
- Pages: 192 pages
14. The Everything Guide to Smoking Food
This guide is a great place for beginners to start. It goes more in depth on different things that those just getting started smoking their own meat need to know. For example, instead of instructing readers to use a different type of wood, this author explains the benefits of various types of wood so that readers will be able to determine this on their own when cooking future recipes. This approach helps to educate the reader so that they can slowly move from a novice to an expert level.
There are two things that you should keep in mind before purchasing this book. First, it does not cover a lot regarding smoking indoors. If that is your primary purpose for purchasing this book, it’s best to go with another book on the list. Second, this book is written for beginners. Because of this, those that are already experienced in using a smoker might get bored with the recipes or feel that it is under their current skill level.
- Authors: Larry Gaian (Author)
- Publisher: Everything; Illustrated Edition (May 18, 2014)
- Pages: 272 pages
15. Smoking Meat
A book that is designed to teach you everything you will need to know about smoking meat. Readers can review tools to use and how to control the temperature via the fire. They can also learn about different tools used for smoking meat and different types of smokers. This book is so detailed that it even advises on different types of wood that can be used for different types of meat. It goes from the basics, such as which tools to used, to the finished product as the text details each step of smoking meat that you need to know.
In addition to that, there are recipes in the back. After learning how to smoke meat, readers can put their skills to the test with recipes for smoked salmon, smoking other types of meat and more. There are recipes for rubs, and an unforgettable Texas brisket that most people enjoy.
- Authors: Will Fleischman (Author)
- Publisher: DK; Illustrated Edition (May 10, 2016)
- Pages: 208 pages
16. The Unofficial Masterbuilt Smoker Cookbook
This book, authored by Roger Murphy, was designed for owners of the Masterbuilt Smoker, but the recipes will work well with every electric smoker. Readers can learn more about how electric smokers work, cooking tips and common mistakes that beginners make so that they can avoid them. Readers that own a Masterbuilt Smoker will enjoy those beginning tips and tricks more than anyone. They are recommended for that type of smoker. Owners of other brands of smokers will have to make sure that the tips apply to what they have at home.
There are also plenty of recipes available for readers to enjoy. These include the basic recipes of smoking meat but are expanded to include quite a few others as well. Beginners can learn about how to make macaroni and cheese or baked potatoes with a smoker too. Each recipe includes a picture that readers can use for reference when they are cooking.
- Authors: Roger Murphy (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (February 22, 2019)
- Pages: 130 pages
17. Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook
This book was written by Paul Rodgers with novices in mind, but experts will also appreciate the recipes. Most of the tips in this book are for beginners that are just learning how to use their wood pellet smoker or grill. He covers types of wood to use, the basics of cooking with a wood pellet smoker or grill and more.
Rodgers also made sure that readers would know how to make sure that their smoked meat turns out perfect. He reviews how to purchase meat, such as making sure it is the proper cut, to preparing and seasoning the meat before cooking it. Properly prepared meat is a necessity for a good meal.
Then, Rodgers provides readers with a wealth of recipes for a variety of dishes. He includes recipes for smoking meat, such as ribs, poultry and seafood, as well as recipes for vegetables and other dishes, like smoked meatloaf.
- Authors: Paul Rodgers (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (October 22, 2019)
- Pages: 100 pages
18. Smoking Meat: Electric Smoker Cookbook
A quick glance through this cookbook and readers can tell that Jeff Phillips did not write this book to make money; he wrote it to help the reader have an all in one cookbook for their electric smoker. He includes tips, references what type of pellets to use, and how to troubleshoot common problems. Text briefly reviews tools to use, and there are some conversion charts to guarantee that chefs are using the correct measurements.
The recipe portion of this cookbook is as inclusive as the rest of it. Smoking various types of meat are included, from seafood to brisket to baby back ribs and more. In addition to learning how to smoke different types of meat, it gives beginners pointers to make sure that they produce a delicious dinner. The author is extremely thorough in his approach, providing readers with the road map that many beginners are looking for.
- Authors: Adam Jones (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (November 19, 2019)
- Pages: 142 pages
19. Smoking Meat: Ultimate Smoker Cookbook for Real Pitmasters, Irresistible Recipes for Unique BBQ
Although this book is advertised as a cookbook, it is also a guide to smoking. Beginners will appreciate the wealth of tips and tricks to help them avoid common mistakes. It also reviews several techniques that beginners need to know. Understanding the art of smoking meat is essential to preparing a spectacular dish every single time. This knowledge also helps beginners develop the ability to craft their own recipes in the future. It also serves as inspiration to those that want to cook something a little bit different but need some help getting there.
Both novices and those that are experienced in smoking will appreciate the recipes portion of this book. This section provides detailed instructions, a picture of every recipe and temperature charts. Recipes are included for a variety of meats and meals, such as porkchops, salmon, quail, vegetables and more. The variety of recipes will help readers find something to make their mouth water.
- Authors: Adam Jones (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (November 12, 2018)
- Pages: 142 pages
20. My Meat Smoking Journal
This book is a logbook that can help anyone that enjoys smoking craft the perfect recipes and techniques. Pages located inside have space for those that are smoking meat to record the weight, the type of wood that they used, the rub or sauce used, rate the recipe, and more. A blank space provided gives owners the opportunity to take their own personal notes, too.
This journal gives owners the opportunity to craft their own recipes to perfection. They can easily thumb through the pages to see what they have, or have not, tried. A quick glance can reveal recipes that were a disaster and should be avoided too. Once a person has recorded enough of their own recipes, they will be able to determine the perfect combination of tips and tricks to make every meal that they create a picture of perfection. It’s important to note that this book is a logbook to help owners record their own experiences and is not a cookbook.
- Authors: Black Stars Press (Author)
- Publisher: Independently published (April 24, 2019)
- Pages: 105 pages
Choosing the Best Smoking Meat Books
When you are ready to expand both your knowledge and skills to smoke meat or delicious side dishes to perfection, you need a book that will help you do that. These books are the 20 best books on smoking meat, and there is one for every skill level. Whether you’re a novice that just bought your first smoker and needs to know about techniques and tips or an experienced individual that needs some new recipes, there is one that will help you get where you would like to be. Different tones, tips and levels of difficulty provide a diverse selection for you to choose from.