Cooking Guide

5 Best Pork For Smoking: What Is The Best Pork Cut For Smoking?

Pork is a great choice for smoking because it takes on the flavor so well.

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However, there are plenty of pork cuts that make it hard to choose the best one for smoking.

 Some people prefer loin or butt, while others go with ham.

Let’s accompany us and figure out what cuts of pork go well in a smoking recipe.

How to choose pork for smoking?

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Pork is one of the most popular meat products in different cuisines in the world.

It is delicious, nutritious, and very versatile that can be cooked in a variety of ways.

If you are getting bored of the same old methods like roasting or braising, then smoking should be a way to try your favorite pork cut.

So what are the tips to choose pork for smoking?

Let’s check below:

1.   A tough cut with a lot of connective tissue is the way to go for smoking

Smoking means cooking the meat by the heat and the smoke for a long time.

Wood chips are often used in a smoking recipe so that the resulting meat has a typical smoky flavor.

Thanks to the long cooking time over low heat, a tough cut of pork can work perfectly in a smoking recipe.

Just choose a cut of pork that is taken from the muscle that the animal uses the most for their daily activities, and you will have a cut with a lot of connective tissues that will be broken down after being smoked for a long time.

2.   Consider the dish you are going to make from smoked pork to have the right cut

Another tip to choose the right cut of pork for smoking is that you should determine what dish you are going to make from smoked pork.

For example, if you are going to make a batch of pulled pork for tacos or sandwiches, it is best to use a shoulder cut or ham cut.

Meanwhile, if you are making bacon, pork belly is the way to go.

3.   Buy fresh pork instead of frozen pork

One more thing to keep in mind when shopping for pork for smoking is that fresh meat is the best.

You should look for a fresh cut of pork from a local butcher shop or the meat section of some big supermarkets rather than purchasing a frozen package.

Smoking frozen meat can result in unevenly cooked meat or a bland taste and it is nowhere as good as smoked pork made from fresh meat.

Best pork for smoking

Now, let’s check out the best pork cuts that are most suitable for smoking:

1.   Pork shoulder

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Pork shoulder is a tough cut that is taken from the shoulder of the pig.

It is a versatile cut that works well in any slow-cooking method to make pulled pork or served as roasted or stewed meat.

Pork shoulder can be smoked too to add a smoky flavor to the meat.

The resulting dish can be served with barbecue sauce or ketchup.

Another good thing about this cut is that it is very affordable.

2.   Pork loin

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Pork loin is another good choice for smoking.

This is one of the leanest cuts of pork, so when smoking, you should keep your eyes on your pork cut to prevent it from drying out.

You can wrap the pork loin in foil so that it can help keep the moisture inside the meat and avoid drying it.

However, don’t wrap it throughout the cooking process.

Your pork loin needs some time to get a smoky flavor by contacting directly with the heat and the smoke.

3.   Pork belly

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The fatty cut from the belly of the pig, pork belly is another option for smoking in case you want a juicier texture and a more flavorful taste of bacon.

A smoked pork belly can be used to make bacon, which is a staple in many kitchens.

So just forget about buying processed bacon from grocery stores or supermarkets, make your own from a fresh cut of pork belly in a smoker.

4.   Pork ribs

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You can also use pork ribs for smoking.

Pork ribs are one of the most expensive cuts of pork.

Although they don’t have a lot of meat, the bones give this cut an extra flavor that cannot be found in other pork cuts.

The meat from pork ribs is relatively tough, so after a long time of smoking, it will become fork-tender while still very juicy.

5.   Pork ham

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Pork ham is a leg cut of pork, which is quite lean and tough.

The whole ham cut is typically used for smoking and served in thin slices.

You can easily find a pre-smoked cut of ham in the deli meat section from most grocery stores or supermarkets.

Now, you can make your own ham at home if you have a fresh cut of pork ham on hand and a smoker.

The bottom line

In conclusion, a hard cut of pork either lean or fatty can work well in a smoking recipe.

The low and slow cooking method helps tenderize the meat and gives it a nice char with a smoky flavor.

It really depends on your personal preference and the type of smoker that you’ll be using to choose a more suitable cut of pork.

Try our suggestions and you can see what works best for you.

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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