Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: April 23, 2022

Smoking meat can get expensive if you keep buying the meats marketed as the best smoking meats, like tri-tip or top round, as these meat cuts are always some of the most expensive cuts.

But our smoking experts are here to help! They have put together a list of cheaper meat cuts perfect for smoking, so let's go through them.

Quick Summary

  • Cheaper cuts of meat are great for smoking as they always come out tender and juicy.
  • Some cheap cuts of meat that are great for smoking include a whole spatchcock chicken, spare ribs, pork butt, chuck roast, baby back ribs, brisket, a skirt steak, and many more!

The 9 Cheapest Cuts Of Meat To Smoke

Different meat cuts on table

Smoking certain cuts of meat can start to get pretty expensive, especially if you are new to smoking and want to smoke every weekend. Thankfully, there are many cuts of meat that will not break the bank to buy whenever you want to do some smoking.

Let's go through these cheaper alternative meat cuts that are still perfect for smoking as they result in a delicious and juicy piece of meat.

1. A Whole Spatchcock Chicken

Whole chickens are great to smoke as chicken is one of the cheapest meats you can buy, and it has a wonderful flavor profile when it's smoked.

When you smoke your chicken, you should still keep the temperature over 300°F as lower temperatures can lead to the chicken's skin having a rubbery texture when smoked.

You will only need to smoke your whole spatchcock chicken for between 1 and 1.5 hours, so this is a great meat to smoke when you need to make a meal in a shorter amount of time.

2. Spare Ribs

Raw spare ribs on stone surface

Pork spare ribs are another cheaper cut of meat to buy for smoking. Spare ribs are cut from the breastbone, behind the shoulder, and from the belly of the pig.

The spare ribs of the pig are generally between 11 and 13 ribs joined together by some cartilage and flavorful meat that melts in your mouth when it's smoked.

If you do not want the cartilage, you can ask your butcher to cut the ribs for you, making them easier to handle for someone new to smoking.

3. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is a fibrous and thin piece of meat that separates the cow's chest from the abdomen, which is in the plate location on the cow. This steak is the cow's diaphragm muscle attached to the cow's 6th rib through to the 12th rib on the underside of the cow's short plate.

Skirt steak is a lovely piece of meat to smoke as it is tougher meat, but it has a fantastic flavor profile. You can usually find this steak at a pretty low price at your local butcher.

4. Hanger Steak

Raw hanger steak with knife and ingredients beside

Hanger steak, also widely known as hanging tenderloin or butcher's steak, is a cut of meat that is highly prized for its flavor.

This steak was often kept by the butchers for themselves rather than sold to customers, which is where this cut of meat gets one of its names: Butchers steak.

The hanger steak is also taken from the plate location of the cow, but its placement is a lot deeper in the cow's loin, and the rib cage encircles it.

Hanger steak gets this common name as it "hangs" between the ribs and the tenderloin of the cow.

5. Pork Butt

Pork butt is a portion of meat that is usually easy to find and is cheap to buy. Pork butt is perfect for smoking as it has a good amount of fat, making the meat juicy and delicious. The pork butt is cut from just above the pork shoulder and generally includes part of the leg bone of the pig.

The pork butt and pork shoulder are often confused as they are so close together, but they are different cuts of meat. So, ensure you buy the pork butt as it is usually cheaper than the shoulder.

6. A Whole Spatchcock Turkey

Raw spatchcock turkey on wooden surface

Turkey is an excellent choice of meat to smoke; just like the chicken, turkey is one of the most inexpensive meats you can buy, and it tastes great when smoked.

When you smoke a turkey, you do not need to smoke it for long as it will cook fast, and it absorbs the delicious smoky flavor better in this shorter cooking time.

The smoking time will depend on the size of your turkey, but it's generally between 3 and 4 hours.

7. Chuck Roast

Chuck roasts are packed with flavor that is enhanced through the smoking process. This cut of meat is taken from the cow's shoulder, which means this cut is a tough piece of meat as this muscle is a heavily used muscle throughout the cow's life.

This makes the chuck roast perfect for smoking as it comes out tender and juicy, packed with many flavors that will have you coming back for seconds, and thirds, as you will not get enough of this cut when it comes out smoked.

8. Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is a long-time favorite cut of meat for smokers as it is cheap, easy to come by, and tastes great when smoked. The beef brisket is cut from the cow's lower chest or breast area and generally includes both the cow’s deep and superficial pectoral muscles.

Even though beef brisket is a cheaper cut of meat that is great for smoking and tastes delicious, it is difficult to smoke correctly. So, the beef brisket is not a cut of meat recommended for beginners.

9. Baby Back Ribs

Baby back ribs on wooden surface

Baby back ribs are common and popular cuts of meat that can be smoked easily, and these ribs will not put a huge dent in your wallet.

Baby back ribs are usually smaller but meatier than the spare ribs mentioned earlier on this list.

Baby back ribs are a cut of meat taken from the top of the pig's rib cage, right between the spare ribs and the pig's spine.

These ribs generally cook faster as they are a leaner cut of meat, but they are incredibly juicy and so tender that they easily fall off the bone when you smoke them.


Several meat cuts are perfect for smoking as they are packed full of flavor, and they come out of the smoker juicy and tender.

These cuts of meat on this list will ensure that you have a great-tasting piece of meat to smoke without needing to dip deep into your pockets. Enjoy your smoking!

For an organic, fresh, and grass-fed kind of meat, I get them ButcherBox. They are a meat delivery service company from Boston and offer only high-quality meat.

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