11 Best Smoker Cookbook Titles to Up Your Game

August 2, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The best cookbook goes to Project Smoke: Seven Steps to Smoked Food Nirvana. This book is more than just great recipes – it contains tips on how to smoke your food and take your smoking technique to the next level.

A lot of my friends have been buying smokers recently and since I have been smoking food my whole life, many have been asking me for cookbook recommendations. This gave me the idea to check out the most popular books and see which ones made the grade!

In this post, I will go into detail about the best smoker cookbook and why I chose it. However since each person has their own requirements, I will also list out my other top picks for various categories!

best smoker cookbook

The Best Smoker Cookbooks

Here are the top smoker cookbooks that you should be stocking your shelves with:

1. Project Smoke: Seven Steps to Smoked Food Nirvana

Best Overall


  • Author: Steven Raichlen
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2016

Great Smoking Techniques

What a lot of people don’t realize is that when it comes to smoking meats or other foods, it is just as much about using the right smoker, the right wood, the right temperature, etc. as it is about having a proper recipe.

This is what makes this one of the best smoker cookbooks for me. Steven Raichlen goes into great detail about how to prep your smoker and what kind of wood chips and fuel to use. In turn, this ensures that the recipe will turn out just the way that you want it to.

Basics About Adding Flavor

Another thing that I really like about Project Smoke is that it talks about adding flavor in the early prep stages – while you are still dealing with raw meat. By including information like this, Raichlen makes it a lot easier for your smoked meat to turn out the same as pitmasters.

Innovative Recipes

Then there are the actual recipes. I like how Raichlen has formatted them – they are detailed recipes that are easy to read and follow. So, even if you are new to smoking meat, you should be able to figure it out quickly.

The only downside is that I do have to say that Project Smoke contains some of the most innovative recipes around. If you are someone who likes to get inventive with your recipes and play around with flavors, you will like it. Otherwise, you may find that these are too fancy.


  • Great information on essential techniques
  • An excellent guide to flavoring food
  • Innovative recipes


  • Many fanciful recipes

2. Smoking Meat 101: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide

Best for Beginners


  • Author: Bill West
  • Print Length: 206 pages
  • Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Works as an Essential Guide

True to its name, this is a smoking cookbook that is designed for people who are new to smoking. In fact, if you don’t own a smoker and want to figure out which one is right for you, then this is the smoke and grill cookbook for you.

Apart from this, the author breaks down everything you need to smoke meat the right way. This includes smoking temperatures, internal temperatures, and more. All the relevant information is right here in this book.

Great, Fundamental Recipes

If you want to make the most fundamental smoking recipes – ribs, turkey, etc., then you will be able to find them in this cookbook. Hence it is one of the best smoker cookbooks on the market. It also divides recipes into categories such as hot smoking and cold smoking.

Hands Holding A Open Cook Book

I also like that Bill West has included recipes for sauces and rubs. Personally, I hate store-bought sauces so it is nice that the author is giving people a chance to make their own.

There are a few recipes that are a bit fancier than the rest if you want to try something a bit different.

Easy to Follow Recipes

If you are tired of long winding recipes, then you will love that this cookbook is short and to the point. This makes it easier for you to quickly read through it and know exactly what to do.

The only thing that I want to deduct marks from this cookbook is that there are very few pictures. Typically, beginner smoker cookbooks have plenty of pictures. Not only does this help people to know what to do, but it also gives them an idea of what the final result should look like.


  • Great guide for cooking style and techniques
  • Fundamental recipes
  • Easy to follow recipes


  • Too few pictures

3. Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

Best for Experts


  • Author: Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Tips From the Master

If you want to be the best, then you have to learn from the best. Well, this is exactly the opportunity that the Meat Smoking Manifesto – written by Aaron Franklin – offers to you!

This smoker cookbook is all that Franklin has learned through trial and error. If you are looking to be a pitmaster, then this is the smoker cookbook for you. You will learn the intricate secrets to smoking meat and producing delicious food each and every time.

Detailed Recipes

Franklin is all about the details and this shows in the Meat Smoking Manifesto smoking cookbook. While he doesn’t include too many recipes in this smoker cookbook, he is all about the basics and getting these dishes right.

If you are a BBQ lover looking for classic smoker styles and great barbecues, this is the smoker cookbook for you.

Great for Intuitive Cooks

Unlike with other smoker cookbooks, Franklin isn’t just about telling you what steps you should follow. Instead, he is also about encouraging you to be more intuitive with your smoking techniques and BBQ recipes.

Of course, this can be a bit difficult for some people to get and may not always be a plus point.


  • Expert advice
  • Intricate details
  • Helps with intuitive smoking and cooking techniques


  • Not written like a traditional cookbook

4. Recipes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue

Best for Simple Recipes


  • Author: Myron Mixon and Kelly Alexander
  • Print Length: 195 pages
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Recipes With Simple Ingredients

These days, smoker cookbooks appear to be getting fancier and fancier. And, this includes the ingredients for the recipes as well. There is no such problem with the Smokin’ with Myron Mixon smoker cookbook, though.

All of the ingredients mentioned in the book can be found in your pantry or at your local grocery store. Not only does this make smoking meat a lot easier for you, but it also keeps the cost down.

Simple Recipes

I have read enough of smoker cookbooks to know that some authors try to be too fanciful and their readers are lost in the weeds. With this smoker cookbook, however, all of the recipes are simple and straightforward. Makes it great for beginner and intermediate cooks. Simple doesn’t mean boring – there are plenty of creative recipes as well.

woman cooking a dish on the gas stove

My only issue is that the recipes are meant for large crowds. And, due to the sheer size of the meals, they are difficult to size down.

A Good Read

If you like a story along with your recipes, then this book offers a backstory on Mixon and his upbringing as well as how he learned about smoking meat.


  • Recipes with simple ingredients
  • Simple recipes
  • A good story


  • Recipes are meant for large crowds

5. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

Best for Technical Smoking Recipes


  • Author: Meathead Goldwyn and Greg Blonder
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2016

A Scientific Approach to Smoked Meat

One of the reasons that I consider The Science of Great Barbecue one of the best smoker cookbooks is that I have read Meathead Goldwyn and Greg Blonder’s articles to improve my own recipes.

This guy runs experiments and takes a scientific approach to smoke. Therefore, there are a lot of intricate details for you to read and understand. These are all aimed at making you a better pitmaster, though.

That being said, this is an unusual barbecue cookbook that rejects a lot of conventional advice and it may be difficult for some to get through.

Covers a Wide Variety of Topics

The other thing that I like about this smoker cookbook is that it covers everything from whether or not you should soak wood chips to the barbecue stall. In short, you will get a scientific view of all things smoking meat.

Great Recipes Included

This smoker cookbook also makes an effort to include top recipes that turn out really well. In addition to this, you get to learn how to make delicious rubs, sauces, marinades, and more!


  • Scientific techniques
  • A wide array of topics
  • Delicious recipes


  • Not suitable for those looking for a traditional smoker cookbook

6. Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom

Best for Regional Barbecue Styles


  • Author: Andy Husbands, Chris Hart, Mike Mills, Amy Mills
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2017

Great for Regional Recipes

As you are well aware, barbecue can be quite different from one state to the next. However, they each have their own flavor profiles and charms. This smoker cookbook shows you how to perfect each kind of barbecue in the South. It also discusses newer techniques being used up North.

Recipes and Advice From the Masters

The highlight of this smoker cookbook is that each chapter is written by a pitmaster. As such, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge to learn here. What’s more, the recipes are tried and true and you can pull off some pretty impressive smoked meats as a result.

man wearing a black apron makes chow mein at a cookout

The only issue is that there is a great deal of storytelling between the recipes. If this style of writing appeals to you, then that’s great. However, if you are looking for straightforward recipes, then you may be a little frustrated.

Suitable for Beginners and Experts

This smoker cookbook can be used by everyone. There are simpler recipes and then the options get progressively tougher. This means that you are never going to get bored and that there will always be a challenge ahead of you.


  • Great regional recipes
  • Advice from experts
  • Suitable for all kinds of cooks


  • A lot of storytelling

7. The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook

Best Wood Pellet Smoker Cookbook


  • Author: Peter Jautaikis
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Publication Date: May 17, 2016

Comprehensive Guide to Wood Pellet Smoking

If you have a wood pellet smoker and are a bit confused about how to proceed, then this is the smoking cookbook for you. This smoker cookbook is incredibly detailed and offers up step by step instructions on how to work your smoker.

In addition to this, you get details on temperature, time, and more for each kind of meat.

Family Friendly Recipes

One of the things that I really liked about this cookbook is that it provides a lot of family friendly recipes. So, if you are simply cooking for a few loved ones and not trying to be a pitmaster, this smoker cookbook is sure to get you there.

That being said, I do wish there are a few more recipes included in the lineup.

Simple Recipes

The recipes are very well written and easy to follow. To add to this, they are accompanied by plenty of pictures giving you an idea of what you need to be doing.


  • Great pellet smoker guide
  • Family friendly recipes
  • Simple recipes


  • Could use more recipes

8. The Complete Electric Smoker Cookbook: Over 100 Tasty Recipes

Best for Electric Smokers


  • Author: Bill West
  • Print Length: 198 pages
  • Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Great for Beginners

The great thing about this smoking cookbook is that it has all the information that you need. This includes choosing the right electric smoker for you. So, if you really know nothing about smoking, especially using this kind of smoker, then this is definitely the book for you.

Good Information for Using Electric Smokers

Smoking with an electric smoker is a lot trickier than people realize, especially if you want to get that lovely smoke flavor. This book shows you precisely how to get this and a whole lot more!

Wide Range of Recipes

As far as recipe books go, this is pretty comprehensive. You will find details for meat, fish, veggies, and various other foods.

The only negative is that some of the cooking times were off – the meats took longer to cook than was mentioned in the book.


  • Good for beginners
  • Detailed instructions
  • Wide range of recipes


  • Cooking time can be a bit off

9. The Traeger Grill Bible

Best for Traeger Smokers


  • Author: Phil Johnson
  • Print Length: 107 pages
  • Publication Date: April 7, 2022

Great User Tips

If you are new to using your Traeger smoker, then this is the cookbook to introduce you to your machine. You will learn everything there is to know about your smoker and how to use it for optimal results. This way, there is no trial and error and you don’t have to worry about ruining your food.

Open cookbook on a kitchen counter

Fundamental Smoker Recipes

This is a good recipe book if you want to master the basics. You will be able to find fundamental recipes for beef, chicken, pork, etc.

However, if you want to broaden your horizons a little or take your smoking capabilities to the next level, then you will need a different cookbook.

Easy to Follow Recipes

This BBQ cookbook is largely targeted toward beginners. Due to this, the recipes are written in an organized and easy to read format. Due to this, you can get the gist of the recipe really quickly.


  • Great tips for Traeger users
  • Fundamental recipes
  • Easy to follow format


  • Basic recipes

10. Pit Boss Pellet Grill and Smoker Cookbook

Best for Pit Boss Smokers


  • Author: Alec Poole
  • Print Length: 414 pages
  • Publication Date: October 27, 2022

Ideal for Beginners

If you are someone who doesn’t know how to use their Pit Boss or how to smoke, then this is the guide for you. It contains detailed instructions on how to use your smoker as well as how to grill various meats and vegetables to perfection.

The only thing that I don’t like about this cookbook is that the copy that I received was very poor quality. The pictures were in black and white and the editing was done poorly. Given the cost, this is not great for consumers.

Techniques Suited to Pitboss

I like that the techniques mentioned in the cookbook are specific to your smoker. This works out really well for beginners who can get a little confused. Since all the instructions are tailored to your smoker, it makes it a lot easier to follow along.

Great Recipes and Format

As this cookbook does cater to beginners, I like that they have some fundamental recipes as well as a few recipes that are new and innovative. As a result, you get a good balance and you can try more different recipes as you get better.


  • Suitable for beginners
  • Contains techniques specific to Pit Boss
  • Great recipes


  • Poor formatting of the book

11. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Cookbook

Best for Masterbuilt Smokers


  • Author: Alan Derulo
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Publication Date: September 4, 2019

Great Recipes

There are a lot of great recipes in this book and they show you how to make the most of your Masterbuilt smoker. So, if you were previously stuck for ideas, then this book will be all the inspiration that you need.

Just remember that the recipes aren’t as detailed in other recipe books. As a result, you do have to have some experience with smoking to really make the dishes work.

Simple Format

I do like the format of the book – it is to the point. If you don’t want to hear any long winded explanations, this book gets straight to the point. The same goes for the recipes, they are also written in a straightforward manner.


I really like the fact that this book is so affordable. Sure, it doesn’t have any bells or whistles. However, if you have already invested in a Masterbuilt smoker, the last thing that you want to do is spend even more money on a recipe book. This cookbook ensures you don’t have to.


  • Great recipes
  • Simple format
  • Good value


  • Best suited for people with some experience

How to Choose the Best Smoker Cookbook?

Here are some guidelines to follow when trying to find the best cookbook for you:

Know Your Level

The first thing that you need to figure out is what your level is. Are you a complete beginner – meaning you don’t anything about smokers or smoking? Or, do you have some experience in this area and are simply trying to improve your skills?

It could also be that you are great at smoking and that you are simply looking for new recipes.

A Cook Book on a Stand

Once you know what your level is, it is easier to figure out what to look for in a cookbook. If you are a true beginner, then you need instructions on how to use your smoker as well as some basic recipes.

If you want to improve your skills, then you need to learn various tricks and techniques. And, if you are just looking for new recipes, then you need innovative cookbooks.

Consider the Author or Authors

Smoking is not like other types of cooking. It can take years to master techniques and flavors. As a result, not anyone can write a smoker cookbook. You need an actual pro who knows what they are talking about.

This is why I will largely recommend cookbooks that have been written by pitmasters. These people have spent so much time experimenting with time, temperature, spices, and more. So, you can trust that you are going to get good results – their reputation is usually on the line.

At the same time, consider the level of the author as well. Are they known for traditional backyard cookouts, do they operate at a competition level, or are they known for gourmet food?

This will give you some idea of whether they are a good match for your desired style of cooking.

Look for Smoking Techniques as Well as Recipes

Unless you are a very experienced pitmaster, I would suggest looking for a cookbook that contains techniques as well as recipes. At the end of the day, what your smoked food will taste like will depend on the techniques that you have incorporated

This is why you should get a book that will help you to improve your smoking capabilities as well. This way, you can try out your own creations in the long run.

Select the Right Format

Each cookbook contains a unique format. With some, it is all about the details or the technical aspect of smoking. If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty, then these are the kind of books that you want to look for.

However, if you want to be entertained while you learn new recipes, then consider getting a cookbook where there is a little bit more story involved.

The Final Verdict

Project Smoke is the top cookbook for all your needs. It contains some really great recipes and this book also detail the techniques you should use to take these recipes to the next level. If you are looking for unusual recipes, this book have you covered!

Of course, I got to review so many great cookbooks so make sure to check each description out so that you can find the best option for you and your smoking needs!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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