Idiot’s Guide to Wine Pairing with Smoked Foods

Posted on: January 13, 2023

A smoked steak feels incomplete without a glass of wine by the side. The secret to celebrate this delectable combination lies in pairing it perfectly. Red with red and white with white do not work. So, here is a complete idiot’s guide to pair wine with smoked food so they both complement each other.

Why are wine and smoked food pairing important?

Smoked meat has rich flavors of either dry rub spices or wet brine. These intense flavors tend to suppress the wine, making it taste flat and boring. If acidic wine is paired with intensely flavored smoked food, then the war of both flavors can make the pairing pungent.

This is where the trick of wine and food pairing comes to play a role. The idea is that none of them should taste dominating or bland at the same time.

Smoked food and wine pairing guide

Just as we said, this is an idiot’s guide so we kept it simple and easy to understand and implement. Check out the guide below.

Riesling: These light wines are best paired with smoked pork, chicken, or fish.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc: These light flavored wines have a sour fruity taste which pairs best with smoked fish or poultry.

Malbec: This dark fruity flavored wine is perfect for making sangria drink. It tastes best with red meat.

Port & Pinot Noir: These dark red wines have a delicate fresh flavor that pairs well with smoked fish, lamb, chicken, and red meat.

Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris & Moscato: These medium-bodied sweet flavored wines taste great with poultry meats and seafood.

Blush Wines: These wines can be served in a variety of blends and go well with almost all lean meats.

Shiraz & Syrah: The bold flavor and strong aroma of these wines pair great with smoked beef and large steaks.

Merlot & Cabernet: These full-bodied wines have dark red hues and strong dry flavors. They complement smoked beef and pork.

Tips to smoke food like a pitmaster

Food smoking is an art that has to be perfected with some skill. However, we are going to share some pit master tricks to help you make the perfect smoked steak to pair with the most suitable wine.

1. Pro food smoker: Choosing the right food smoker is the first step to ace the art of smoking. A pro-food smoker like Bradley Smoker will be self-sufficient to do its job without any babysitting. A pro smoker is designed to ensure you get the most hassle-free and delectable smoking experience even if you are a beginner.

2. Brine the meat: Brining is the process of marinating the meat in a highly concentrated solution of water, salt, and spices. This helps the meat or fish to absorb all the flavors and moisture before smoking. It enhances the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

3. Use clean smoke: Foul smoke coming out of burnt wood chips and ashes can contaminate the food making it taste bitter. It is important to replace the fuel before it turns to ash. This is where Bradley Bisquettes can save you from that tedious job. Bradley Bisquettes are flavored wood chips that automatically extinguish before turning to ashes. They enhance the taste and smell of the food and come in 17 different flavors like whiskey, hickory, maple, cherry, apple, etc.

4. Use fresh raw meat: Smoking semi-cooked meat to save time sometimes can be a bad idea. Pitmasters prefer to smoke raw meat because it absorbs all the smoky flavor while it is cooked to doneness. Use the best quality meat to get the best smoky flavor.

More Tips

5. Set target temperature: Different cuts of meat require different smoking temperatures. It is where a dedicated food smoker is required that allows to set the exact temperature to cook. Bradley Smoker is a winner here. It has a digital interface with preset temperature controls that allows to set and change any temperature range whenever required.

6. Switch heating elements: Some foods require variable heating elements for smoking. For instance, a beefsteak might need hot smoking to start with and cold smoking to finish it with perfection. Bradley Smoker comes with multiple heating elements to give you the best food smoking experience. It can function as a cold smoker, hot smoker, oven, and dehydrator.

7. Allow ventilation: Smoke coming out of the food can overburden the smoking chamber reducing the flavor of the food. It is important to allow some ventilation for the excess smoke to escape the chamber without affecting the cooking temperature. Bradley Smoker has a top ventilation system that maintains a consistent cooking temperature while releasing the excess smoke.

8. Balance the moisture level: Smoking removes moisture from the food making it dry. It is important to steam the meat while it is smoked to preserve the tenderness. Bradley Smoker comes with a separate water pan that automatically steams the food while it is smoked.


Smoking can be a great or not so great experience for beginners depending on the techniques that are followed. We hope these simple Bradley tips & tricks on wine and food pairing along with food smoking can help you to ace the game as a beginner.

For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.