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Smoked Neck Bones Recipe: Flavorful and Easy Cooking Tips

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Scrumptious homemade Smoked Neck Bones

If you’re looking to add a delicious twist to your barbecue, smoked neck bones are a must-try. Smoked neck bones are simple to prepare and packed with incredible flavor.

You’ll need some basic ingredients like neck bones, salt, sugar, and your favorite wood for smoking. The process starts with a brine to enhance flavor and keep the meat moist during smoking. Once brined, you can smoke the neck bones to perfection, resulting in tender, juicy, and smoky goodness.

This recipe will guide you through each step, from preparation to smoking, ensuring you achieve the best results. Get ready to elevate your next meal with these smoky delights!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Here are the exact ingredients you’ll need to smoke neck bones:


  • 2 – 3 pounds raw neck bones

    • Substitute: If you can’t find pork neck bones, beef or lamb neck bones work well too.
  • 4 cups water

    • Substitute: For more flavor, use vegetable or chicken broth.
  • 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

    • Substitute: Any kosher salt or sea salt. Reduce the amount slightly if using table salt.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

    • Substitute: Brown sugar or honey can be used for a deeper flavor.

  • 4 cups ice

Wood for Smoking

  • Wood Chips or Chunks
    • Popular choices: Hickory, applewood, or cherry wood.

Seasoning Variations

  • Additional Spices (Optional but recommended):
    • Garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and paprika can add extra flavor.

By using these ingredients and following the brining and smoking steps, you’ll achieve delicious, smoky neck bones!


  1. Prepare the Brine: In a large bowl, mix 4 cups of water, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add 4 cups of ice to cool the brine.

  2. Brine the Neck Bones: Place 2-3 pounds of raw neck bones in the brine. Ensure the meat is fully submerged. Let it sit in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.

  3. Preheat Your Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C).

  4. Season and Brown: Remove neck bones from the brine and pat them dry. Season with your favorite spices. Brown the neck bones in a skillet on the stovetop.

  5. Arrange in Baking Dish: Place the browned neck bones in a baking dish. You can add sliced onions, celery, and carrots at the bottom for extra flavor.

  6. Add Liquid: Pour water or broth into the dish until it partially covers the neck bones.

  7. Cover and Cook: Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 2-3 hours.

  8. Check for Tenderness: The neck bones should be tender and easy to pull apart with a fork.

  9. Rest Before Serving: Let the neck bones rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your smoked neck bones!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

To get the most out of your smoked neck bones recipe, here are some useful tips and tricks.

Tips & Tricks

  • Pre-Boil: If the smoky flavor is too strong, try a quick boil. Rinse the neck bones, boil for 10-15 minutes, then drain. This helps tone down the smokiness.
  • Add Aromatics: Use onions, garlic, and herbs to boost flavor. Add them to the water when boiling or to the pot if cooking on the stove.
  • Wood Choice: The type of wood used in smoking affects the flavor. Hickory gives a strong, bold taste while applewood offers a lighter, sweeter flavor.


  • Refrigerate: Place leftovers in an airtight container. They will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, place neck bones in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: When ready to eat, reheat in a pot with a bit of water on low heat. This helps keep them moist and flavorful.

Handy Tips

  • Avoid Overcooking: Keep an eye on cooking times to ensure the meat stays tender and doesn’t dry out.
  • Use Broth: Instead of water, use broth for boiling. This adds extra depth to the flavor.
  • Check Seasoning: Taste and adjust seasoning throughout the cooking process for the best results.

Use these tips and tricks to make sure your smoked neck bones come out perfect every time!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can enjoy smoked neck bones in many different ways. Let’s explore a few variations and serving ideas to get the most out of this delicious dish.

With Rice or Pasta
Serve the tender smoked neck bones over rice or pasta. The rich, smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the starchiness, making it a comforting and filling meal.

In Soups and Stews
Add smoked neck bones to your favorite soups and stews. Their smoky flavor adds depth, making your dish hearty and flavorful. Try them in bean soups or vegetable stews for a tasty twist.

Smoked Neck Bones & Greens
Pair smoked neck bones with collard greens, mustard greens, or turnip greens. The flavors complement each other well, creating a savory and satisfying meal.

With Potatoes
Combine smoked neck bones with mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, or even a potato salad. The smoky meat enhances the creamy and starchy potatoes, offering a balanced and delicious dish.

Spicy Version
If you like a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes or diced jalapeños to the dish. It will give a nice kick to the smoky flavor of the neck bones.

Serving Tips

  • Sprinkle some fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro on top just before serving for a burst of freshness.
  • Serve with a side of cornbread for a classic, comforting pairing.
  • Add a dash of hot sauce or BBQ sauce to the neck bones if you prefer a tangy or spicy flavor.

Trying different variations and serving suggestions can make your smoked neck bones even more enjoyable.