I've been smoking meat for many years and researched the process. Some advice I have found to be invaluable but other information has been of little use or plain wrong. Here's we'll discuss meat and how to prepare it for smoking.
The process of smoking can be broken down into three stages and the first of these is the curing or brining which forms part of the drying process and it's also an opportunity for flavor enhancement. In the case of fish, the message is always the fresher the fish the better but this is not always the case when it comes to preparing meat for smoking.
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The issue with meat is that it has to age before the meat will absorb the salt. Beef must be hung for at least 10 days before it will absorb salt and preferably for longer.
This can be an issue if you don't know and trust your butcher and certainly, it's a big issue if you're planning to buy your meat in a supermarket. There is absolutely no guarantee about the length of time that supermarket meat has been hung other than not enough.
I know you're going to argue that meat is cheaper in the supermarket but there is a reason for that. Hanging meat is in effect a drying process so the longer meat is hung the drier it becomes and therefore the greater the weight loss.
The hanging time is a cost to any butcher, space to do it, inventory, etc. so it's logical that a butcher is going to charge more and it's logical that a supermarket can charge less but frankly there's no argument when it comes to quality and flavor.