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smoker cooking times and temps

BBQ Smoking Cooking Times and Temperatures Chart

  • Last Updated March 14, 2019

  • / BBQ Tips
  • / By Nathan
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​You will find on this page charts I have created for the best smoking meats along with the smoking times and temperatures needed to cook the meat.

These should be used as a way to determine when the meat is done cooking by the temperature the meat reads on the gauge. Always use a good meat probe thermometer to monitor the temperature while the meat is cooking on your smoker grills or an Offset Smoker.

You can smoke a variety of foods including meat, fish, and vegetables. Smoking gives your food a flavor that you cannot get from any other method of cooking. Rather than using the heat from a burner, food is cooked from burning wood and the smoke that the burning wood creates. If you want your food to have a rich, smoky flavor, smoking is the way to go. There are two types of smoking. The first is hot smoking, and it is often done at temperatures between 100 and 200 degrees. Cold smoking is done at temperatures less than 100 degrees.

Essentials For Smoking

If you are new to smoking, you need to be sure that you have the right tools and equipment. 

Smoker: To smoke your food, you are going to need a smoker. This could be a hole in the ground, a drum smoker, a gas smoker, or an electric smoker. You can even smoke your food in your gas or charcoal grill as long as you know what you are doing.

Meat Thermometer: When smoking meat, you need to keep the right temperature. You don't want the meat to be undercooked or overcooked when you serve; therefore, you should have a meat thermometer on hand.

Wood Chips: Wood chips are essential for smoking. They come in a variety of flavors such as hickory, maple, apple, cherry, oak, peach, pear, and mesquite. The wood chip that you chose should be based on the type of food that you are smoking and your own personal taste.

​Below is a list I have put together of the temps and times for smoking each type of meat, these should be used as a estimate so you can plan your day of cooking. 

Always check the temperature to test when the meat is fully cooked! The time is just a best guess and not a indication of doneness.

​Beef Smoking Temps & Times

​Brisket

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​12-20 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​190-200°F

​Spare ribs

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​5-6 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​190 to 203°F

​Short Ribs

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​6-8 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​195 to 200°F

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​4-5 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​135° F for Medium

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​2-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​130° F to 140° F

​Chuck roast

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​12-20 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​190-200°F

​Tenderloin

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​2 1/2 to 3 hr

Finished Meat Temperature:

​130°-140° F

​Back ribs

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​3-4 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​185-190°F

​Rump roast

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​30 mins/lb

Finished Meat Temperature:

​145° F for Well Done

​Sausage

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​30mins - 1hr

Finished Meat Temperature:

​160° F

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​25 mins/lb

Finished Meat Temperature:

135° F for Medium

Tips For Smoking Your Favorite Cuts Of Beef

The way that you smoke your beef depends on the cut. Before settling on the length of the cook, the temperature, and the wood that you choose, you should consider what you are going to be smoking. Below is a guide for smoking the most commonly smoked cuts of beef. 

Beef Brisket: Brisket is one of the most popular and classic barbecue meats. If you are new to smoking, you might not want to start with simpler meat. If you have your heart set on smoking a beef brisket, as long as you follow the instructions to the letter, your meat will be delicious. Typically, it takes 12 to 20 hours to properly smoke a brisket. You should keep your smoker set between 225 and 250 degrees. While smoking, you should only open the door when you need to add more wood. When the meat reaches 195 degrees, it is ready. If you still aren't sure, stick a knife into the meat. If it twists easily, it is done.

Beef Baby Back Ribs: If you are smoking beef baby back ribs, you should cut the ribs apart before smoking. If your ribs were frozen, you should make sure that they have thawed out completely. Typically, it will take between 4 and 9 hours to cook the meat. While smoking. You want to keep your smoker set to 225 to 250 degrees. When the ribs are ready, the temperature of the meat should be between 180 and 190 degrees.

​Lamb Smoking Temps & Times

​Lamb shank

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​4-5 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​190° F

​Lamb rack

Smoker Temperature:

​200-225°F

Cook Time:

​1hr 15mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​135°-140° F

​Lamb shoulder

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​5-5 1/2 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170° F

​Lamb leg

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​4-8hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140°-150° F

Tips For Smoking Your Favorite Lamb Cuts

Lamb is not the most common meat for smoking; however, the flavor and texture are incredible if the lamb is smoked properly. Below are tips for the most common cuts of lamb. 

Lamb Leg: Before smoking your lamb leg, you should marinate it for 5 to 10 hours before smoking. To cook the perfect lamb leg, you need to be sure to maintain a steady temperature in the smoker of 225 and 250 degrees. You should cook your meat until the internal temperature has reached 140 to 150 degrees. If you cook your meat for too long, it will be dry and tough.

Lamb Shoulder: Before smoking your shoulder, you should trim the excess fat. Next, rub the shoulder with your favorite rub or paste. It will take about 5 to 5 ½ hours to smoke your shoulder at a consistent temperature of 225 to 250 degrees. When the internal temperature of the meat has reached 170, you should remove it from the smoker. If you aren't sure if your meat is ready, you can stick a knife inside and twist. If it isn't quite ready, you should spray the meat with a combination of apple juice and water.

​Pork Smoking Times & Temps

​Pork sausage

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​1-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Whole Hog

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​16-18 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​205°F

​Loin

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​3-5 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​145°F

​Baby back ribs

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​5 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​180°F

​Pork butt

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​1.5 hr per lb

Finished Meat Temperature:

​205°F

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​6-7 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​180-185°F

​Belly Bacon

Smoker Temperature:

​​100°F or less

Cook Time:

​6-7 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140° F

​Tenderloin

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​2-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​160°F

Tips For Smoking Your Favorite Cuts of Pork

Pork is a commonly smoked meat. There are various cuts of pork, and each has its own method of cooking. 

Pork Baby Back Ribs: Smoking pork baby back ribs is a bit different than beef. After applying your rub, you should heat the smoker until it reaches 225 to 250 degrees. It will take about 5 hours for your ribs to cook thoroughly. Your ribs will be ready when they reach 180 degrees. If you cook them any further, they won't be juicy and tender.

Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt: Before you start smoking, the meat should be thawed, and you can apply the rub. Barbecue is the most commonly used rub when it comes to pork. Before you start smoking, you should trim off the excess fat. On average, your meat will need to cook for one hour per pound. For example, if you have a 6-pound cut of meat, it will take 6-hours to cook. While smoking, you should keep the temperature at 225 to 250 degrees. You should keep a meat thermometer in the meat during the cooking process. When the meat reaches 160 to 165 degrees, remove the meat from the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil. Allow the meat to continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 190 to 195 degrees.

Pork Sausage: Pork sausage is so full of flavor that you won't need any rub at all. Before putting your sausage in the smoker, you should preheat it for at least an hour. You should also poke holes in the sausage before smoking. This will allow the heat to escape and the sausage won't lose its shape. It takes between 1 and 3 hours to smoke sausage at 225 to 250 degrees. You won't need to turn the sausages while smoking. When they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, they are done.

​Poultry Smoking Temps & Times

​Whole duck

Smoker Temperature:

​225°-250°F

Cook Time:

​3-4 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Quail / Pheasant

Smoker Temperature:

​225-230°F

Cook Time:

​1 hr

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Turkey wings

Smoker Temperature:

​225-240°F

Cook Time:

​2-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170°F

​Turkey whole

Smoker Temperature:

​275°-350°F

Cook Time:

​4-5hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170°F

​Chicken thighs

Smoker Temperature:

​275°-350°F

Cook Time:

​1.5 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170° F

​Chicken whole

Smoker Temperature:

​275°-350° F

Cook Time:

​2-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170° F

​Cornish Hens

Smoker Temperature:

​240°F

Cook Time:

​2-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Turkey breast

Smoker Temperature:

​275°-350°F

Cook Time:

​3-4 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Turkey leg

Smoker Temperature:

​275°-350°F

Cook Time:

​2-3 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170°F

​Chicken wings

Smoker Temperature:

​275°-350°F

Cook Time:

​1.5 - 2 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​170°F

​Chicken quarters

Smoker Temperature:

​250-275°F

Cook Time:

​4 hrs

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Tips For Smoking Your Favorite Type of Poultry

If you like poultry, there are plenty of types to choose from. While quail and duck are delicious, they are not the most commonly smoked meats. Chicken and turkey are the most common types of poultry for smoking. If you want your meat to come out tender and juicy, you should know how to cook your chosen cut. 

Whole Chicken: Chicken is one of the easiest types of meat to smoke. If you are new to smoking, you should start with chicken. The rub that you use for your chicken is essential. Not only will it create a great flavor, but it will also give your meat a pop of color. Poultry needs to be cooked at a higher temperature than pork and beef; therefore, you should keep a consistent temperature of 275 to 350 degrees. You want your chicken to reach 170 degrees before taking it out of the smoker. To keep the smoker's temperature from dropping often, it is best to check the temperature only when adding more wood.

Chicken Thighs: Smoking low and slow is best for chicken thighs. This will give your chicken a crispy skin. It should only take your thighs 1 ½ to cook at between 275 and 350 degrees. When your chicken has reached 170 degrees, it is ready.

​Seafood Smoking Times & Temps

​Shrimp

Smoker Temperature:

​225°F

Cook Time:

​20 - 30 mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Whole trout

Smoker Temperature:

​2​25°F

Cook Time:

​1 hour

Finished Meat Temperature:

​145°F

​Salmon filet

Smoker Temperature:

​2​20°F

Cook Time:

​1 hour

Finished Meat Temperature:

​145°F

​Oysters

Smoker Temperature:

​225°F

Cook Time:

​30 - 40 mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​165°F

​Lobster tails

Smoker Temperature:

​2​25°F

Cook Time:

​4​5 mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140°F

Tips For Smoking Fish

Smoking is one of the best ways to cook fish. It adds a lot of flavor, and the fish will come out flaky. You can smoke just about any type of fish; however, salmon and trout are the most popular. 

Salmon Filet: Before cooking your salmon, you should mix some brine ingredient with your fish and put it in a container. It should be refrigerated for a few hours. Before putting your fish in the smoker, you should pat the fish dry and then let it sit to dry out thoroughly for 2 to 4 hours. You want the temperature of the smoker to remain at a consistent 220 degrees. It should take about an hour for the salmon to cook completely.

Whole Trout: The first step is to clean your fish completely if it isn't already. Like with salmon, you should brine your trout before smoking it. A teaspoon of salt for every cup of water is all that you should need. After letting it sit for a few hours in the brine, you should dry the fish and let it sit out to dry completely. This usually takes 2 hours. Before putting your fish in the smoker, you should season it. Black pepper and garlic powder work great. The temperature of your smoker should reach 225 degrees before you start smoking. It should take about an hour to cook the fish, and the internal temperature should reach 145 degrees. For added flavor, you can cook the fish for a bit longer.

​Vegetables & Other Smoking Temps & Times

​Smoked Potatoes

Smoker Temperature:

225 - 240°F

Cook Time:

​2 - 3 hours

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140°F

​Brats

Smoker Temperature:

225 - 240°F

Cook Time:

​4​5 mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140°F

​Smoked Corn

Smoker Temperature:

225 - 240°F

Cook Time:

​4​5 mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140°F

​Boudin

Smoker Temperature:

225 - 240°F

​2​25°F

Cook Time:

​4​5 mins

Finished Meat Temperature:

​140°F

Tips For Smoking Vegetables

There are several types of vegetables that can be smoked. Corn and potatoes are the two most popular. 

Potatoes: Before smoking potatoes, you should rub them in butter and add a generous amount of salt and garlic powder. The potatoes should be placed in the center of the smoke. Generally, potatoes take 2 to 3 hours to cook at 225 to 240 degrees. The best way to check if the potatoes is to poke them with a fork. 

Smoking Corn: Corn tastes amazing when it is smoked. Before putting the corn in the smoker, you should put it in a pan and cover it with butter or oil. You should keep your smoker at a consistent temperature of 225 to 240 degrees. It will take between 1 ½ to 2 hours for the corn to cook completely. It is essential to add wood regularly to keep the temperature up.

Additional Tips That You Should Know

Whether you are smoking pork, beef, or vegetables, there are a few tips that you should know. These tips are essential for anything that you put in your smoker. 

Low and Slow Is the Key: The whole idea of smoking is cooking low and slow. This will allow the smoke to engulf the food, resulting in a great, smoky flavor.

Know Your Wood: As mentioned above, there are certain types of wood that work best with certain foods. Before choosing your wood, you should do some research on the type of meat that you are cooking. This will ensure the best flavor possible.

Don't Over Smoke: Some people believe that the longer you smoke your meat, the more flavor you will have. This is not the case. Over smoking will rob your meat of the juices necessary to give it a great flavor.

Rest Your Meat: When you remove your meat from the smoker, you should not serve it immediately. The meat needs to rest first. When the meat comes out of the smoker, it will continue cooking for about 20 minutes while resting. This is essential for serving a perfectly smoked piece of meat.

Do Your Research: The times and temperatures of the meat cuts and vegetables listed above are simply a guide. There are certain things that will affect the cooking temperature such as the fuel that your smoker uses, whether the meat is boneless or bone-in, and the thickness of the meat. To avoid overcooking or undercooking your meat or vegetables, you should do some research on your own before you start smoking. There are thousands of sites online where you can get all of the information necessary to create a perfectly smoked dish.

If you want to add some amazing flavor to your meats or your vegetables, you should consider smoking. Smoking is a lot easier than you think. If you pay attention to your food and you set your smoker to the right temperature, you will be able to serve the greatest meal ever.

About the Author

Hi! My name is Nathan and I’m a passionate meat-lover and certified grill connoisseur. I fell in love with grilling food back when I was a little kid when my grandfather used to cook tasty burgers in our backyard every Saturdays.

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