Smoking Times and Temperatures Chart

Jason Webster
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Beef smoking times and temperatures

How to tell when smoked brisket is done

When it comes to smoking meat, the most important things to keep an eye on are the cooking temperature and time.

It may be easy to tell if the temperature is too hot or perhaps too low but how do you tell if the food you’re cooking is cooked perfectly?

A good way to tell is to follow a proper temperature, time, and internal temperature chart and to learn how to hold the tongs properly.

110 degrees is the proper temperature for holding smoked meat. If the meat is too hot to hold, it’s also too hot to eat.

Meat is done when it’s the temperature, not before. But what is the proper internal temperature?

To ensure that the internal temperature of the meat is perfect, you should use a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of your steaks and roast.

For a general rule of thumb, smoke meat to an internal temperature of 160-170 degrees. When you use the oven to smoke meat, keep the temperature within the 225-250 degree range to prevent the meat from getting too dried out.

Pork smoking times and temperatures

Hams, etc 275ËšF 50ËšC 24 to 48 hours.

How to tell when smoked pork butt is done?

Smoking times for smoked pork butt depends on the size of the meat. This smoked meat can be consumed as is, or it can be used to create pulled pork.

Let’s look at the common sizes of the smoked pork butt and the meats usually cooked in them. Most smoked pork butts include the Loin, Picnic, and Boston Butt. The Smoked Pork Butt is loosely divided as follows:

  • Smoked Pork Butt Loin: It’s also called the picnic ham, Boston Butt, fresh ham, fresh picnic ham, or just picnic. It is sold in grocery stores. The butt is sold bone-in or boneless, encased in a hard plastic wrap.
  • Smoked Pork Loin: The boneless pork loin is considered a cut above the bone-in butt.
  • Smoked Pork Picnic Ham: The usual large picnic can be rather tough and dry. Cooks slow roasting the large cut to make it more tender and juicy.
  • Smoked Pork Butt: A traditional smoking cut from the pork shoulder section. It contains muscle meat and fat.
  • Smoked Pork Ribs: These could be smoked solo or could be used to make pulled pork.

How to tell if your ribs are done?

You have probably heard this line from your barbecue-loving friends “if the meat breaks apart easily with two fingers, it is ready to serve. If you have to use your whole hand to break it apart, you should cook it a little longer.”

In reality, though, you never really know when your meat is done even though you think you do. This is because the usual way you can tell if something is properly done, e.g., when the meat is tender, succulent, or juicy, is also a very subjective way to gauge it.

At the other end, you have the people who swear that their meat isn’t ready to come off the grill or stovetop even if it’s burnt to ash!

The ideal way to serve a delicious barbecue is to measure the temperature of the meat in the thickest part and judge it exactly according to your liking.

The problem is that measuring the temperature of the meat isn’t that easy or convenient unless you are lucky enough to own a meat thermometer.

So what’s the best way to go about it? Here are a few tips to help you find out!

When you are grilling, it should take 5 to 6 hours to cook a slab.

Lamb smoking times and temperatures

This chart is used to determine the start time for various pork cuts and some standard lamb cuts.

If the lamb is smoked at a low temperature, it will take less time to cook. If the lamb is smoked at a higher temperature, it will take more time to cook.

Like the pork chart, all lamb cuts must reach an internal temperature of 145° F.

Poultry smoking times and temperatures

Cooking temperature guidelines for smoking Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck or goose).

Type of Poultry Temp (Celsius) Smoking Time Hanging Time Smoking

Fork Chicken 75 “ 80 1 “ 1.5 hours 15 “ 45 minutes

Whole Turkey 85 “ 90 1.5 “ 4 hours 45 “ 60 minutes

Whole Goose 90 “ 100 2 “ 2.5 hours 60 “ 90 minutes

Fish and seafood smoking times and temperatures

Fish and seafood are very common in Asian countries. They have mastered the art of food preservation for years and have a simple solution for it … smoke(k).

While smoking is a very effective way to preserve food, it can be tricky to get the right timing and temperature. This is why I have added this chart. It will definitely help you prepare the best smoked fishes and seafood at home.

For further details, check out “How to Smoke Fish and Seafood at Home”.

The problem with relying on temperature charts

Alone for your smoking needs is that the actual amount of heat your chamber is producing can really vary. There are just too many factors that can change the readings on the thermometer.

Many smokers like these come with instructions on when to start checking the temperature by inserting an instant read into the meat with a temperature probe. But really you should interpret what that temperature means based on how it feels. There’s no substitute for experience when it comes to deciding when things are just right. A lot of factors need to be considered while smoking.

Being outdoors is a huge one. Even if your smoker is set at the perfect temperature, you need to take into account what the temperature is like outside, for instance. If it’s a hot summer day, there will be a lot more heat coming in from the sun than on an overcast day.

Also, use your senses. It may take a lot longer to get the meat to the temperature you want if the air is still. The wind creates more turbulence in the smoker, which can help evenly distribute the heat throughout the structure.

Meat temperature health and safety

Welcome to the (meat smoking) danger zone

Here’s a chart that shows the time and temperature at which the smoke and heat denatures (breaks down) some proteins in meat and fish.

At 150F, the right column will show you when the proteins become denatured with time.

At 204F in the middle column, the proteins will become denatured and your meat will be unsafe to eat.

For example, at 150F, beef will turn into a tough and very dry dinner. At 204F it will be inedible and dangerous to eat since it will begin to give off ammonia, which is a neurotoxins.

There’s a big difference between ‘done’ and ‘ready to eat’

Contrary to what many people think, barbecuing a steak doesn’t mean it’s ‘done’. In fact, most don’t realize that a perfectly grilled steak still needs another 10 minutes of resting time.

Different smokers have different recommended smoking times and temperatures. The times below are just a guide, but the temperatures listed are the right target temperatures.

If you are in doubt, it’s always better to cook your meat/fish for a slightly longer time than you need to. The meat will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat and while you rest it.

Smoking Temp




Braising Temp



Frying Temp



How to accurately measure smoker and meat temperature

A Thermapen is a must-have tool for any serious smoker. It solves the age-old problem of thermometers that need to be checked every few minutes and are prone to errors in the identification of true temperature due to external elements.

A thermapen provides consistently accurate temperature readings every time and this is so important for getting the right temperature for smoking meat.

A thermal probe is also a great accessory to have. It allows you to easily reach the center of large roasts and pork shoulders. This contraption is basically a metal rod encased in plastic. It can be inserted through the edge of a turkey and into the meat until the probe enters the core.

Another great but more expensive option is a WiFi-enabled probe that can be connected via USB to the computer or your phone. They are great for BBQ grilling with a remote.

The smoker temperature needs to remain within a range of about 205 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit but a range of about 200 to 250 degrees is adequate.

Many manufacturers will include a temperature range printed inside the lid of the smoker or on the manufacturer specifications sheet. Be sure to check the specifications of your smoker.

As an example, the range on the Bradley Smokers is from 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Extreme temperature changes will require you to adjust the position of the meat or the use of aluminum foil. You can also add wood chips to adjust the smoke flavor.

Tips for managing a long smoke

In order to ensure a nice, constant smoke with your smoker, you will need to release the air within the smoker box and keep the temperature consistent.

Constantly maintaining the humidity levels is crucial if you want to avoid drying out your meat or have it come out too moist.

Here is what you can do:

  • Empty the smoke box: Place the lid on the smoker and lift it up so that you can gain access to the rack where the meat sits. Using a pair of pliers, remove the turkey clip and take off the lid. Keep the lid handy. Place the rack on a top of a thick towel to protect the rack from getting damaged. The first thing you’ll want to do is empty the smoke box to avoid any smoke spillage which could ruin the quality and character of the smoke.
  • Overnight smoke: If you want to smoke for a longer time expect your smoker to go through more fuel, so that you don’t run out halfway through your smoke. Or you can have a bigger box. Chances are, you will run out of wood before the meat is ready. There are some extra steps to consider if you’re smoking overnight.
  • Keep the temperature steady: This is probably the single most important rule when smoking. The best way to keep the temperature constant is to have a nice bed of coals.

Dealing with the dreaded bbq ‘stall’

You’ve applied the dry rub, or marinade, and everyone is looking forward to getting their fill of meat. But after an hour or so on the grill, the pork chop or steak still looks much too raw, or worse, it’s starting to burn. So what’s happening? The technical term for this scenario is known as a ‘stall,’ and it occurs when the surface temperature of a food reaches a certain point and stops rising.

If you’re hosting a barbecue in hot and humid conditions, the stall may never occur. But as soon as you throw in cooler weather, a breeze, or the heat from your grill, your’re asking for trouble.

Over smoking the meat

Some people think that by smoking foods for too long they will end up with a more smoked flavor.

As a result, they might over smoke their meat.

But they are wrong! Over smoking the meat will end up drying it out and will even have a bitter taste instead of the desired smoky flavor.

Controlling the temperature inside your grill

Will allow you to cook your meats perfectly every time.

The best way to control the temperature inside your grill is to get one of the many available grilling temperature gauge tools.

If you have one of these inside your smoker you can easily regulate the grate temperature.

If you are using indirect heat you still need to monitor your smoker to make sure you are not overloading one side of the smoker and not properly heating the other.

Sidenote: It’s also a good idea to make sure you have some sort of thermometer inside your smoker that will record the temperature for you.

Overestimating cooking times amounts to safety issues because there’s a chance your meat will actually over cook as opposed to undercook.

Keep an eye on the grill and your smoker temperature gauge to avoid not just undercooked meat but also burnt meat.

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