Smoking Times and Temperatures Chart

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My smoking times and temperatures chart for smoking meat is at the bottom of this page.

When it comes to smoking meat, the time is not nearly as important as the temperature. Temperature should always be used to determine when the meat is done cooking rather than the time.

I have many people who email me and ask me how long to smoke ribs or how many hours per pound to smoke brisket and while this can be used to estimate your finish time, it needs to be only that.

I highly recommend a digital probe meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the meat while it smokes. These thermometers have a probe that stays in the meat while it smokes. The probe is attached to a thin braided metal wire that runs through the door or an opening to the unit outside of the smoker.

The Taylor units that I use allow me to set a time as well as a temperature. An alarm goes off if either of these are reached.

Below I have put together a list of times and temperatures for smoking meats. Is it only an estimate but should allow you to figure up a ballpark time as to when the meat will be done smoking.

Type of Meat Smoking Temp Time to Complete Finished Temp
Brisket (Sliced) 225°F 1.5 hrs/pound 190°
Brisket (Chopped) 225°F 1.5 hrs/pound 200°
Beef Ribs 225°F 3-4 hrs 175°
Pork Butt (Sliced) 225°F 1.5 hrs/pound 180°
Pork Butt (Pulled) 225°F 1.5 hrs/pound 205°
Whole Chicken 250°F 4 hrs 165°
Chicken Thighs 250°F 1.5 hrs 165°
Chicken Quarters 250°F 3 hrs 165°
Whole Turkey 12# 240°F 6.5 hrs 165°
Turkey Leg 250°F 4 hrs 165°
Turkey Wings 225°F 2.5 hrs 165°
Turkey Breast – bone in 240°F 4-6 hrs 165°
Boudin 230°F 2.5 hrs 160°
Breakfast Sausage 230°F 3 hrs 160°
Fatties 225°F 3 hrs 165°
Meat Loaf 250 -300°F 3 hrs 160°
Meatballs (2 inch) 225°F 1 hr 160°
Spare Ribs 225-240°F 6-7 hrs Tender*
Baby Back Ribs 225-240°F 5-6 hrs Tender*
Salmon 140-160°F 5-7 hrs 145°
Smoked Corn 225°F 1.5 – 2 hrs N/A
Smoked Potatoes 225°F 2 – 2.5 hrs N/A

Note: Be sure to use temperature to tell you when the meat is done.. time is just an estimate and is NOT an indicator of doneness.

*cooking to “Tender” just means the meat is not done until it gets tender. This is used mainly in smoking/cooking ribs. To test for tenderness, grasp two of the bones and pull them in opposite directions. If the meat tears easily then the meat is considered “Tender” and is ready to eat.

If you want to check ribs for temperature, place the probe between the bones making sure to not touch the bone. You are looking for 180-190 when the ribs are done and tender.


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Comments

  1. says

    Could you give me an idea how long it takes to smoke pork chops, they about an inch and a half thick.mthank you in advance. Rob, a loyal follower.

  2. Nick says

    I am using an electric smoker to smoke a Boston butt and we lost power after and hour into smoking and it came back on 6 hours later. When the power came back on the smoker temp was 105 degrees and the meat temp was 122 degrees. Should we throw out the butt or keep it ?

    • says

      Sorry I didn’t get to this in time to help but, for future reference, if any meat drops below it’s safe temperature for more than 2 hours, it should be thrown out. “If I have doubt, I throw it out”

      For pork, this would be 145 °F and it sounds like it may have been ok since it was still at 122°F when power returned. Chances are it was fine but if I wasn’t sure, I would just throw it out to be safe.

      Better safe than sorry in these situations.

  3. Charlie says

    I have an electric smoker.I am having a problem keeping the wood chips smoking at low temp when smoking fish. Any suggestions would help.
    Thanks

  4. Cliff Farris says

    About ash buildup – I have a small New Braunfels off set smoker that I got about 12 years ago. It had two problems: ash buildup that made short run time and variable internal temperatures. I insulated the outside of the firebox and cooking chamber with 2.5 inch of fiberglass house insulation covered by sheet metal. Both problems solved! It will run 6-7 hours on one charcoal load at 225 °F. Temperature variation is within 30 °F.

    Maybe insulating the smoker of yours would help too.

    Yes, the plastic covering on the insulation burned up but the sheet metal holds it in place and the fiberglass is fine.

  5. Michael says

    Hi, newbie at smoking.

    Can you smoke different meats at the same time? I am looking as a first time food business (potentially) that I would serve, chicken, pork, beef all smoked.

    It would be good if I didn’t need multiple smokers, cost saving

  6. Giovanni Siragusa says

    Can you tell me if you smoke say 5 chickens instead of 1 in the smoker how much will this affect the time the chickens smoke for.

    If you add ribs to the same smoker who much more time to smoke everything.

    I am in catering and this is very important information for me.

    Thanks.

  7. Nigel says

    Both my wife and myself are becoming seriously disillusioned with smoking, we have a Kingsford Bullet Smoker and have tried to smoke a whole chicken on a number of occasions and have great difficulty in mainatining temperature beyond 2 hours, despite loading as much charcoal as we can and if we need to replenish the water bowl we always use hot water from a kettle. We also try to refrain from opening the smoker to check on the meat as we are aware this will release all the heat build-up.

    We are getting close to the point where the smoker is going to end up on the refuse tip.

    Any advice or assistance you can give would be much appreciated.

    Nigel

    • James Tidwell says

      Nigel,
      Just taking a stab at your question, also late to the party you probably have already received a number of responses. A lot of the “Bullet” style smokers suffer from the same design flaw; Ash build up. Your standard kettle type grill usually comes with a solid pan, not allowing for Ash removal and air to the coals to assist in keeping them lit and heating the cooking chamber. The Bullet comes with a “coal grill”, so that is nice, it allows for air movement but after awhile ash builds up in the bottom, possibly covering the air vents and lowering the air to the coals.
      If this is the issue you could drill a whole directly in the bottom of the grill to allow for ash removal. You might be able to find a “Bulk Head” connector and nipple at your local hardware store. Anyway…Happy smoking. I apologize if this answer is way off base. Can only relate to my experiences with Bullet and kettle style smokers.

      james

    • Cliff Farris says

      (Duplicate posting from top of list)
      Nigel,

      About ash buildup – I have a small New Braunfels off set smoker that I got about 12 years ago. It had two problems: ash buildup that made short run time and variable internal temperatures. I insulated the outside of the firebox and cooking chamber with 2.5 inch of fiberglass house insulation covered by sheet metal. Both problems solved! It will run 6-7 hours on one charcoal load at 225 °F. Temperature variation is within 30 °F.

      Maybe insulating the smoker of yours would help too.

      Yes, the plastic covering on the insulation burned up but the sheet metal holds it in place and the fiberglass is fine.

    • Bob says

      I have no problem maintaining temperate using a gas smoker. I don’t know what to suggest for a charcoal smoker. Good luck

      • Cliff Farris says

        Maybe something like this would help. I had a small, New Braunfels off set smoker. It had problems with length of run as well as 130 F temperature variation inside. I insulated it, along with some other modifications, and now I can maintain smoking temperatures for up to about 6-7 hours, up from about 2.5.

        I can post a photo and even an article I wrote if Jeff can tell me how. It uses far less charcoal now too.

        Good luck.

        • Nigel says

          Thanks for your comment Cliff. If you are able to upload a photo image that would be great.

          Many thanks
          Nigel

  8. Aggie says

    Great site. I never smoked any meat but I would love to try it. Actually I been thinking about smoking sausages, can you let me know how to do it and the temperature, . Appreciated, thanks in advance.

  9. Chris says

    I’ve always found that the 3-2-1 method and the 2-2-1 method for spare ribs and baby backs, respectively, gets them in the ballpark of being done. X hours of just straight smoking, 2 hours wrapped tightly in foil, and 1 hour straight smoking again.

    And pulled brisket is sacrilege.

  10. michael jones says

    Smoking a pork loin ribs 7lbs worth… pretty fat meat i didnt see a temp listed or time.. this is my first go @ smoking meats w my new smoker… HELP

  11. barry says

    how can i keep the skinfrom shrinking on whole chicken? somoke at recomended temp and skin shrinks and exposes meat. thanks

  12. Paula says

    I feel somewhat silly asking this, but there's a debate going on in my house.  If I cut a 10 pound pork butt into two 5 pound pieces and smoke both of them at the same time, should I expect them to take approximately 7 1/2 hours to cook or 15?  Or something between the two times?  (i understand the point about cooking to temperature, not to time, just want to know how much time to allow…)  Thank you.

    • says

      This is a valid question and the answer is that it depends entirely on the thickness of the meat. The amount of time that it takes to cook is based largely on the amount of time required for the heat to overcome the cold of the meat and reach the center where it can raise the temperature of the meat to it’s done temperature (in this case: 205 degrees F.)

      Cutting the meat in halff will decrease the thickness of the meat to some extent (depending on which direction you cut it) and I would expect it to get done quite a bit faster than if it is left whole.

      Without getting much more scientific than I already have, I would venture to say 8-10 hours would be a good estimate.

    • Don Alrick says

      Keith, try not to exceed 12 to 13 pounds on a turkey to be smoked. Bacteria is the reason. A 16 pounder might not get you sick, but you just don't know. It's too iffy because it takes too long to get up to a safe temperature. Better to smoke two 10 pounders and have some leftovers!

  13. Lorie S says

    I was wondering if you had the template you described in your book "Smoking Meat" available anywhere for purchase or download?  

  14. jim says

    jeff,

    love the newsletter! i was wondering if by now since u hav smokd more & more meat, u mite hav a much broader smoke table than what i hav.the ine i hav hav is ur page which i use regularly when i smoke,havn't gone wrong yet usin it. hav u ever smokd a expensive side of beef, porterhouse, filet to c how it wood turn out? thnks for the news letter!

    jim

    • says

      I use whatever wood I have available and in the mood for but I really like pecan. I have used Mesquite, HIckory, Pecan, and even fruit woods and it all seems to work really well with pulled pork. You can always mix a fruit wood with another type of wood to come up with combinations such as pecan/cherry or Hickory/Apple. Do this at a 50:50 ratio.

  15. steve hix says

    Thanks very helpful new to smoking just got a propane smoker courios about boneless skinless chicken breast any help would b great thanks again

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