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

Temperature should always be used to determine when the meat is done cooking rather than the time.

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

The digital probe meat thermometer that I use, the “Smoke” by Thermoworks, allows me to easily set a time as well as a temperature. An alarm goes off if either of these are reached.

ThermoPop_generic-01You can also use an instant digital pocket thermometer such as the ThermoPop which reads in 3-4 seconds (that's fast), is splash-proof and is being offered now for only $29. One of my favorite toys.. er, tools;-)

Below I have put together a list of times and temperatures for smoking meats. Most are only an estimate but should allow you to make a loose plan for dinner time.


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.


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 12-20 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 190-200°F
Notes: 190°F for sliced or 200°F+ for chopped/pulled. Time is relevant to thickness of flat area and muscle/fat ratio. High-heat brisket, Orange juice brined brisket


Chuck Roast
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 12-20 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 190-200°F
Notes: Cook time varies depending on the thickness of the roast. Chuck roast burnt ends, Bourbon smoked chuck roast, Chuck roast with potatoes and carrots


Back Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 4-5 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 185-190°F
Notes: Cut apart before cooking for best results. Prime rib on a stick


Short Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 6-8 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 190-200°F


Beef Country Style Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 3-4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 175-180°F
Notes: Done when tender


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 3 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 160°F
Notes: Cook time depends on thickness of loaf. Stuffed meatloaf, Meatloaf better than ever


Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 1 hr
Finished Meat Temperature: 160°F
Notes: Use 80/20 or 85/15 ground chuck for best results. Stuffed, bacon-wrapped burgers


Smoker Temperature: 210-220°F
Cook Time: 45-60 min
Finished Meat Temperature: 135°F (med. rare)
Notes: Finish in the smoker or smoke to 75% done then sear on hot grill. Time depends on thickness of steak. Reverse seared ribeyesSmoked ribeye, Smoked flat-iron steaks


Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)
Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 4-5 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 130-135°F (med. rare)
Notes: Typical size is 4-7 bones. Prime Rib, Christmas Prime Rib


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 130-135°F (med. rare)
Notes: Typical size about 2-3 lbs. Smoked tri-tip, Smoked tri-tip roast


Pork Butt
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 12-14 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 205°F
Notes: Also called “Boston Butt”. How to make smoked pulled pork, Tasty & Tender Smoked Pulled Pork


Baby Back Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 5 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 180°F
Notes: Tender=done. Extra meaty baby backs may require an extra hour to get tender. Baby back rib sandwich, Coffee brined baby backs, Maple barbecue ribs


Spare Ribs
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 6 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 180-185°F
Notes: Tender = done. Butter-injected spare ribs, Onion cola spare ribs, Pre-sliced spare ribs, Falling Apart St. Louis Ribs


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 3-5 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 145°F
Notes: Chef recommended finish temperature is 137-140°F. Herb-rubbed pork loin


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 145°F
Notes: Chef recommended finish temperature is 137-140°F. Braided tenderloins, Cherry bourbon tenderloin, Tenderloin on a stick


Whole Chicken
Smoker Temperature: 250-275°F
Cook Time: 3-4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: Maple barbecue chicken


Chicken Legs/Thighs
Smoker Temperature: 250-275°F
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: Chicken lollipops, Bacon-wrapped thighs


Chicken Wings
Smoker Temperature: 250-275°F
Cook Time: 1.5-2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: Honey barbecue wings, Pecan smoked chicken wings, Smoked and fried hot wings


Chicken Quarters
Smoker Temperature: 250-275°F
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: High heat smoked chicken quarters


Whole Turkey
Smoker Temperature: 240°F
Cook Time: 5-7 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes:  12 lbs or smaller recommended. Maple barbecue turkey, Buttermilk brined turkey, Cranberry turkey (“pink bird”), Bacon butter turkey


Turkey Breast
Smoker Temperature: 240°F
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: Cranberry pecan stuffed turkey breast


Turkey Legs
Smoker Temperature: 240°F
Cook Time: 3-4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 175-180°F
Notes: Smoked turkey legs


Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 1 hr
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: Smoked quail


Cornish Hens
Smoker Temperature: 240°F
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 165°F
Notes: Also called Rock Hens. Beer brined cornish hens

Fish & Seafood

Salmon Filet
Smoker Temperature: 220°F
Cook Time: 1 hr
Finished Meat Temperature: 145°F
Notes: Cook at 160 degrees for cool smoked salmon. Chef recommended finish temperature is 130-135°F. Cool smoked salmon with citrus, Filet mignon of salmon, Salmon on a stick, salmon candy, Maple glazed salmon


Tilapia Filets
Smoker Temperature: 220°F
Cook Time: 1 hr
Finished Meat Temperature: 145°F
Notes: Chef recommended finish temperature is 130-135°F. Tilapia with Tahini Noodles


Whole Trout
Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 1 hr
Finished Meat Temperature: 145°F
Notes: Trout w/ Lemon & Herbs


Lobster Tails
Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 45 min
Finished Meat Temperature: 140°F
Notes: Smoked lobster tails


Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 30-40 min
Finished Meat Temperature: N/A
Notes: Shuck, remove from shell, rinse well. Lay in 1 half of the shell to smoke. Oysters are done when he edges start to curl. Angels on horseback


Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 45-60 min
Finished Meat Temperature: 145°F
Notes: Use a super-fast thermometer such as the thermapen to check temperature carefully. Do not overcook. Bacon wrapped scallops


Smoker Temperature: 225°F
Cook Time: 20-30 min
Finished Meat Temperature: N/A
Notes: Cues for done shrimp include bright pink color, opaque flesh and a “C” shape. Pigs on the beach, Bacon wrapped shrimp, shrimp stuffed jalapeños,


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: N/A


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: N/A
Notes: Smoked Boudin


Meatballs (2-inch)
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 1 hr
Finished Meat Temperature: 160°F
Notes: Cheesy smoked meatballs


Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 3-4 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: 175-180°F
Notes: Spiral-cut hotdogs


Smoked Corn on the Cob
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 1.5 – 2 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: N/A
Notes: Bacon wrapped corn on the cob


Smoked Whole Potatoes
Smoker Temperature: 225-240°F
Cook Time: 2-3 hrs
Finished Meat Temperature: N/A
Notes: Twice baked potatoes


*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 pork 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.

Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

smoking-meat-book-cover-275x289The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that "no smoker should be without this book"!

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About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

118 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Elizabeth January 1, 2018 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Such a fun adventure through your pantry! A few of my must-haves not on your shelves are Pork Verde (both cubed, which is served like a soup, and shredded, which I use in enchiladas), Navy Bean Soup, Cranberry Sauce, Beef Bourguignon & Mushroom Bourguignon, Ground Beef (plain and Mexican for tacos), and Meatballs. I also must must MUST have fruit sauces with cabernet. I’ve made them with plums, and a cranberry/blueberry mixture. O.M.G. Amazing over vanilla ice cream, pancakes/French toast, cheesecake…etc.

  2. Kris in Illinois June 3, 2017 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Thanks for the helpful information on your site!

    I have done a few briskets and have created a rub that I really enjoy.

    My problem is reconciling the time and internal temperatures list on your site.

    With an indirect heat (smoker box) on the side of my charcoal grill, I maintain the temp at 225. The price thermometer in the brisket indicates done in less than 6 hours… Not nearly the 12-20 hours in the guide.

    This has happened with various sized briskets.

    The meat is “done” but far from tender.

    I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong.


    Thanks for any help you could offer.

    • Kris in Illinois June 3, 2017 at 9:09 am - Reply

      BTW…that should be, “probe” thermometer, not, “price” thermometer… Gotta love autocorrect.

    • Justy June 11, 2017 at 1:05 am - Reply

      Hi Kris, I believe the extra time is needed to break down some of the tough fibers in the meat. There is a more technical explanation but I have long since forgotten the details. I think if you try leaving it on longer you will find it is well worth it. Good luck.

    • Don July 5, 2017 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      We are not professional, the smoking gets done early so after 2 to 2 1/2 hrs remove and put into a crock pot with enough water and garlic to cover the bottom for 6 hrs. Mouth watering and tender

  3. Bud Elliott February 20, 2017 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    I was trying to find out about smoking meat for storage. Of the meats.

    • Brad Crosby November 23, 2017 at 10:58 am - Reply

      Of Plymouth, MA?

  4. Jeff R December 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    I have a masterbuilt electric smoker and im getting ready to pull 6 chickens out of brine .does it take any longer to smoke 6 birds than just one?
    Thanks jeff

    • SDH January 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      The number of pieces in the smoker is irrelevant so long as you can maintained the same temps everywhere. For instance my pellet grill uses convection fans to keep temps the same in any spot in the grill, no hot spots.with you electric smoker as long as you rotate properly there should not be an issue. Just make sure you check your temps closely.

  5. John Tackett December 10, 2016 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Jeff, I used your recipe for tender brisket and it was awesome!!! We host a yearly 4th of July shindig and its centered around my smoked meat. I’ve done briskets in the past and they was ok, well until I found your recipe. Last year I smoked according to method and everyone is still talking about that awesome brisket!!! That’s the stuff dreams are made of. Cant thank you enough for your smoking wisdom.

  6. Danyelle September 22, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I am attempting to smoke chicken quarters for my husband’s surprise party. Normally, he’s the smoke master, but I obviously can’t ask him…I see that the temp for chicken quarters is 250-275 for 4 hours. We have a pretty big smoker and I need to do enough to feed roughly 100 people. Would I still do it for 4 hours, or should I plan on doing it longer? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Jeff Phillips September 24, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

      Danyelle, you need to somehow make sure the chicken gets to 165 °F however long that takes. All smokers move air and heat around differently and the times will vary somewhat so to be safe you need to use a meat thermometer to make sure it has reached the proper temperature.

  7. Edward Berkey July 21, 2016 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    if I could I would oner you with a Nobel Price in Culinary sciences

    Edward, Pmq., NSW, Aussie

  8. Véronique Cartier June 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Thank-you Jeff, what a great website you have! 🙂

  9. Pam June 4, 2016 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    How long will it take to cook pork rib tips and what temperature?

  10. Nick June 2, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

    What happened to the old chart? I loved the quick reference for time/pound to help me estimate start times.

  11. Phillip March 27, 2016 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    I recently bought my first smoker. It is char broil. I used it yesterday but could not get the temp above 200 degrees. I did adjust the top by closing more. But is says not to close all the way. I need help please any ideas

    • Derek May 13, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      If This is a stick burner you need to open the flue to draw air into the fire box that’s how you regulate the smoke chamber temp. Adjust the damper on the fire box the opposite of the damper in small increments one you get to temp.

    • Mike September 6, 2016 at 8:55 am - Reply

      Ok always leave stack open all the way then get a small coal bed in fire box put one or two pieces of wood hickory cherry maple … Ect keep fire box open for at least 3 mins to awllow wood to catch then close firebox lid and leave all vets open

  12. Heather March 10, 2016 at 5:23 am - Reply

    I have a wild hog shoulder I’m going to smoke and was wondering how long to smoke it for flavor and I how long I should cook it in the oven to finish it up? I’d say it’s around four pounds.

    • Steve D. Harris March 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      Time doesn’t really matter temperature does, however to give you a time frame, I would smoke it at 275 for 10 hours or there about until the shoulder is 190 to 210 degrees internal temperature. That’s assuming you want it to pull.

    • Steve D. Harris March 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      I must have missed the size of your roast, a smaller roast like that will reach temperature much faster I would say anywhere from 6 to 8 hours at the temps I gave you.

      Also I take and cut an onion int 4 rings, don’t separate the rings just put them in a pan to hold the roast off the bottom of the roasting pan, then pour apple juice into the bottom to help keep the roast moist, every hour you can ladle the juice over the roast or spritz it with a squirt bottle with apple juice. The onions add great flavor.

  13. SDH February 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    You should update the pork temps on here, the USDA recently added a caveat to the pork temp recommending you cook pork to 160 for 6 minutes to kill possible hepatitis contaminated meat.

    • Jeff Phillips February 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      SDH.. I have not seen this but we do our best to follow USDA to the letter on safe cooking temperatures. Posting a link to the USDA on a comment such as this is always helpful.

      • SDH February 16, 2016 at 1:03 am - Reply

        I’m sorry I miss typed that its 160° F Temp for 20 minutes. and I made a mistake it was the CDC not USDA.

        Its under the Heading “The Study” which Says:

        ” HEV can be heat-inactivated by thorough cooking at 71°C for 20 min (9); however, consumers might not apply such precise thermal treatment. Thus, these food products might be able to transmit HEV.”

        71° C = 159.8°F, anyway I just thought people should know about this.

        • AP February 18, 2016 at 8:06 am - Reply

          Skimming the article, it seems to only be advising cook temperature on products that contain (raw) pork liver, not pork in general.

          • SDH September 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm -

            HEV is a blood born illness, so if the pork meat you are cooking never had blood running through the muscles like all other animals do, then don’t worry yourself about it. To me it makes sense to just cook it a bit longer for safety.

  14. FULLOBULL January 29, 2016 at 8:41 am - Reply

    If I can’t smoke outdoors and need to use my oven, should I still cook at the same temp. as the smoker?

    • Jeff Phillips January 29, 2016 at 9:37 am - Reply

      That is my recommendation for most things. The most common exception is poultry which does not greatly benefit from low and slow. The only reason for low and slow on poultry is to give the smoke more time to flavor the meat. In the oven this is not necessary and it can be bumped up to 275 or even 300°F in most cases.

      • FULL O BULL January 30, 2016 at 7:18 am - Reply

        That’s what I figured. Thanks for your reply Jeff. Love your site and all the recipes and information you provide.

  15. Fish December 29, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Guys, forget the pound\time ratio. It is flawed due to different fat to muscle ratios. I have been BBQ’ing for over 32 years. Just get an instant digital thermometer, (I recommend Thermopen). Your target temp (when connective tissue breaks down) is 192-195 for a brisket flat and 196-200 for the tip. (You should separate the flat from the tip\point before cooking). For pork shoulder\butts it is 195. It will literally fall apart as you remove it from the smoker. I smoke at 225. Pork is around 6-7 hours, and brisket is 12-14 hrs., depending on size. It can vary. Let it rest before cutting\pulling. Enjoy!

  16. David December 9, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    I was trying to figure out how to get a little more smoke flavor. I have masterbuilt Electric smoker. I was wondering if anyone can answer what exactly is happening if I open or close the vent on a top. Also I was thinking if I cook my meat to my target temperature. THEN change the smoker temp to the target temperature to extend the time at the target temperature and on the smoke. Without over cooking the meat. Does anyone think I would have good results with this method?

    • Texan_in_Thailand December 23, 2015 at 5:42 am - Reply

      David: If you open or close the vent at the top you are letting more (or less) hot air and smoke out. It is possible to control temp that way for charcoal or wood smokers, but yours is electric, so it has a thermostat to control temps. If you want more smoke flavor, there are 2 preferred ways with an electric smoker, either A) make more smoke (more pellets or more chips) while cooking or B) cook it at a lower pit temperature for a longer time, which allows it to suck up more smoke while reaching “done”. Holding at the “done” temp for a longer time to suck up more smoke will work, but you risk drying it out. Personally I prefer option B).

      • SDH February 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm - Reply

        Also make sure you are basting the meat the liquid allows the smoke flavor to penitrate the meat better.

  17. Carla November 1, 2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

    I am smoking Pheasant breasts, what temp should I smoke them to?????

    • SDH February 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      Use turkey temps for poultry other then chicken. Chicken needs to cook more thoroughly because the meat is separated and allows pathogens to seep into the deep tissue of the meat, other fowl do not have the same issue and can be treated like turkey except smaller.

  18. Steve October 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I am going to smoke 2- 4.5lb. Boneless pork shoulders. Because there are two at the same time, how much time should I allow to reach the desired temperature for pulled pork?

    • Chris November 24, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      2 separate pieces cook in the same amount of time as a single piece.

  19. Steve October 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I am going to smoke to 4.5 lb. boneless pork shoulders for pulled pork. How much time should I allow to reach 190? Thanks in advance

  20. Ken October 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    If I am smoking 6 chickens all in one smoker how long should I allow for smoking time.?

    • Kevin October 13, 2015 at 8:04 am - Reply

      Ken, Same as if you were cooking one chicken, just make sure the juices run clear and it’s done, should take 4.5 hours to cook at 225. I recommend brining all the chickens the night before, basic brine is gallon of water, one cup of kosher salt, one cup of brown sugar. Have fun!

  21. Tg August 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Most everything I find has shorter cooking times for chicken quarters then 3 hrs. I love and use your chart and newsletter regularly, but quarters have been extremely shorter cooking times from your chart. How many quarters are you smoking for it to take three hours? Any reason why mine are getting done around an hour/hour and half at 250-275? Thanks…and again appreciate your info!

  22. Walter D. August 20, 2015 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Does anyone use the enclosed Alunimum method? I wrap the pork butt or rids tightly in foil and Cook at 250 in electric smoker . Takes 1 hr /lb. final hour is in real smoker with hickory.

    • Gary September 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      I have an electric Old Smokey and don’t wrap picnic pork in foil. I cook at about 200 degrees to in an internal temp of 205. I put rub on 24 hours before and let set in the fridge, then wrap when done for about and hour. 180-190 seems to be the longest stretch given stall.

  23. Kevin July 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    The smoke times were way off for the brisket, an hour and a half per pound was not enough! I got a 5 lbs brisket, smoked it for 7.5 hours at 225 a 250 and the internal temp was only at 135… Took an extra 6 hours to bring it to 190…

  24. Jesse June 22, 2015 at 12:31 am - Reply

    I followed your chart for whole chicken and it turned out beautifully! 5 lb beer can chicken. 4 hrs @ 250. Thanks for the time/temp advice. Chicken was 175-180 when I pulled it off. I use a charcoal grill I bought at Sam’s club many years back. It requires a lot of attention, but that makes success that much more enjoyable.

  25. Albert Vaughn June 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    I want to smoke a beef roast, what would be a good size and at what temperature should it be done and how long will it take. I have a large big green egg. I have done several pork butts and they have turned out very good but I have never gone a beef roast. Your info will be what I will go by.

  26. clint ferguson June 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I’m from Louisiana,so I have a passion for food, I’ve spent the last 3 years in austin and learned a thing or two about BBQ, I’m wanting to start a catering business, my question is I don’t have specific recipes I usallly just go by taste and I’ve never been formally trained but I love serving people great food and most all I’ve produced has been a hit,how do I go to the next level?

    • Cliff Farris June 16, 2015 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Clint, there are very many recipes for rubs, sauces, and mops on the internet. I counted 145 different bottles of BBQ sauce at my local ACE hardware. No one has the final answer. I suggest

      1. Make careful notes of each one you make or have made, and include your reactions. Here in Denver, the dryness and low air make a difference in how things taste (and cook). Record the reactions of people eating too.

      2. Here are a couple of links that discuss the effects of the ingredients in BBQ: (where we are right now)

      3. Study the idea behind the rubs and sauces – that is the balance of the four S’s: sweet, savory, spices, and spicy. I add tang too. I tasted different ingredients separately, together, and on meat to get an idea of how they interact.

      4. Get going.

      It seems to me that there are not really “secrets” in these things. Most mixtures seem to do a pretty good job, but there are better and not so good balances in them. It is more BBQ technique than ingredients. That’s why notes are so useful.

      Good luck.

  27. Tom May 23, 2015 at 11:45 am - Reply

    To shadows, with the upright smoker. Drilling holes in the “coal pan” helps, as mentioned. I would also recommend buying a small grate that would fit inside the coal pan, elevate the grate a bit so sir can circulate under the coals. This has worked well for me in Colorado, where oxygen is scarce. Should only need 20 briquettes or so at a time on a warm day. I’d also get a new/better thermostat. Good luck, tom

    • Thanks May 27, 2015 at 11:05 am - Reply

      I do not use briquettts, I use nartural hardwood coals and woods. If I put in a grate it will leave even less room, I have a good wireless thermometer system for temp monitoring,
      Thanks again.

  28. abe looper May 10, 2015 at 10:04 am - Reply

    @shadows you can drill a few holes in the charcoal pan, it will help it get to temperature with increased airflow across the coals. An upright smoker was the first I bought and did not have too good of results, same issues you had. There’s a pretty cheap brinkman offset smoker at home depot for $99. It gets the job done but it will rust real quick. If you’re ok with an eyesore in your grilling space, it definitely is serviceable. Though you’ll still need to add coals for long cooks, it does have a grate that the coals sit on so you can sweep out the ash that falls through to avoid coals getting choked out like in the pans of the upright.

    • Cliff Farris May 11, 2015 at 11:54 am - Reply

      By insulating the Brinkman offset you can get really good results. I have a New Braunfels design that got sold to Brinkman. I write it up. don’t see a way to attach a copy to this reply, but I will be glad to send you a copy if you send me your e-mail. Mine is [email protected].

      Basically, I insulated the outside, installed some internal baffles to get the heat below the grate, added an extension to the stack, and a few other small modifications. Made a huge difference. I am smoking two chickens right now.

  29. Shadows May 6, 2015 at 11:09 am - Reply

    I have a Charbroil upright charcoal/wood smoker with pans for coal and water. The coal pan is small and does not hold much so I have to keep loading in hot coals. It also does not heat up easily. Is there a solution for this other then buying a different smoker?

  30. Jason April 25, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I have two 5lb whole chickens i want to smoke. My smoker is electric and self-regulated at 225°. You recommend 250. How long do you think to smoke those birds? Will the skin end up rubbery? Thanks in advance.

    • matt July 24, 2015 at 8:06 am - Reply

      Saw your question on I’m trying to smoke 2 chickens in an electric smoker as well. Did you learn anything about the timing of it? I’m not sure how long it will take (double the time or the same time?)

      Thanks for any tips.

  31. Paul February 6, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Wow got a big Butt today. 13 pounds. I thinking about 19 hours is that crazy?

    • Jeff Phillips February 9, 2015 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Have you removed it from the package yet? That is either the butt and the picnic still attached (the entire shoulder) or you have a twin pack of pork butts. Usually they are 6 to 8 lbs each.

      I only say something about the twin pack because I have had this asked before and it turned out to be 2 pork butts packed very tightly into a plastic wrapped package. Let us know what you find out on this..

      • Derek Tank April 3, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

        Hi Jeff,
        great blog and I’m using your Times and Temperatures Chart as a bit of a bible at the mo, but can you add or tell me the Smoking Temp, Time to Complete and Finished Temp of Mackerel,

        Your help would be great .


  32. Jeremiah adams January 28, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    How long and what temp should I smoke a 10.53 LB pork shoulder on my master built electric smoker

    • curt January 30, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      1.5 hours a pound…10.53 pound shoulder apprx 16hrs at 220 degress. I like to be at least 200 to 205 internal temp when done…

  33. Bret December 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I have a Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker. It has heating elements and lava rocks at the bottom. I am unable to regulate the heat (I just plug in a wait). Thing is that I have never smoked anything longer than maybe an hour and a half. I did salmon fillets and it took maybe 30 minutes (and tasted great). Did a beef brisket and it took an hour and 10 minutes. So far we have not gotten sick but I’m wondering if the time to smoke is set in stone or is it best to just measure for temperature and ignore the time?

    • Frank April 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      It’s the temperature in the meat that tells you it’s done, get a digital thermometer. I have the same unit as u, be careful because the paint is peeling on the inside of the top piece otherwise it’s great’

  34. Smoking/Jery - Crazy Idea December 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    My wife is on a kick to rid the kids of nitrate, gluton and MSG so I have decided to try and “smoke” and “jerky” my own meat (not BBQ). Smoking would be a bunch of different items and jerky would be venison. I picked up a Traulsen RW232W-COR01 46 Cu. Ft. Two Section Heated Holding Cabinet that I plan to use to introduce smoke and then use the controlled heating from the unit to keep the meat between 135-180*. I made the purchase (used) before I thought about if this even a good idea. When I get venison, I make jerky out of about 80% of it, will this due the trick? Will the introduction of the smoke add some heat to get that max temp of the unit of 180 high enough to smoke a wide range of items?
    Thanks in advance and awesome site.

  35. Steve Joyner November 25, 2014 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I have a 20 lb turkey. Can I cut it in half to smoke it safely and if so how long should it take.

    • Jeff Phillips November 26, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Yes you can. I am thinking it will take about 4 hours (depending on your smoker temperature, how often you open the lid and how cold it is when you place it on the smoker grate) but let the finished temperature be your guide. Once it reaches 165°F in the breast and thigh, it is done.

      • Steve Joyner December 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm - Reply

        Thanks so much,

        I did just that and it turned out great. May be the best turkey I ever ate.

  36. Buford November 25, 2014 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    How much time to smoke two 9 pound turkey breasts in a Brinkmann smoker using a full pan of Kingsford charcoal buriquets (?)).

  37. Richard November 21, 2014 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I have read your instructions for different types of smoked turkeys and your recommendation is a 12-13lb turkey. I bought a 16 lb turkey to smoke but am now wondering if that is too large. What would be the downside aside from the length of time it would take to smoking a turkey this large. Is there a rule of thumb on time/pound?

    Thank you

  38. Dustin00whoop November 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Jeff, any suggestions on temp to cook to for pork brisket & pork belly?

  39. Robert McClain November 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Hey Jeff. Just wanted to stop by to say thank you for your tips and advice on this website. I used the 4-1-1 tonight (trying to figure out my new smoker) and they came out so much better than the way i was doing it before. Once again THANK YOU!!! (from the dogs too lol)

  40. Rob August 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    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.

  41. Nick August 10, 2014 at 6:59 am - Reply

    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 ?

    • Jeff Phillips August 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      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.

  42. Charlie July 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Daniel P June 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Masterbuilt Cold Smoking Kit if you have their brand electric smoker. Otherwise, see if your smoker MFG has a cold smoke kit.

  43. joe griffin July 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    What type of fan system can I use for controlling temp on a Brinkman offset

    • Michael McFishy October 30, 2014 at 11:48 am - Reply

      I own a Brinkman offset smoker and I am sure as you know they are difficult to control. If you are down for saving some money and don’t mind making some modifications to your smoker then this might help. I pulled 2 burners off of old grills and installed them as follow. One, install the first one inside your fire box and get a stainless steel half pan with holes drilled in it. This will be your wood box and the propane burner is your ignition system. This will allow you to create as little or as much smoke as you desire. You will also be able to cold smoke as this doesn’t create as much heat as burning all wood. Second, install another burner in the actual smoke box under the water pan. This will allow you to control your temperature. I love this modification for many reasons, but the most obvious is you can set your meat and leave for extended periods of time. If you need any more information please let me know.

  44. Cliff Farris July 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    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.

  45. Michael June 27, 2014 at 6:33 am - Reply

    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

    • Mark September 4, 2014 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Get an electronic temperature gauge with multiple probes on it. This will allow you to control the temp of each piece of meat. As for the cooking temp, I would set the cooker at the highest one and pull the meats as they get finished. I hope this is helpful.

  46. Giovanni Siragusa June 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    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.


  47. Nigel May 27, 2014 at 3:29 am - Reply

    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.


    • James Tidwell June 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      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.


    • Cliff Farris July 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      (Duplicate posting from top of list)

      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 July 27, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

      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 July 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

        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 July 28, 2014 at 3:57 am - Reply

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

          Many thanks

          • Tim October 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm -


            Just get an electric smoker with a digital thermostat. Some say it is cheating, but the meat tastes the same and you don’t get inconsistent cooking times. The only draw back with electric is you will lose the “smoke ring” that competition smokers are looking for. Set it and watch football. Doesn’t get much better.

    • Ryan January 25, 2015 at 11:15 pm - Reply

      I have found that electric cabinet smokers are by far the easiest method of smoking. Set the temp and the time, and the rest is the easy part. Finding good rubs, and good woods become the focus. I refill with wood every couple hours through a side load access and I use a digital remote thermometer so I can stay out of the smoker until target temp is reached. My experience is that that ribs from my electric smoker taste as good, if not better than any propane or wood fired ribs I have ever had. I have smoked some awesome foods and the unit I have cost about $159 delivered and is a 30 cuin size.

  48. Aggie May 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    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.

  49. Chris February 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    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.

  50. michael jones January 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    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

  51. barry January 2, 2014 at 4:35 pm - Reply

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

  52. Paula December 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Jeff Phillips December 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      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.

  53. Ernie December 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    When cold-smoking (cheese etc. ) is there a minumum temp, or can it be done at ambient temperature ???

    • Jeff Phillips December 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      There is no minimum temperature really but it does need to be kept below 90-100 degrees F in order to prevent melting.

  54. Tom D December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    If the outside temp is 20F how long for a 12 lb turkey in an electric brinkman smoker please?

  55. KEITH November 18, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

    how long would it take to smoke a 16 pound turkey and would it turn out good being thats its not twelve pounds

    • Don Alrick December 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      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!

  56. ron kumm October 5, 2013 at 8:40 am - Reply

    how to smoke sausage

  57. ron kumm October 5, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    I see all differnt reciepes for smoking sausage, how do you do it?

  58. Lorie S June 18, 2013 at 8:09 am - Reply

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

  59. jim May 31, 2013 at 8:16 am - Reply


    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!


  60. Chris Cain May 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Anyone ever smoke a hole sheep I need to know what temp! Anyone?

  61. paulgawricki April 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    what kind of wood to use to smoke for pulleg pork

    • Jeff Phillips April 21, 2013 at 7:21 am - Reply

      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.

    • Freddy February 8, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply

      I’ve used apple wood and it’s been a hit!

    • Shadows February 8, 2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

      I am with Jeff, use what you have! I like cherry and alder myself.

  62. steve hix March 20, 2013 at 9:09 am - Reply

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

  63. Mike February 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Great website !!! Im new to smoking, and your web site is very helpfull.

    • skip angus September 2, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Great site.W2G Looking foward to getting your news letters.

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