| |

Standard | Smoking Times and Temperatures

IMG 5203

Smoking-Meat.com is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page.

Read this article without ads

Smoker Recipes Vol. 1

Jeff's new eBook has an awesome time/temp chart with USDA and chef temps as well as some favorite recipes from the website and much more!

Cream Orange 2

Note: If you're looking for a digital meat thermometer, here's a guide that will help you decide which one is best: 6 Best Digital Meat Thermometers

Downloadables

Note: If you are looking for the metric version of this web page, GO HERE.

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 usually just an estimate and is NOT an indicator of doneness.

Beef

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

12-20 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

200°F

Notes: Time is relevant to thickness of flat area and muscle/fat ratio. Probe or skewer should insert with no resistance when brisket is finished. See all brisket recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

8-10 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

205°F

Notes: Cook time varies depending on the thickness of the roast. Time given is for a typical 3-4 lb roast. See all chuck roast recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

4-5 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

195°F

Notes: Find the meatiest ones you can find for best results. See all back rib recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

6-8 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

200°F

Notes: I prefer the ones that are longer (not cut into shorter sections) See all short rib recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

3-4 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

180°F

Notes: Done when tender regardless of the internal temp. See all beef country style rib recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

3 hrs

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Notes: Cook time depends on thickness of loaf. See all meatloaf recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

3 hrs

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Notes: Cook time depends on thickness of fatty. See all fatty recipes here

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

1 hr

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Notes: Use 80/20 ground chuck for best results. See all burger recipes here

Pit Temp:

220°F

Time:

45-60 min

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

130°F

Notes: Finish in the smoker or smoke to 75% done then sear on hot grill to medium rare or your desired level of done. Time depends on thickness of steak. See all steak recipes here

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

4-5 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

130°F

Notes: Typical size is 4-7 bones. Best flavor and tenderness when cooked to medium rare. See all prime rib recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

130°F

Notes: Typical size about 2-3 lbs. See all tri-tip recipes here

*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 195°F when the ribs are done and tender.

Why is there a difference between USDA safe finished temperature and the Chefs recommended finish temperature?

Just because a piece of meat is safe at a certain temperature does not mean it is tender yet.

Many cuts such as brisket and pork butt are safe to eat at a relatively low temperature however, they are still tough as leather at that temperature. They must be cooked to a much higher temperature to break down the meat, melt the fat and collagen and make them tender.

Some cuts or types of meat are recommended to be cooked below what is recommended by the USDA.

This is sometimes because the risk is low or it is strongly believed that the USDA is overshooting the safe done temperature. Some food is just not very good when cooked to the recommended safe temperature.

For years, the USDA recommended to cook pork to 160°F which yielded a very dry, tough, tasteless pork loin, pork tenderloin, pork chop, etc.

I have always cooked pork to 140-145 as do most other chefs and recently the USDA changed their safe temperature to only 145°F for all cuts of pork that are not ground.. making a better finished product that is, in fact, safe to eat.

What about appetizers that use ground beef or pork?

Anything that uses ground beef or pork must be cooked to at least 160°F in order for it to be safe. Most bacteria and pathogens live on the outside of the meat.

When the meat is ground, these are spread thoughout the meat and it must be cooked to a high temperature of 160°F to make sure it is safe.

Pork

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

12-14 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

205°F

Notes: Also called pork shoulder, Boston butt or butt roast. See all pork butt recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

5 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

195°F

Notes: These are done when they get tender, not before. Extra meaty* baby backs may require an extra hour to get tender. See all baby back ribs recipes here

*Extra meaty just means more of the pork loin was left attached. Pork loin is a lean meat and tends to dry out when it is cooked beyond 145°F.

For this reason, I recommend purchasing baby back ribs that are NOT extra meaty for a much better eating experience.

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

6 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

195°F

Notes: These are done when they get as tender as you like them. See all spare ribs recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

4 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

145°F

Notes: Pork loin is delicious but very lean. I recommend pulling it from the smoker at about 141°F and letting the carryover cooking bring it on up to a perfect 145°F. See all pork loin recipes here

Pit Temp:

225-240°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

145°F

Notes: These are great when smoked and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces for sliders. See all tenderloin recipes here

Poultry

Pit Temp:

250-275°F

Time:

3-4 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

165°F

Notes: Chicken does best with higher than normal smoker temps. See all whole chicken recipes here

Pit Temp:

250-275°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

175°F

Notes: Best when cooked to around 175°F to allow the connective tissue to break down and tenderize the meat. See all chicken leg recipes here | See all chicken thigh recipes here

Pit Temp:

250-275°F

Time:

1.5 to 2 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

175°F

Notes: Wings are white meat but also benefit from cooking to a higher temperature such as 175-180°F before calling them done. See all chicken wings recipes here

Pit Temp:

250-275°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

175°F

Notes: Chicken quarters are the leg and thigh attached. Cook to at least 175°F for best results. See all chicken quarters recipes here

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

5-7 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

155°F

Notes: 12 lbs or smaller recommended. If you need more than 12 lbs of turkey, simply cook multiple turkeys. USDA allows for a finish temp of 150°F as long as the turkey is held at that temperature for 3.8 minutes.

I usually recommend cooking to 155°F and this more than satisfies the 150 degree recommendation for 3.8 minutes and produces a turkey that is so juicy you'll have trouble believing it's turkey.

See all whole turkey recipes here

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

4 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

155°F

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

3-4 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

175°F

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

1 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

165°F

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

165°F

Chef Temp:

165°F

Notes: Also called rock hens or game hens. See all cornish hen recipes here

Fish & Seafood

Pit Temp:

220°F

Time:

1 hr

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

135°F

Notes: Cook at 160°F for cool smoked salmon See all salmon recipes here

Tilapia

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

1 hr

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

140°F

Whole Trout

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

1 hr

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

140°F

Notes: Notes here. See all fish recipes here

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

45 min

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

135°F

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

35 min

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

140°F

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. See all oyster recipes here

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

45-60 min

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

140°F

Notes: Use a super-fast thermometer such as the thermapen to check temperature carefully. Do not overcook.. See all scallop recipes here

Pit Temp:

225°F

Time:

20-30 min

Safe Temp:

145°F

Chef Temp:

140°F

Notes: Cues for done shrimp include bright pink color, opaque flesh and a “C” shape. See all shrimp recipes here

Miscellaneous

Brats

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Notes:Brats should not be overcooked. About 2 hours at 225°F is usually perfect. Make sure they reach at least 160°F before calling them done.

Boudin

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Notes: These are best cooked to time. 2 hours at 225°F will yield perfect results most of the time. Make sure you are using an accurate smoker thermometer.

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

1 hr

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

1 hr

Safe Temp:

160°F

Chef Temp:

160°F

Vegetables

Corn on the Cob

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

2 hrs

Safe Temp:

n/a

Chef Temp:

n/a

Notes:

Pit Temp:

240°F

Time:

2-3 hrs

Safe Temp:

n/a

Chef Temp:

n/a

Get Jeff’s Products!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

150 Comments

  1. Hi Jeff. Love your site and all of the fantastic recipes. You’ve become my only go site!! Love your rubs and sauce recipes as well.
    I was looking at your book. Just wondering if it is just a printed version of what you have on the site? Or are they new and different recipes?
    Thanks again for all of your work!

    1. The recipes in the book are unique to the book.. you may see similar things on the website but not exact. For instance, you will find smoked whole turkey in the book as well as on the recipe and while the cook times are about the same, there are parts of the process that are different such as the brining, seasoning, etc.

  2. I am still pretty new to this, and I have a question. I did a 5 pound pork loin yesterday and did it at 225 for about 5 hours, The flavor was good but it was dryer tha a popcorn fart. What did I do wrong?

    1. It was a loin. It should not be cooked past about 140F internal temp. It has no fat, so there is no reason to go low and slow. That is for tough meats with lots of connective tissue.

    2. Try injecting with apple cider, pineapple juice or something of your choice. You can also try soaking the loin in a marinade . When smoking try 2hrs, smoked 2 hrs. wrapped in foil with some juice and last hr. uncovered .Pork like chicken has no flavor of it’s own . Also use a meat prob so you don’t over cook it .Good luck

  3. “Hi Jeff Phillips,
    Hope you are doing well. This blog will help the beginners who don’t understand the cooking time and temperature properly. Would you please tell me which type of wood is suitable for pork butt? And what should be the temperature for that?

    1. Alex, for pork butt I love to use pecan or a mix of pecan and cherry. Maintain about 225-240°F in the smoker and let the pork butt cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 205°F for fall apart pulled pork. If you are wanting it sliceable, then around 190 is a better internal temp to shoot for. Expect about 12-14 hours total cook time.

  4. Cannot locate the archived recipes on your site. What happened to them? Always found them extremely helpful.

  5. My comment here is not following a particular thread, but only offered as enlightening on construction or modification of existing smokers / grills.

    Some metals are not safe for construction of or modifications to cooking (smoking) devices

    Any metal that has been galvanized will release zinc oxide vapor when exposed to heat that are toxic /poisonous that can be life threading when inhaled. The toxic zinc oxide can also permeate the food being cooked and when ingested can cause multiple health
    Problems, including death

    Copper /brass: cooking salty food in copper vessel is not advised simply because iodine present in salt quickly reacts with copper, which releases more copper particles. Hence, you must be careful before cooking in such utensils.

    Any Chrome plated metal: Chrome is a thin electroplated coating on metal and will delaminate when exposed to heat. Additionally, Chrome is poison. Either hexavalent chromium or trivalent chromium may be used to produce chrome. The electroplating chemicals for both processes are toxic and regulated in many countries. Hexavalent chromium is extremely toxic, so trivalent chrome or tri-chrome tends to be more popular for modern applications.

    Aluminum will release oxides of aluminum when heated and be harmful to health. In the 1970s, a Canadian researcher published a study stating that he had found high levels of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

    Ceramic coatings are based on silica sand which some can have heavy metals like lead and cadmium and especially if colored red. There are test kits available to use on ceramics for these components:

    https://www.amazon.com/First-Alert-LT1-Premium-Lead/dp/B000FSOYSQ

  6. I keep a spreadsheet on smoking times with columns for type of meat, weather, weight of meat, time, temperature of smoker, final meat temperature, and calculate average smoke time per lb.for everything I smoke.

  7. First of all, THANK YOU for everything. I would not be the smoking maestro without all the info you have given me.
    But for this article, I question the accuracy or at least need a reason for what I believe is a discrepancy. You have listed the cooking time for chicken legs and thighs at 2 hours but for chicken quarters you say 4 hours at the same temperature. What am I missing here. Same meat…just cut. Separate by one inch and the time is cut in half??? PLMK TY

  8. Jeff, Love your newsletter …. Love the Time and Temperature Chart …. I noticed that you forgot Bacon …. cooking Bacon all by itself. Bacon done in the smoker is perfect for BLTs …. and tasty on salads as well. I notice you do bacon wrapped things often. How about posting just a bacon recipe no seasonings ? Thanks for all the hard work you do in keeping your newsletter fresh.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    Suggestions?

    Thanks for any help you could offer.

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

    2. 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.

      1. After 6 hours in the smoker (even 4 hours is sufficient to get a good smoke) wrap brisket well with double layers of foil and then continue to cook at 225F for about another 4-6 hrs. I don’t bother to do this on my smoker, but rather just put it on my gas grill since it will not be absorbing any more smoke anyway. Also easier to maintain temp on gas grill.

    3. 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

    4. Just let it smoke, smoke, and smoke.
      Keep a container with water in it, and if you’re really worried about it drying out, wrap it in foil to contain those juices – no shame..

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

  13. Jeff,
    if I could I would oner you with a Nobel Price in Culinary sciences

    Edward, Pmq., NSW, Aussie

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

  15. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  17. 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.

      1. 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.”

        http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/11/14-0891_article

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

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

          1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  18. 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!

  19. 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?

    1. 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).

    1. 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.

  20. 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?

  21. 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

    1. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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…

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

    1. 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:
      http://www.smoking-meat.com (where we are right now)
      http://www.bbqrecipesecrets.com/bbqsauce
      http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/rubs_pastes_marinades_and_brines/the_science_of_rubs.html

      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.

  28. 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

    1. 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.

  29. @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.

    1. 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.

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

    1. Saw your question on smoking-meat.com. 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.

    1. 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..

      1. 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 .

        Derek

    1. 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…

  32. 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?

    1. 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’

  33. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  35. 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

  36. 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)

  37. 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.

  38. 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 ?

    1. 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.