Free Printable Smoking Times and Temperatures Chart

Rate this post

The first step in becoming a pit master is knowing precisely what temperature to smoke at and when to remove your meal.

What you can’t tell from programs like BBQ Pit Masters is that even the pros use a decent digital meat thermometer to gauge the temperature in their smoker and to know when the meat is at its tenderest.

Use this chart to determine what temperature to smoke beef brisket, hog butt, fish, or sausage at and what temperature your meal is cooked at.

We’ve also provided an estimated cooking time, but always use temperature to decide when the meat is done.

Download a free copy of our smoking timings and temperatures charts to have on hand for future reference.

Download a free copy of our smoking times and temperatures charts to have on hand.

Beef smoking times and temperatures

Smoking Times and Temperatures Chart: Free Printable Download

Smoker Temp Finished Temp Smoking Time
Beef brisket 225 – 250°F 190 – 205°F 12 – 20 hours
Back ribs 225 – 250°F 185 – 190°F 3 – 4 hours
Short ribs 225 – 250°F 190 – 200°F 6 – 8 hours
Spare ribs 225 – 250°F 190 – 203°F 5 – 6 hours
Prime rib 225 – 250°F 135°F for Medium 15 minutes/lb
Chuck roast 225 – 250°F 190 – 200°F 12 – 20 hours
Rump roast 225 – 250°F 145°F for Well Done 30 minutes/lb
Whole ribeye 225 – 250°F 135°F for Medium 25 minutes/lb
Tenderloin 225 – 250°F 130 – 140°F 2 ½ – 3 hours
Tri-tip 225 – 250°F 130 – 140°F 2 – 3 hours
Sausage 225 – 250°F 160°F 30 – 60 mins

How to tell when smoked brisket is done

The optimal temperature for smoked brisket is typically between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, with many pitmasters aiming for 203 degrees.

Remember that the brisket will continue to cook while resting, and the temperature may rise by 10°F or more.

whether you’re not sure whether your brisket is done, look for the following signs:

  • The whole muscle jiggles like a bowl of jello
  • You probe it with a toothpick, and it slips in like warm butter.

Beef smoking time notes

  • When cooking a prime rib, you may remove it from the smoker and finish it on the grill or in a hot oven to brown the outside.
  • Fresh sausages without cure must be cooked at higher temperatures than sausages with the appropriate quantity of cure.

Pork smoking times and temperatures

Smoker Temp Finished Temp Smoking Time
Pork butt 225 – 250°F 205°F 1.5 hours/lb
Baby back ribs 225 – 250°F 180°F 5 hours
Spare ribs 225 – 250°F 180 – 185°F 5 – 7 hours
Loin 225 – 250°F 145°F 4 – 5 hours
Belly bacon less than 100°F 140°F 6 hours
Whole hog 225 – 250°F 205°F 16 – 18 hours
Tenderloin 225 – 250°F 160°F 2 ½ – 3 hours
Pork sausage 225 – 250°F 165°F 1 – 3 hours

How to tell when smoked pork butt is done?

Cook pig butt until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 195°F, however many people like it to reach 203°F.

  • A usual estimate for cooking time for pork butt is 2 hours per pound of pork.
  • From start to finish, an 8lb pork butt might take up to 16 hours.

How to tell if your ribs are done?

Ribs are safe to eat around 145°F, but they aren’t normally considered done until the fat and collagen have melted and become soft, which happens at 190-203°F.

  • Allow 4-5 hours for a complete slab of baby back ribs to cook and 6-7 hours for a slab of spare ribs to cook.
  • BBQ ribs that have been properly cooked should not slip off the bone.
  • The greatest indicator of a well cooked slab of ribs is when it begins to crack on the surface when gently tapped with a pair of BBQ tongs.
  • When the ribs are done, the flesh will begin to peel away from the bones neatly.

Lamb smoking times and temperatures

Smoker Temp Finished Temp Smoking Time
Lamb leg 225 – 250°F 140 – 150°F 4 – 8 hours
Lamb shank 225 – 250°F 190°F 4 – 5 hours
Lamb shoulder 225 – 250°F 170°F 5 – 5 ½ hours
Lamb rack 200 – 225°F 135 – 140°F 1 ¼ hours

Poultry smoking times and temperatures

Smoker Temp Finished Temp Smoking Time
Chicken whole 275 – 350°F 170°F 2 – 3 hours
Chicken quarters 275 – 350°F 170°F 1 – 2 hours
Chicken thighs 275 – 350°F 170°F 1 ½ hours
Chicken wings 275 – 350°F 170°F 1 ¼ hours
Turkey whole 275 – 350°F 170°F 4 – 5 hours
Turkey leg 275 – 350°F 170°F 2 – 3 hours
Turkey wings 275 – 350°F 170°F 2 – 2 ½ hours
Turkey breast 275 – 350°F 165°F 4 hours
Quail / Pheasant 225°F 165°F 1 hour
Cornish Hens 240°F 165°F 2 hours
Whole duck 225 – 250°F 165°F 4 hours


  • Stick to a 10-14 pound bird for a complete smoked turkey. Larger than this, and the meat may remain in the danger zone for an extended period of time.

Fish and seafood smoking times and temperatures

Smoker Temp Finished Temp Smoking Time
Salmon whole 200°F 145°F Starts to flake
Whole trout 225°F 145°F 1 hour
Salmon filet 220°F 145°F 1 hour
Tilapia filet 220°F 145°F 1 hour
Lobster tails 225°F 140°F 45 min
Oysters 225°F N/A 30 – 40 min
Scallops 225°F 145°F 45 – 60 min
Shrimp 225°F N/A 20 – 30 min

The problem with relying on temperature charts

Temperature charts are an excellent resource. It’s extremely useful as a rookie to be able to rapidly monitor the time, temperature, and average cooking time in one convenient location.

Any temperature chart, however, will be rejected by an experienced pitmaster.

The truth is that you can cook good barbecue low and slow at 225F or hot and rapid at 350F+.

-10 to 20 degrees.There is also no precise temperature for identifying whether brisket or pork butt is done. The ideal temperature for pulling your meat varies by +

It is also difficult to provide precise cooking time predictions. Meat’s form, thickness, and diameter may all be as essential as its weight.

This implies that calculating minutes or hours per pound is always an approximation.

All of the following elements may have an effect on smoking time:

  • Are you cooking bone-in or deboned meat?
  • Meat thickness and diameter (rather than total weight)
  • How much connective tissue and fat there is.
  • The time it takes will depend on how well insulated your smoker is and the weather (allow more time if cooking in the snow).
  • Extreme weather and humidity in the smoker may significantly delay down cooking time.
  • The kind of smoker might also have an impact. claims that Because there is less ventilation with an electric smoker, your meat will cook quicker.

For additional information on this issue, we offer a comprehensive reference to the key eight elements that determine cooking time.

In this tutorial, we’ve generally used low and slow smoker temps and periods. While this is a decent starting point, you may certainly modify them.

Smoked lamb, for example, may be smoked hot and quickly at 300-350 F for a shorter time period and still have a good crust.

You’ll have a good barbeque if you cook your meat to the required safe (and tasty) temperature and maintain your temperature stable.

This is why a dual probe thermometer configuration, such as the ThermoWorks Smoke, is always recommended.

Meat temperature health and safety

Because smoking utilizes significantly lower temperatures than other techniques of cooking, a few restrictions must be followed.

You don’t want to be the one to poison your BBQ visitors (unless it’s your obnoxious neighbor).

Welcome to the (meat smoking) danger zone

When meat sits at temperatures ranging from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, dangerous germs may swiftly proliferate. You just have roughly 4 hours before things get hazardous.

This is also cumulative. If you smoke your meat for 3 hours and then rest it for 1 hour, you will have met your 4-hour limit.

For your safety:

  • Always defrost meat fully before putting it in the smoker.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator and never reuse raw meat or poultry marinade.
  • Cook poultry to the USDA’s minimum temperature recommended.
  • Eat no smoked meat that has been in the fridge for more than four days.

Remember the 4-hour timeframe (or stock up on toilet paper) and you’ll be OK. has a chart that compares optimal done temperatures to the USDA minimum recommended.

However, the USDA advice should not be taken as gospel.

They have revised their advice multiple times throughout the years.

Many carnivores would shake their heads at their overdone steaks at their current suggested done temp.

Some of the done temperatures in our guide, on the other hand, much surpass the USDA standard.

For example, we advocate cooking beef brisket and hog butt up to 205 F, even though the USDA recommends just 145 F.

This brings us to our next big point.

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

The slow and low cooking method dissolves the connective tissue present in tougher pieces of beef. As a consequence, meats taste very delicate even when cooked far beyond well done requirements.

Meathead Goldwyn,Are my ribs ready yet?

When it comes to barbeque, I distinguish between done and ready, which is a narrow semantic line to walk.

Meat is cooked when the temperature at its thickest point reaches the safe eating temperature. That doesn’t imply it’s ready.

According to the USDA, ribs are done when the internal temperature reaches 145°F, although they may still be rough. When heated to 190 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit, the collagens and lipids melt, making the flesh more soft and moist. Then they’ll be ready! Do you see the difference?

Depending on what you’re preparing, you may have to wait even after the meat is properly done.

Many folks remove brisket from the barbecue at roughly 190-200F and wrap it in a cooler for about two hours. The brisket continues to cook and tenderizes.

How to accurately measure smoker and meat temperature

Maintaining a steady temperature and understanding when to remove your meat from the smoker are two critical skills to master if you want to cook outstanding barbecue.

This means you must continually check the interior ambient smoker temperature as well as the temperature in the core of your meat.

Fortunately, many popular thermometers, such as the ThermoWorks Smoke, enable you to connect two temperature sensors to a single digital WiFi device, allowing you to precisely monitor the temperature of your smoker from the comfort of your own home.

To obtain an accurate smoker temperature for where your meat is really cooking, place one probe slightly lifted off the grill, near to where the meat is resting (ignore that dome thermometer).

The other probe may be put into the meat’s thickest section. Just make sure it isn’t contacting any bones or sitting in a pocket of fat, since this may greatly distort your reading.

The image below depicts a good thermometer setup for smoking a pork butt.

A leave-in thermometer will not function while cooking anything smaller, such as fish.

It is far more vital to use an instant read thermometer to monitor the interior temperature of smaller foods such as sausages, pork ribs, or fish.

Some would chuckle and suggest that probing anything will tell you how done it is, but we can promise you it is nonsense.

In this guide to mastering temperature management, we go over how to correctly set up your thermometer and rate the finest leave in and instant read thermometers.

Tips for managing a long smoke

If you’re new to smoking, cooking for 4-16 hours at a time introduces a whole new set of obstacles that you won’t find in ordinary cooking.

1. Dealing with the dreaded bbq ‘stall’

When they experience the dreaded stall, almost every newbie panics. You thought you had plenty of time for the brisket, but your thermometer has been reporting the same temperature for the previous 2 hours.

Almost everyone commits the traditional smoker’s error and panics at this point.

However, you do not have to be one of these newcomers. When this happens to you, you’ll see that the stall is just a normal process that occurs when a brisket reaches 165 degrees. Moisture is released and evaporates when the meat cooks, chilling it down.

This technique might lead the thermometer to remain stationary for hours. But if you remain tough and push through, you’ll be cooked in no time.

2. Over smoking the meat

Just because you need to cook something for 12 hours doesn’t mean you have to keep adding wood.

Extra smoke will usually have decreasing benefits once your meat has reached 140 degrees.

You must also take care to get the correct sort of smoke. Using green wood or failing to keep the fire temperature under control might result in an excess of creosote (one of the chemicals in smoke), resulting in a terrible bitter taste.

3. Controlling the temperature inside your grill

Maintaining a consistent temperature of 225-250F might be difficult. This is especially important if you are new to cooking with charcoal and controlling a fire.

You must avoid panicking when you see a fever increase. Frequently, you will overcorrect and shut all of the vents, suffocating the fire. Then you get trapped in a cycle of over-adjustment.

While some people prefer a more set-it-and-forget-it smoker, such as a gas or electric smoker, controlling a charcoal smoker is really rather simple with a little skill.

  • Always get thesmoker stabilized before adding your meat by letting it sit for 15 to 20 minutes with a thermometer away from direct heat until the temperature stabilizes.
  • Maintaining a full waterpan in the barbeque chamber also aids in heat absorption and temperature regulation.
  • When the temperature becomes too high or excessively low, make very tiny changes to the valves and then wait several minutes before adjusting further.

Wrapping it up

We hope you find the smoking temperature charts above useful. Remember that this is just a starting point to assist you. You are the pit boss, therefore it is up to you to give it a go, tweak as you go, and remember for the next time.

If you believe we have made a mistake, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Download a free copy of our smoking timings and temperatures charts to have on hand for future reference.

Feature CC Image courtesy of in2kon Flickr


What temp is best for most smoke?

The key to smoking is maintaining a consistent temperature. Most smokers like temperatures ranging from 225°F to 250°F.

Is it better to smoke a pork shoulder at 225 or 250?

For the best results, smoke the pork shoulder at a low temperature of 250°F for 8-10 hours to prevent it from drying out.

Does meat get more tender the longer you smoke it?

Smoking meat changes the way it cooks and has a significant impact on the overall taste. Long-term smoking of meat causes collagen (a tough muscle tissue protein) to break down, making the flesh more soft. This is a result that does not occur when grilling meat alone.

Should I smoke at 180 or 225?

Choose 180 degrees Fahrenheit if you desire slight smokiness, have high-quality meat, and have 8-10 hours to simmer the meal. If you desire a more smoky taste, have a piece of meat with irregular marbling, and want to cook quickly, go with 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is 250 too hot for smoking?

The specialists recommend smoking brisket at three temperatures: 225°, 250°, and 275° Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures are considered to be about 225° F, whereas higher temperatures are considered to be between 250° and 275° F. This article will just cover how long to cook brisket at 250° F.

How many hours per pound to smoke meat?

Expect 1 to 12 hours of cook time per pound if your temperature is set between 225-250°F.

What meat smokes the fastest?

Chicken thighs are by far one of the quickest meats to smoke that can serve a big gathering while also being the simplest to prepare. Because there is no need to brine or marinade the meat, the only thing left to do is trim the fat and apply a spice rub before starting up the smoker.

What temperature is slow smoking?

“Low and slow” experts normally advocate maintaining your smoker’s internal air temperature at about 225°F (107°C) throughout the cook.

Add a Comment

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