Want to know how the smoking times and temperature affects your meat? Do not fret over it, we are here to explain to you just how easy it is to do it. After you’ve been through it, you’ll already be armed with your thermometer, meat, and smoker to plan your BBQ.
Smoking (meat and fish and veggies) is another type of cooking involving mainly the process of cooking the food by exposing it to smoke from a burning material, most of the time wood. It can be done in two basic ways, which happens to be Hot Smoking and Cold Smoking. The former is done in temperatures between 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 200 degrees Fahrenheit while the latter is done in temperature less than 100 degrees.
For smoking to be done well, you should have the right supplies and equipment. It could potentially be anything from a hole in the ground to a drum smoker or box smoker and can range from each type of food it can hold.
It is a general advice that to get the best smoker, you should use only hardwood. These are typically in the form of Oak, Hickory among others. Some smokers can also use pellets, charcoal, and propane. Now without any further ado, let’s take a look at the different types of meat you can smoke and what are the smoking times and temperatures.
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Beef smoking times and temperatures
Tips: Beef Brisket
Brisket smoking time is usually between 12 – 20 hrs. Being one of the classic barbecue meat, it might pretty stressful to smoke it right but if you just follow the instructions then it will be good. Keep in mind that once the brisket smoking temperature is around 195°F, then the meat is done. A tip for cooking brisket is that the higher the thickness of flat area, the higher should be the temperature but your smoker temperature should be between 225°F – 250°F.
One thing that you should make sure is not to succumb to opening the grill from time to time unless it is for adding wood or the fuel you are using. Now to know exactly if the brisket is done, just stick the tip of a knife into it or even a fork, if it twists easily, then it’s done.
Tips: Back Ribs (Beef)
Now beef smoking ribs time (back ribs) is always usually around 4 – 6 hrs. To be done rightly, you should probably cut the ribs apart before starting. Also make sure you have either let the ribs thaw if it was frozen or if you have just gone to the butcher, pick those of the pinkest in color since it will cook better.
Your smoker temperature should around 225°F – 250°F and when done, your rib temperature should be around 185°F – 190°F. A tip for you to check the temperature of the meat is to get a meat thermometer.
Pork smoking times and temperatures
Tips: Pork shoulder (or Pork Butt)
Pork shoulder smoking time or Pork Butt smoking time (Pork butt is the upper shoulder) usually takes about 1 hour per pound of meat, so the ideal size being 12 pounds, meaning more or less 12 hours for the meat smoking time. Make sure your pork shoulder is already thawed a few hours before you plan to smoke it. Once you have it, put it onto your table and start by putting your favorite rub all over the piece of meat. We usually recommend BBQ rub but you might choose one of your preference.
Make sure you trim the excess fat of the meat as well. Like most big chunks of meat, it is better to use the low and slow method which like you may have guessed it keeping the smoker temperature around 225 – 250 °F.
Once you have followed all of the above method then, you just need to keep an eye onto your meat thermometer. Once the meat hits around 160 – 165 °F, take it off and wrap it in aluminum foil then put it back until it gets to around 190 – 195 °F.
Tips: Baby Back Rib
Baby back rib smoking time usually takes about 5 hours at a temperature of 225 – 250 °F which meat considered done at 180 °F. As a tip the meat of the baby back ribs take an hour extra to get tender and done. Once that is done, you apply your preferred rubbing then put it in your pre-heated smoker. Remember to keep adding wood when necessary and do not open every time just to check if the meat smells good.
Tips: Pork Sausage
Pork sausage usually takes about 1-3 hours to smoke at a constant smoker temperature of 225 – 250 °F and 165 °F when done.
You should preheat your smoker for at least one hour before putting your sausages into it. Once the sausages are on, add some wood to get the heat higher and to produce more smoke. Make sure you have your digital meat thermometer next to you as you will need to get your sausage internal temperature up to at least 160°F.
For sausages, there is no need to turn them over, and make sure to put some needle sizes hole to allow the heat to escape so that it does not lose shape.
Lamb smoking times and temperatures
Tips: Lamb Leg
Lamb leg ideally cooks for duration of 4 – 8 hours at smoker temperature of 225 – 250 °F. Until your lamb shows temperature of between 140 – 150 °F which you can check via a meat thermometer, you should not remove it.
You should maintain the smoker temperature in the range above for better results. A tip is to marinade your lamb about 5-10 hours earlier and soak it in a plastic back before the time of smoking it. As usual make sure the meat is thawed before putting it in the smoker or else it might cook only on the surface leaving you with a raw inside.
Tips: Lamb Shoulder
Lamb shoulder typically takes 5 – 5.5 hours to cook at smoker temperature 225 – 250 °F with meat done with its temperature showing 170 °F onto your thermometer. Now here are some tips before smoking your first lamb shoulder. If it’s your first I would advise you to go with a boneless one since it’s easier to cut and shred.
Also before cooking, make sure you trim the excess fat and rub the meat with your favorite mixture or paste. Like all smoked meat, stick your knife into it to see if it’s done and make sure to spray occasionally if it’s not done yet.
Poultry smoking times and temperatures
Tips: Whole turkey
The smoking turkey time is usually around 4 – 5 hours at a constant smoker temperature of 275 – 350 °F and considered to be ready when meat is around 170 °F.
For turkey, you should probably rub the skin with the oil of your choice and add some of your preferred rubbing. Once you’re done with that, preheat your smoker to the required temperature and after a while, put your turkey into the smoker. Close the lid and add hardwood pellets when needed.
Tips: Whole Chicken
The smoking time of whole chicken is about 2-3 hours since chicken is one of the easiest things to smoke. However like many other types of poultry, it requires to be smoked at a much higher temperature than beef and pork. After all smoking times and temperature varies from meat to meat, and for chicken, the smoker temperature should be maintained around 275 – 350 °F with the internal temperature hitting approximately 170 °F before being considered done.
As with most smoked meat, preparation is key, so make sure you do the rubbing a few hours before smoking it as it will give the chicken meat some color. For chickens apart from the temperature using your thermometer, it is not required to keep checking meat from time to time.
Just make sure there is enough wood and smoke and you should be sorted.
Tips: Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs smoking time is a lot less that most smoking since it’s about 1.5 hours. It is still smoked at a temperature of 275 – 350 °F with the meat temperature considered done at 170 °F which seems to be the benchmark for chicken. We usually go the low and slow process like always to get optimum cooking results.
Why we go low and slow is so that you can get the skin crispy for better enjoyment. If you follow the temperatures and steps above, you should get a tender and juicy meat on bite which is infused with the flavor rubbings of your choice.
You should however check from time to time to prevent it from overcooking. Do make sure that you always have your digital thermometer in hand to know when the meat is done, since you wouldn’t want a chewy meat
Seafood smoking times and temperatures
Tips: Salmon filet
Smoking salmon time and temperature should be 1 hour and 220 °F respectively to get the best result out of your Salmon filet.
First of all, you should mix some brine ingredient along with your fish into a plastic container; you can then put it into the refrigerator. Next you have to dry the fish and pat the brine dry.
Once you’re done with that, let your fish dry for 2 – 4 hours maximum. Once you are ready, preheat your smoker to the required temperature as stated above and place it inside then close the lid. After one hour in the smoker, you can take the cover off, and spray it into the syrup or paste of your choice for every subsequent hour. Once the required time has passed, you can take your salmon filet off the smoker and enjoy it, preferably with a salad.
Tips: Whole Trout
Smoking trout temperature should always be at 225 °F and it should smoke for 1 hour with the fish temperature to reach 145 °F before being considered done. Like salmon, trout should be mixed with brine and kept into a glass or plastic container so as to get ready. Don’t put too much of brine though since trout doesn’t really need it that much.
The brining can be done with 1 tablespoon of salt or kosher salt for every cup of water.After having let it rest for a few hours, you need to tap the brine out of it dry. A few tips or ideas of seasoning are to add some black pepper, olive oil and garlic if you wish. The most important step to not forget though is to clean the fish before brining.
Trout smoking time though generally 1hr, it can be let to smoke a little more to add some more flavor. You should however watch out so that the fish doesn’t dry out, although you can leave them in the smoker for up to 4 hours at the specified temperature.
Since we’re done with a pick out of most time of meat or fish, let’s review some important question
Vegetable & Miscellaneous
Tips: Smoked Potatoes
For potatoes, you can rub them in butter with some generous seasoning (salt and pepper and etc.). When you are ready to smoke them, make sure to toss a few more wood into the smoker. The potatoes should be at the center of it before covering. Potatoes takes about 2 – 3 hours to get smoked at a temperature of 225 – 240 °F. There is no real guide of the potato temperature but make sure you follow the duration of cooking it.
Tips: Smoked Corn
For smoked corn, the process is pretty easy. You should place it into a pan or oven equipment and pour some butter or oil all over it. It smoking time is pretty quick being 1.5 – 2 hours at a smoker temperature of 225 – 240 °F. You should not forget to keep adding wood so that the temperature hover between the mentioned one. As a plus, since it does not take lots of space, you can smoke it along with your potatoes. So that’s two veggie plates in one cooking.
How weather affects the smoking time and temperature?
Smoking done outdoor can have some effects onto the meat. In some cases even if the temperature is set at the desired level, the meat temperature may not rise at all due to the temperature difference of inside and outside.
Most smokers are tested inside when manufactured. A tip to counter it to some extent is to keep a cover or lid to go along with it. Although some temperature might still be saved, it is better than nothing, you don’t want to smoke your meat inside for a birthday party or event.
How to measure the temperature?
To check the temperature, you should probably have to buy a good digital meat thermometer. The meat thermometer checks the internal temperature of the meat so that to know if it’s cooked or not. It also helps greatly to see if your smoked meat is done or not as without it, you would be left guessing and might ingest overcooked or undercooked meat which might be harmful to your health.
Here you can see the steps needed to check your meat temperature once it’s done.
What would you need to determine the food is cooked in the right way or not?
Now back in the time when people wanted to determine if their meat was smoked or not, they would just check the clock or cut a piece of the meat to taste.This can make the whole meat lose some of its flavor. Nowadays, we don’t have to do all of that since we have digital meat thermometers where you just stick it into the meat and it will tell you the exact temperature it is.
From that you will know if it’s time to eat it now. Another tip although for pork meat, you just press your finger onto the wrapping, if the meat indents, then you know it is cooked.
Here are a few tips:
- First of all, I would advise you to follow the times and temperature specified
- The type of smoker you use might also vary the cooking time
- Normally it is better to use hardwood, but some people use charcoal as well as some other types of fuel
- Is the meat boneless (easier to cook) or bone-in?
- Also the thickness of the meat since some meat cook at a rate of 1 hour per pound
Once you’ve read the smoking times and temperature of all those types of meat, I would advise you to check all the outside conditions that may affect your smoking. Remember smoking times and temperature vary from meat to meat so don’t expect all of them to be the same by cooking at the same time and temperature.
What to do if the food is overcooked or undercooked?
Now the most common problem people have is that they are new to smoking and end up overcooking the meat. Then they fret that it’s wasted and can’t do anything about it. You can though! What you will have to do is to put it back in the smoker and start reheating it back slowly at a lower temperature, this will allow the meat to tenderize again. This can probably only be done once, so do not mess up this time too.
Otherwise, if you cannot do that, you can always shred the meat and use it in traditional dishes or even use it as a base for another dish.
For undercooked meat, make sure you shred it in small places and cook it on double the temperature. Do not eat before you’ve smoked it again since it can be harmful to your health.
Once you’ve found the steps you need to cook your type of food. Then follow the steps and Bon Appétit!