Smoking Times and Temperatures

I have been asked many times to put together a basic table of times and temperatures for smoking meats. This is the times and temperatures that I use but please understand that they are only guidelines.

All smokers are different and add in the other variables like weather conditions, wind, ambient temperature, etc. and things can vary by as much as an hour or more.

Learn to tell doneness visually as well as with temperature and time and you will be a much better chef at the smoker.

Type of Meat Smoking Temp Time to Complete Finished Temp
Brisket (Sliced) 225°F 1.5 hours/pound 180 degrees
Brisket (Pulled) 225°F 1.5 hours/pound 195 degrees
Beef Ribs 225°F 3 hours 175 degrees
Pork Butt (Sliced) 225°F 1.5 hours/pound 175 degrees
Pork Butt (Pulled) 225°F 1.5 hours/pound 190-205
Whole Chicken 250°F 4 hours 167 degrees
Chicken Thighs 250°F 1.5 hours 167 degrees
Chicken Quarters 250°F 3 hours 167 degrees
Whole Turkey 12# 240°F 6.5 hours 170 degrees
Turkey Leg 250°F 4 hours 165 degrees
Turkey Wings 225°F 2.5 hours 165 degrees
Boudin 230°F 2.5 hours 165 degrees
Breakfast Sausage 230°F 3 hours 160 degrees
Fatties 225°F 3 hours 165 degrees
Meat Loaf 250 -300°F 3 hours 160 degrees
Meatballs (2 inch) 225°F 1 hour 165 degrees
Spare Ribs 225-240°F 6 hours 172 degrees
Baby Back Ribs 225-240°F 5 hours 168 degrees
Smoked Corn 225°F 1.5 – 2 hours N/A
Smoked Potatoes 225°F 2 – 2.5 Hours N/A

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


  1. Thank you for these guide. I was looking for the smoke meat temps. I am curious though. On some of them you have 225 and some you have 250. How come they are not all the same temperature? I’m new to it so I didn’t know. Thanks again.

    • my first smoker was traditional. Then went to electric. Much easier and was able to control the heat. Tastes great and is a lot of fun

  2. My temperatures on smoke cooking will vary to some degree.. I am constantly testing and improving my methods and for this reason I will post what I have had the best luck with.

    In general you will see that temperatures can range between 220 and 250. I usually try to hold it to 225-240 but that’s just me.

    For most things, you will do just fine if you keep it somewhere between 225-240 but there are meats such as poultry that can easily be cooked hotter if you wish.

    Chicken and turkey do not benefit “tenderness wise” from cooking low and slow however the low and slow gives more time in the smoke which increases the smokey flavor.

    There are processes such as brining which will also greatly improve the ability of the meat to handle the temperature swings without drying out especially poultry. I have a good writeup on brining at which should give you a really good idea of what it is and how to do it. It will change the way you expect poultry to taste for the rest of your life.

    Having said all of this.. I recommend that you keep a log of what you cook, how you cook it, weather conditions, etc. and you will begin to find what works best for you.

    What I provide is a place to start and hopefully you will tweak it to your own liking as you progress.

    • I just looked at the brining page and it’s great. Definately going to start doing that. But, I had a question. Do you literally soak the meat in the water and does that include all different meats? Is it possible to get a time to soak for different meats? Thanks for your time and advice.

    • Dear Jeff Thank You for the meat times and temps you have displayed. I am interested in chicken breast time and temps. The will be my first smoke . Once again thank you Kenny

    • Jeff,

      First time smoking a whole chicken. Are The times on your chart based on a certain weight?

    • eric jones says:

      is these temps for electric smokers

  3. Thanks for this great page.

  4. Jeremy Virts says:

    I built a smoker and am having trouble getting the temp up in the smoke box. The fire box only gets to about 200 degrees and 150 in the smoke box. This is a propane driven smoker on a trailer. I guess the first thing to do would be to get bigger burners for the firebox. Any suggestions out there?

    • find a different valve that puts out more presser or look and see if there’s a screw under a cap on the valve.lite the burner and turn the screw one way or the other that should work no need to buy something else.

      • You probably need more air. The local welding shop will have a brass fitting with holes drilled in it to mix air with the propane before it gets to burner. That was what my issue was. Not the burner size.

    • Michael G says:

      I found that if your smoker does not have enough “juice” to get to the temp you want and sustain it, it is probably “breathing” too much. On my gas driven smoker there was a 4 inch square hole for the smoke to escape. I covered it with a plate that has variable positions to open just a sliver or equivalent to about1/4 sq inch. Now my smoker retains so much heat that putting it on the lowest setting produces a box temp of 225. Perfect for me!!! good luck and happy Smoking

  5. Great post Thanks.

  6. Does the smoking time depend on the weight of chicken or what ever meat you are smoking?

  7. harry jordan says:

    to make up for opening and closing the smoker, shouldn’t they be cooked an extra hour?

  8. harry jordan says:

    cooking ribs – shouldn’t you add an extra hour because of opening/closing the lid to the smoker because of hourly spraying of apple juice?

    • james carvallyo sr says:

      as long as you watch the pull back on the bone you’ll do just fine. the meat will shrink back then it’s done.

  9. michael yanez says:

    This is perfect!!!!!!!

  10. E. Estrada says:

    Thanks for the temps Jeff. I have been using a charcoal vertical smoker (little smokie) for 4 years, but the brand of charcoal I had been relying on had changed its briquette reciepe and they were not getting hot enough, nor stayin hot long enough.

    The old smoker had a temp gauge which only said, low, ideal and high and was not sure exactly how hot was ideal.

    I will be using 225 to 250 F.

    Purchased a vertical LP smoker at a great price with lots of good reviews, but nearly all said not enough smoke from the chip box. So, I purchased two other chip boxes, one cast iron and the stainless steel, and going to see which provides most even and lasting smoke; the original, cast iron or the stainless steel.

    Photo documenting it as we go, that my son can use it for a science experiment for school.

    I will let you know what the results are if you are interested.

    • thats the secret 1 cast iron pan
      1 stanless pan
      the stanless will burn first for awhile and before it goes out the cast iron will take over at a hoter temp.
      put hickory in the ss
      apple in cast iron
      rib cage bbq team
      your welcome jim

  11. Kenny Czarnecki says:

    I just bought a Traeger Junior. Grilled Pork Loin and Whole Chicken for dinner tonight. What a hit. Any tips for this type of grill? I’m sold on it. Best I have ever used.

  12. I just transformed a 22inch charcoal grill into a electric smoker by installing a 1100watt hotplate on the bottom. On the first try, which is today, I noticed that it does real well on putting out smoke (using Hickory chunks not chips) but I see two problems already. 1 I see quite a bit of smoke escaping and 2 the max temp ive its gotten to is 190 and its been going for about a hour and a half. I can send pics of my project to a someones email if needed. Any suggestions on how to fix these issues to get it to the desired 225-250degree mark? Thanks, Chris

    • Chris,

      1100 watts seems to be a little low for that smoker.. most electric smokers that I have seen use a 1500 watt or higher element to control the temperature. In my opinion it would be better to have more wattage than you need and let it cycle on and off rather than a small one that will have to stay on the entire time and still not be able to keep up.

      The only other option I can think of would be to insulate it somehow.. perhaps use some of that aluminum backed insulation around it.

    • Hi there, i just put together an electric smoker from an old chest style freezer. I used a 1600 watt hotplate and i placed on top a cast iron pan and hickory woodchips inside. Now my problem is that i can not get temperatures higher than 80F and my intention was to make Hot smoking not cold….any ideas what’s wrong????

      • too much space to heat up with only 1 burner. try getting another burner too heat the box and one to heat a cast iron skillet filled with “damp ” wood chunks. dont forget the thermometers usually 2 one at the top and one midway up

      • The hot plate has a thermo switch in it that shuts it down when it gets to hot inside its a safety thing I had the same problem

  13. David h smith says:

    Great website cannt wait to try these produce

  14. Thank you so much for your effort. Happy 4th of July to all.

  15. just invested in a afos mini smoke house it has 3 chip draws on 1 side and eliment in the top with a thermostat the top gets to temp ok but the smoke oven dosnt seem to get as hot even with fan going .any info on this type of smoker

  16. The Smoking Guy says:

    I’ve been smoking a lot of things in my electric smoker, and my cooking times and temperatures are very similar to those listed on your guide. I wish this was available when I was trying to figure it all out. Thanks for sharing a great post with such useful information.

  17. I am from KC, and we love to smoke/bbq. I have had several different types of smokers over the years, and the best ones I have found are here: I have been using a good one for about 10 years now and it is a set it and forget it kind of smoker. I use both charcoal with wood logs and don’t have to add anything to the box for at least 13 hours. Good luck and happy smoking.

  18. Mike in Minny says:

    Thanks for the table. It’s nice to have when smoking up 3 or 4 different types of meat to use as a guide for when to add them to the smoker.

  19. BIG DAVE says:

    I Have had Big barrel Smokers using logs cant keep a consistent heat i got a New masterbuilt electric smoker for fathers day and man that is the cats meow it is so sweet set it and forget it that simple very few wood chips of your flavor and smokes as much as you want “WOW” Technoligy 🙂

    • G’day , Just got the same smoker -it is so easy to use.I would recommend it to anybody-done,ham- pork bacon -lamb bacon-chicken and salmon and all turned out great.

    • JonNTupelo says:

      I’ve had a Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse for years and it is without a doubt the best smoker I have ever used. Heat is easy to maintain, moisture inside the smoker keeps meat moist and juicy whether it is beef, venison, pork, chicken, turkey or fish. I’ve cooked them all with tremendous success !!!! Would reccomend for anyone who is serious about smoking delicious meat!

  20. Just found your cooking guide, will be using this info to smoke 70 chicken thighs today (4th of July, big party). Thanks,

  21. Really, beef ribs 3 hours, baby back ribs 5 hours. You know nothing

  22. Why no lamb?

  23. I am maintaining 225 in a smoker but internat temp of a brisket stays at 145. Any suggestions?

    • When this happens in the future… It is called hitting the stall. It gets stuck at a tempeture and won’t rise. You have 2 choices… Wait it out or Use the Texas crutch. Google texas crutch. It is used by many professionals that compete in smoking contest.

    • briskest and meats like pork butte (shoulder) have a lot of collagen in them, expect the cooks to range from 12-20 hours. The meat will hit 150-160 with no issue, but waiting for the collagen in the meat to break down into a flavorful gelatin takes a while. It’s well worth the wait though my friend. Patience is the virtue.

  24. 5 hrs for baby back and 6 for spare ribs???? thats a lil long. i do mine at 250 degrees for 4 hrs and they turn out GREAT! i have a oklahoma joe smoker.

  25. Great post. I wanted to point out for most meats, especially poultry, it’s normal to cook it at higher temps just to avoid the danger zone. The danger zone basically states meat should hit a temp of 140 in 4 hours, otherwise the bacterial growth risk is too high. Also, I think the estimates for ribs were dead on, especially if using the 321 or 221 methods. Adding 15 minutes to each smoke for everytime you open the lid should do fine if you’re worried about cook time ratio, but as stated, the a thermometer, and the meat, speak for themselves.

  26. Can you “over brine” a turkey? We were to brine our turkey for 12 hours and got delayed on smoking it. It has been 72 hours. Is longer better?

  27. for thos smokers with inconsistant temps, just add a hot batch of fuel, and let it slowly work down to a much lower temp, then add more fuel (prelit). this provides the avg temps to produce good foods, and makes for some really delicious products. Even in smaller batches more often, it will do you well. the trick is to watch for the highs, and the lows for refueling.

  28. Very helpful info thanks a bunch!!!!

  29. how long to cook italan sausage

  30. What is the “Finished Temp” column?
    Is this the internal temperatures of the meat?

  31. I have battled the heat problem with propane smoker for years, so finally decided to put inline NEEDLE VALVE in propane line. MAN what a difference this has made!!! I can now control temp within 5 degrees with no problem, then once temp established, I keep a steady temp using 2 bottom vents. I can get temps 120 to 359 degrees with ease, all doors closed. More info please reply

    • just found your post. Can you share a bit more about a needle valve? I’m new to this so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

  32. What does smoking temperature refer to? The temperature in the firebox? Or the temperature where the meat sits?

  33. HEATHER W. says:

    Thanks for having this up. We have a smoker and I’m not sure how i missed such beautiful
    cooking experince. The food variety that can be smoked is fanominal!!!

    and by the way what are “FATTIES” ???? the meat listed 7 from the bottom. I heard of smoking Fatties but those are illegal LOL . Maybe PATTIES you meant. I’m sorry I had to. I got the greatest laugh out of it. it truly made my day 🙂

    • Fatties; ground pork , beef , bacon. Think of pinwheels while making using the bacon to wrap the Fatties. Most use a stuffing mixture in the middle ..cheese, spinach… Experiment and enjoy.

  34. I am getting very nervous about smoking my Turkey for Thanksgiving!!! The weather forcast calls for cold temps outside Low 19 high 35. I am preparing a 16lb bird really concerned that the smoker will reach and maintain temp. Do not want to mess this up thinking of not smoking it and going the traditional route. BTW… I have an electric masterbuilt smoker.

  35. Scooter says:

    Great site,
    I have a very efficient smoker. I don’t have to open the door to add chips. I have a internal temp probe also. I dont have to open my door as much so the times and temps on here are a bit skewed for me. Did a 10 lb pork butt in 10.5 hours instead of th 15 that was prescribed. Came out WONDERFUL!

  36. This is so helpful!! Thank you..

  37. Thanks so much for helping with my smoker today. I’m having a cookout and going to tell everyone that you are the man.


  38. sandra comer says:

    Thanks so much, have been looking for a basic time and weight chart for over a week! I am sure this will be very helpful!

  39. Richard LaCava says:

    I have tried smoking whole chickens twice and still cannot get it to temperature. I did both at 225 degrees and had a probe in the breast to keep track of the temp. After 3 hours it would only read 130 degrees. Ended up finishing in oven. Skin was like rubber. What am I doing wrong? I did 2 Cornish hens no problem.

  40. orville dean says:

    could you land mail me a chart of time,s an temp for smoking meat in a electric smoker im new at smoking to o dean 2001 hiland ave falls city ne 68355 please my printer dont work

  41. Martha Pound says:

    I have a madterbuild electric smoker I see you smoke pork loin back ribs at 240 degrees at 5 hours what I don’t see is how much they weight I have almost 3 pounds ribs and one almost 4 pounds does the weight have anything to do with this cooking time are the weight doesn’t matter just smoke them for 5 hours at 240 degrees and they get done also my ribs don’t say baby back they only say back ribs this what says on package pork loin back ribs or theses baby back or they spare ribs please let me no new at smoking in a electric smoker

  42. Your chart shows smoked potatoes at 2-2.5 hours. How many pounds of potatoes is that for? Are the sliced? Whole? I’m giving a first try tomorrow and am curious.

  43. Eddie burt says:

    I’m wanting to do some deer jerky I need some information on times and temperature please

  44. Thank you for the smoking chart , it really came in handy.

  45. Aaron nelsen says:

    I just bought a 30″ electric but the top controller display is broken. Other wise it works. I need to know the pre installed temp settings. What temp does it start at and in what increments does it jump each time I hit the temp button? Same with the timer.

  46. Lamarr from Lincoln Co. WA says:

    I particularly liked the “survivalist” smoker made with clay pots, shards and readily available accessories (grate, top/lid, handle, etc.). However, I am most interested in an alternate heat source in the event of no or limited electricity to power a hot plate. Anyone got some reasonable survival-ish alternatives to electricity and/or propane?

  47. I have a whole bone in ham about 12-14 lbs that has not been pre cooked or smoked. I have it soaking in a brine right now. What should I figure for time per pound to smoke this at 250 degrees


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