Before the advent of refrigerators, smoking was a process of food preservation. The smoke contains chemicals that preserve food while the heat kills any microbes on the food. Moreover, the process also reduces moist areas in the food that prevents bacterial growth. Of course, if you’re going to be smoking meat at home, you’ll want to do it safely.
But, this changed ever since the refrigeration system was designed by Oliver Evans. Today, smoking food isn’t any more limited to extending the shelf life of food. These days, smoking is more about enhancing the taste of the meat.
Smoking also makes meat tender and adds flavor to it. The process can even be used to turn the worst meat cut into a sumptuous dish. While smoking food may be a great way to get yourself a scrumptious meal, you should always keep in mind to maintain a suitable temperature to ensure you cook the meat properly.
No idea about the safe cooking temperatures when smoking meat? Well, you’ve come to the right place since we listed the temperatures suitable to smoke different cuts of meat to smoke. But, before we go through the list, let’s discuss some things related to temperature when smoking meat.
Things to Remember About Temperature and Time When Smoking Meat
As indicated earlier, smoking prevents bacterial growth. Since pathogens may be found in meat, it’s necessary to be cooked to ensure they are removed. While some people may focus on the smoker’s temperature, it is also important to consider the internal temperature of the meat.
To ensure the meat is tender and safe to eat, you should consider the final internal temperature of the meat. The internal temperature should be suitable enough to kill any pathogens residing in the meat.
Even as a minimum temperature is required to ensure the meat is safe to eat, it normally applies if you want to instantly kill pathogens. A lower temperature can be used as long as the meat is exposed to it for a long time, which is applicable to smoking meat.
For instance, instead of cooking beef at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time, you can cook it at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 37 minutes. Due to this, you should constantly monitor the temperature of the meat.
While the temperature should be at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for all chicken cuts to be cooked through smoking, their smoking times are different. They range from 1 1/4 hours for chicken wings up to 3 hours for a whole chicken.
Check out the smoking times for chicken on the list below:
- Chicken Wings: 1 and 1/4 hours
- Chicken Thigh: 1 and 1/2 hours
- Quartered Chicken: 1 to 2 hours
- Whole Chicken: 2 to 3 hours
The smoker temperature for smoking chicken is also the same for all cuts at 275 degrees to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Similar to smoking chicken, the internal finished temperature of the turkey is the same for most of its cuts. You should look for a finished temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check out the smoking times for turkey on the list below:
- Turkey Wings: 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours
- Leg: 2 to 3 hours
- Turkey breast: 4 hours
- Whole Turkey: 4 to 5 hours
The smoker temperature for smoking turkey should be between 275 degrees Fahrenheit and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For more tips and advice, have a look at this:
Meat Smoking Temperatures for Other Poultry
For other poultry, the internal finished temperature is at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the smoking times range from one hour for quail and pheasant up to four hours for a whole duck.
Check out the smoking times for other poultry on the list below:
- Quail / Pheasant: 1 hour
- Cornish Hens: 2 hours
- Whole duck: 4 hours
While chicken and turkey have the same smoker temperature for all cuts, other types of poultry have different smoker temperatures. Check out the smoker temperatures below:
- Quail / Pheasant: 225 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cornish Hens: 240 degrees Fahrenheit
- Whole duck: 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
Unlike the chicken, turkey, and other poultry, pork has a much more complicated set of smoking temperatures. These temperatures are determined by the cut and range from 140 degrees for pork loin up to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for the whole hog.
Correspondingly, the smoking time also depends on the cut of the pork. The smoking time is between 1.5 hours per pound for pork butt and 16 to 18 hours for the whole hog.
Check out the smoking temperatures and times below:
- Pork Sausage: 165 degrees Fahrenheit 1 to 3 hours
- Pork Butt: 205 degrees Fahrenheit 1.5 hours per pound
- Tenderloin: 160 degrees Fahrenheit 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours
- Pork Loin: 145 degrees Fahrenheit 4 to 5 hours
- Baby Back Ribs: 180 degrees Fahrenheit 5 hours
- Belly Bacon: 140 degrees Fahrenheit 6 hours
- Spare Ribs: 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit 5 to 7 hours
- Whole Hog: 205 degrees Fahrenheit 16 to 18 hours
While the smoking temperature may be different from each other, the smoker temperature is the same for nearly all cuts at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meat Smoking Temperatures for Beef
Similar to pork, the smoking temperature and smoking times for beef are different. The smoking temperature range from 130 degrees Fahrenheit for tenderloin up to 205 degrees for beef brisket. Likewise, smoking time range between 15 minutes per pound for prime rib and 12 to 20 hours for beef brisket (check this out: Smoked Brisket Guide).
Check out the smoking temperature and times for the different cuts of beef.
- Prime Rib: 135 degrees Fahrenheit for Medium 15 minutes per pound
- Whole Rib-eye: 135 degrees Fahrenheit for Medium 25 minutes per pound
- Rump Roast: 145 degrees Fahrenheit for Well Done 30 minutes per pound
- Sausage: 160 degrees Fahrenheit 30 to 60 minutes
- Tri-tip: 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit 2 to 3 hours
- Tenderloin: 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours
- Back Ribs: 185 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit 3 to 4 hours
- Spare Ribs: 190 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit 5 to 6 hours
- Short Ribs: 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit 6 to 8 hours
- Beef Brisket: 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit 12 to 20 hours
- Chuck Roast: 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit 12 to 20 hours
The smoking temperatures for the different beef cuts may be different, but the smoker temperature for all cuts are the same. The temperature of the smoker should be from 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
And don’t forget to make up some cowboy butter dipping sauce. It’s the perfect combination with beef. And, who doesn’t like beef jerky in a smoker, right? Find out all the details you need to know here: How to Make Beef Jerky in a Smoker.
When it comes to smoking lamb, the smoking temperature ranges between 135 degrees Fahrenheit for lamb rack and 190 degrees Fahrenheit for lamb shank. Comparably, the smoking time ranges from 1 and 1/4 hours for lamb rack up to 4 to 8 hours for the lamb leg.
Check out the smoking temperature and times for different lamb cuts.
- Lamb Leg: 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit 4 to 8 hours
- Shank: 190 degrees Fahrenheit 4 to 5 hours
- Lamb Shoulder: 170 degrees Fahrenheit 5 to 5 and 1/2 hours
- Lamb Rack: 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit 1 and 1/4 hours
When it comes to the smoker temperature, it’s between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit for most lamb cuts. The only exception is the lamb rack, which has a smoker temperature of 200 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fish and Other Seafood
Similar to chicken, the temperature for fish and other seafood should be at around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. But, this does have a few exceptions, including lobster tails, shrimp, and oysters.
Lobster tails should have a finished temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, shrimp and oysters do not have a fixed internal temperature and depend mainly on the temperature of the smoker.
The cooking time of seafood range from 20 minutes for shrimp up to one hour for a whole trout. A whole salmon doesn’t have any specific cooking time. Instead, it is considered done when it starts to flake.
- Whole Salmon: starts to flake
- Shrimp: 20 to 30 min
- Oysters: 30 to 40 min
- Lobster Tails: 45 min
- Scallops: 45 to 60 min
- Whole Trout: 1 hour
- Salmon Filet: 1 hour
- Tilapia Filet: 1 hour
The smoker temperature for smoking seafood is either 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 225 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of seafood.
Check out the list below
- Whole Salmon: 200 degrees Fahrenheit
- Salmon Filet: 220 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tilapia Filet: 220 degrees Fahrenheit
- Whole Trout: 225 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lobster Tails: 225 degrees Fahrenheit
- Oysters: 225 degrees Fahrenheit
- Scallops: 225 degrees Fahrenheit
- Shrimp: 225 degrees Fahrenheit
Best Meat Smokers
Now that you know the safe cooking temperatures when smoking meat, you are now ready to smoke meat for lunch or dinner. If you are still in the market for a smoker, you can consider the following options:
Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
- Built-in temperature gauge
- Temperature control is easy with analog dial
- Wood chip tray slides out for easy ash removal
- Three chrome-coated smoking racks
- 1,500-watt heating element for even, consistent smoking
The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker features three smoking racks where you can position any meat you want to smoke. It also has a built-in temperature gauge and easy-to-use temperature control. Moreover, its 1,500-watt heating element makes it easy for you to ensure the smoking process is consistent and even.
This 30-inch analog electric smoker also has a front access drip tray to ensure all excess food drippings are caught. Its wood chip tray also slides out easy to facilitate the removal of ash.
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
- Your purchase includes: One Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker + Cover
- Item overall dimensions: 14.7" W x 14.7" D x 31.4" H. Item weight: 24 lbs
- Cooking Grid Dimensions 13 1/2 X 13 1/2". Main Grilling Area 143 Sq. Inches. Total Grilling Area 286...
- Easy assembly required, instructions avaialable in User Guide attachment.
- Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker reaches approximadetely 190°F inside temperature
The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is a 14-inch charcoal smoker featuring a sizeable main grilling at 143 square inches. It is also easy to assemble and use. Its built-in thermometer allows you to easily monitor the temperature of the smoker.
Tips for Meat Smoking at Home
Do you have any tips or advice for meat smoking temperatures and times? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2021-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API