Best Temperatures For Smoking

Everyone has their own preference for smoking temperatures with opinions to go with them. For me, here are the temperatures that I like to use for the most common meats.


225 Degrees. At this temperature, the average 12 pound brisket will cook thoroughly in about 10 to 12 hours. Two hours is a large variance but every piece of meat is different. That fat content in particular plays a large role in deciding how long it will take to cook.

Pork Shoulder

225 Degrees. This makes the average 8 pound pork shoulder or pork but done in about 18 hours. That is a very long smoke but I use an electric so it does not leave me up all night tending the fire. If you use a stick burner, you might consider kicking the temperature up to 250 to 275 degrees to speed up the cook.

Whole Chicken

250 Degrees. This will cook an average 4 to 5 pound bird in about 4 hours. When it is done smoking, you can then throw it on a hot grill to crisp up the skin if you like. 250 degrees cooks the meat nicely but it will leave the skin soft.

Pork Ribs

225 Degrees. I like the 3-2-1 method where you cook your ribs for 3 hours in the smoker, open. You then foil them with a little juice or water and cook them an additional 2 hours in the smoker. Finally, you uncover the ribs and cook them for an additional hour to finish them off.

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