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How long you should smoke meat?

Smoking meat is a great way to cook, but it’s such a cross between art and science that knowing exactly how long to smoke different types of meat can get confusing. Use the charcoal grill may be the better choice for long time smoke meat.Read on for a few tips and pieces of advice that will make your meat smoking adventure easy and fun.Low and slow cooking is the name of the smoking game.The time windows are suggestions, so you’ll want to double check to make sure the finished internal temperature is in the safe zone before you take out the smoked meat. Use a digital thermometer, or meat thermometer to help you keep track of the internal meat temperature.Your smoker temperature will need to be higher than the finished temperature of the meat. If you don’t keep your smoker temp constant and at the right heat level, your meat won’t ever finish cooking. As tempting as it is to keep checking inside the smoker, keeping it closed except when absolutely necessary will help keep the temperature inside where it needs to be.

Some tips so you know how to smoke meat


Your smoking time will vary depending on what kind of beef you’ve got in the smoker. Beef brisket can take up to 20 hours (but it’s oh so worth it), while tenderloin usually takes 3 hours. Tri-tip, which is similar to brisket, becomes insanely tender if you smoke it for 2 hours. Some argue that the best meat to use is prime rib. It’s a splurge, but but well worth it for the rich and flavorful beef.

If you’re using frozen meat, make sure it’s thawed completely before it goes in the smoker. You might also cut the ribs apart so they cook faster.


If you’re smoking baby back ribs, spare ribs, pork shoulder/pork butt, or pork loin make sure you trim the excess fat off the meat and  use your favorite dry rub to flavor the meat before you put it in the smoker. To clear up any confusion, pork shoulder/pork butt turns into pulled pork once cooked.

For sausage, your cook time isn’t as long, and you also won’t need to turn them over during cooking. Pork ribs require 3 hours to get that fall-off-the-bone texture we know and love.


Thaw the lamb completely before it goes in the smoker. A good idea is to use your favorite marinade for around 5-10 hours before you plan to cook it.


Most poultry takes less time to cook in a smoker than other meats, but the smoker needs to reach a higher temperature because the finished internal temperature for poultry needs to be higher. You do want to check the cuts of meat carefully with a meat thermometer since you want to cook the meat enough so that you don’t get sick, and not overcook the meat so much that it’s tough and dry.

A whole chicken makes a great item to smoke. You can satisfy the dark meat and white meat lovers, while also enjoying the crispy skin. For the whole chicken, you’ll need to cook it for about 60-80 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to make sure the internal temp is 165 degrees. Chicken thighs are a great option if you love dark meat, and want to cook it quickly. Thighs only take about 45 minutes from start to finish.

Smoked turkey is excellent if you’re not able to find a whole turkey outside of Thanksgiving, try smoking a turkey leg or turkey breast for something different. Smoked chicken wings also make a great party appetizer.

Sea food:

Seafood takes less time to cook and you’ll need to watch it to make sure it doesn’t dry out. You can cook anything from a salmon filet to lobster tails in a smoker. A good brine or marinade can give the seafood great flavor, but it’s best to dry it completely before it goes into the smoker. Brining involves soaking the meat with seasonings and liquid. The purpose is to retain moisture and also season the meat.