If you have a family or are prepping for a party, you have asked yourself this question “how long to smoke XYZ meat?”. Or another one is “when should I start my smoke?”. We have all been there at some point and I wanted to dive into this question a bit more because depending on where or who you ask you will get different answers.
How Long To Smoke Meat?
An age old questions that you hope has an easy answer but not always the case. It is a very common question on many of the Facebook groups I am a part of. Guys that have been smoking forever will say, don’t smoke to time but to internal temperature and when its done its done. Yes, I agree with that but with that being said, if you have guests coming over or a family to feed, you want to have a general idea on when to start.
Most will agree that the general rule is 1.5 hours per pound on whatever meat you are smoking. Now that will vary depending on what temperature you are smoking at, but in this case, use 250° as the baseline temperature. That will not take into account how you deal with the stall but it sets a starting point when you are trying to figure out how long a smoke with take and when you may want to start.
A lot of this should be high level enough regardless if you are using a charcoal smoker, pellet grill, electric smoker or some other style smoker. My experience is using my Weber Smokey Mountain and Weber Kettle, so my information may biased towards the times and methods on those two smokers.
If you are new to smoking meat or been at it for a while and looking for a digital meat thermometer that provides some of the best bang for the buck in the industry? Give a look at the ThermoPro TP20. It’s a great starter thermometer but does the job as you get further into smoking. I have 3 different styles of ThermoPro and love each one.
Smoked Meat Times
I thought I would provide a quick snap shot on some of the more popular meat to give you an idea on how long something may take to smoke. See the list on smoking times below:
How Long to Smoke A Brisket?
Make sure you are smoking the full brisket and not the flat. If your brisket is in the 4lb range that is likely to be just the flat and that is an entirely different ballgame. If you are smoking a brisket, with a smoker temperature of 250° and it is in that range of 12-15lbs, you are looking at 15-18 hours give or take. Again so many variables but to these estimates but that is a ballpark number to work off of. We are just looking for starting times.
How Long to Smoke A Pork Butt?
Whether it is boneless or bone in, it should not move the needle that much as you are smoking your pulled pork. Pork smoked at 250° and is the 7 lb. range, if you are smoking one, should put you in the 10-12 hour range. Again, here you have stalls to contend with but 10-12 hours is your average. Pulled pork is a great meat to do in advance and take some of that timing pressure off you.
If you are looking for some info on how to reheat pulled pork, take a look at our article on Reheating Pulled Pork.
How Long To Smoke A Turkey?
Here is one smoked meat that has some variables. With poultry some folks like the skin nice and crispy which will entail a hotter and faster method in the temperatures you are cooking with. Assuming you have a 12lb turkey a low and slow method, 225°-250°, is going to work with about 30 minutes per pound. If you are going with a hot and fast method, which I am going to call 300°, that will be about 15-20 minutes per pound.
How Long To Smoke Chicken?
This is another loaded question on smoke time. Smoking a chicken can mean a lot of different things. You could be asking the questions referring to a whole chicken, how long to smoke chicken thighs, how long to smoke chicken breasts or legs. There is also the variable of skin or skinless. Skinless will likely be a low and slow method, while skin on, will be a hot and fast. If we are ballparking, boneless and skinless, figure 2-3 hours depending on how you are smoking it. Skin on, 1-2 hours, again depending on how you are doing it.
If you are asking how long to smoke buffalo wings, a load of those hot and fast are probably going to be an hour at most. Again depends on how hot and fast your smoking temperature is and now many wings but those are a quicker meat to smoke.
How Long To Smoke Ribs
We will wrap this up here because it could go on and on. Ribs are a little different in that you do have a meat temperature you are cooking to but a lot would also say they go by feel and how the ribs look when you bend them. But with that being said there has to be a cook time to ribs, right? Whether its St Louis style ribs (spare ribs) or baby back ribs you are probably looking at time frame in the range of 5-7 hours.
We talked about a few different meats and every one of them has its own set of variables that will affect how long to smoke one meat vs the next.
We didn’t even touch on something like a chuck roast, where you are going to pull that around 180° for slicing, as opposed to if you are going to shred it, that will be closer to 200° -205°.
One thing you can do if you are looking to start early but afraid of finishing to soon, you can always wrap your meat in either foil or butcher paper and then some towels and throw it in the cooler. It lasts far longer than you might think, gives the meat that time to rest and takes some of the pressure off, especially if you are smoking for a crowd.
In just about every case you do not want to smoke to a specific time but the IT. The guide of 1.5 hours per pound gives a good gauge that I have used thus far. How and when you finish is ultimately dependent on what you are smoking and to what temperature and if there is a stall involved. Hope this article helped you out.
Here are some other articles and recipes you may be interested in:
Good luck and keep that smoke rolling!
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