Meat Smoking Cheat Sheet: All You Need to Become a True Pitmaster

Ultimate Meat Smoking Cheat Sheet

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Below is our Ultimate Meat Smoking Cheat Sheet!

It has information from many Best Smokers Info articles all condensed into one easy to read cheat sheet perfect to refer to when you’re firing up your smoker.

In addition to this we’ve included a FREE printer friendly copy perfect for you to print out and keep with you when you’re smoking some meat.

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Meat Taste Preparation
Beef Classic BBQ meat, lots of fatty cuts which smoke great – Brisket, Ribs Trim excess fat and apply rub and seasoning
Pork Lots of great cuts – Ribs and Shoulder are BBQ classics & fairly easy Inject, rub and leave to rest – Skin and trim your ribs
Poultry Lots of good options with chicken or turkey -Whole Bird, Wings, Legs Brine full birds – Rub and season
Lamb Lamb Shoulder and Leg are fatty enough to work great in a smoker Season, rub, leave to rest
Venison Quite gamey and potentially tricky – Venison roast works well Brine/inject, rub and season
Seafood Quick and easy options – Salmon and shrimp smoke great Debone fish, dry brine, rub and season

Note: It’s generally good practice to let any meats get to room temperature before putting in the smoker – This gives a more even cook.



     Briquettes Lump Charcoal
Your standard charcoal – cheap, even chunks that burn very consistently for long periods of time and are easy to light.

Downsides include – Struggle to reach really high temperatures and chemi- cals used in the creation which can lead to lots of ash.

Burns hot and clean, giving good smoke and produces small amounts of ash.

– Does not include any chemicals.

Downsides include – More expensive than briquettes, burns quicker and comes in random sized chunks so may require more tending to.


R = Highly Recommend, W = Works Well

Type Strength Taste Beef Pork Poultry Lamb Venison Seafood Veg Cheese
Alder Mild Subtle, sweet smokey flavor w w R R
Almond Medium Sweet nutty flavor that works with all meats w w w w w w w w
Apple Mild Light, sweet and fruity w R R R R R R w
Apricot Mild Like Hickory but milder, sweet hint of fruit w R R w w w w w
Cherry Mild Very versatile, sweet and fruity R R R R R w R w
Chestnut Mild Sweet nutty flavor w w w w w w w w
Hickory Strong Strong smoke flavor with a hint of bacon R R R w R w w R
Jack Daniel’s Strong Made from Jack Daniel’s barrels, strong & unique R R R w w
Lemon Mild Light, tangy flavor w w w w w w w
Lilac Mild Subtle floral hint, good for cheese R R w R
Maple Mild Subtle, sweet flavor that good with lighter meat w R R w w R R R
Mesquite Strong Very strong Earthy smoke flavor R R R w w w
Mulberry Mild Light, sweet and fruity w R R w w w w w
Oak Medium Classic smoke flavor R R R R R R w
Orange Medium Light, tangy and fruity w R R w w w w
Peach Medium Sweet, fruity tang w R R w R w w
Pear Mild Earthy, fruity flavor w R R w R w w
Pecan Medium Fairly rich smoky flavor, balanced by sweetness R R R w w w w w
Plum Mild Mild and Sweet w R R w w R w w
Walnut Strong Can be bitter, works well with other woods R R w w w

Note: Do not use_Cedar, Cypress, Elm, Eucalyptus, Fir, Liquid Amber, Pine, Redwood, Sassafras, Spruce or Sycamore to smoke meat.


  Cut of Meat Smoking Time Smoker Temp. Final Internal Temp.
BEEF USDA Minimum: 145°F 63°C
Brisket 12-20 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 190-200°F (88-93°C)
Chuck Roast 12-18 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 190-200°F (88-93°C)
Rump Roast 30 mins/lb 225-250°F (107-121°C) 135°F (medium) (57°C)
Back Ribs 4-5 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 190°F (88°C)
Prime Ribs 4-5 hours 225°F (107°C) 135°F (medium) (57°C)
Short Ribs 6-8 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 190°F (88°C)
Spare Ribs 5-6 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 190°F (88°C)
Tri Tip 3-4 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 135°F (medium) (57°C)
Tenderloin 3-4 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 135°F (medium) (57°C)
PORK USDA Minimum: 145°F (63°C)
Pork Shoulder 12-14 hours 225 (107°C) 190°F (88°C)
Baby Back Ribs 5 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 180°F (82°C)
Spare Ribs 6 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 180°F (82°C)
Loin 3-5 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 145°F (63°C)
Tenderloin 2 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 145°F (63°C)
Ham (with bone) 1.5 hours/lb 225-250°F (107-121°C) 160°F (71°C)
Belly Bacon 6 hours 100°F (43°C) 140°F (60°C)
Sausage 1-2 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 165°F (74°C)
POULTRY USDA Minimum: 165°F (74°C)
Whole Chicken 2-3 hours 275-300°F (135-149°C) 170°F (77°C)
Chicken Leqs 1-2 hours 275-300°F (135-149°C) 170°F (77°C)
Chicken Thighs 1-2 hours 275-300°F (135-149°C) 170°F (77°C)
Chicken Winqs 1-2 hours 275-300°F (135-149°C) 170°F (77°C)
Whole Turkey 4-5 hours 275-300°F (135-149°C) 170°F (77°C)
Turkey Leqs 3-4 hours 275-300°F (135-149°C) 175-180°F (79-82°C)
LAMB USDA Minimum: 145°F (63°C)
Lamb Shank 4-5 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 160°F (71°C)
          Lamb Leq 4-8 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 160°F (71°C)
          Lamb Rack 1-2 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 145°F (63°C)
Lamb Shoulder 5-6 hours 225-250°F (107-121°C) 160°F (71°C)
VENISON USDA Minimum: 160°F (71°C)
Venison Roast 1.5 hours/lb 225-250°F (107-121°C) 160°F (71°C)
Venison Tenderloin 1.5 hours/lb 225-250°F (107-121°C) 160°F (71°C)
Venison Steak 30-60 mins 225-275°F (107-135°C) 145°F (medium) (63°C)
SEAFOOD USDA Minimum: 145°F (63°C)
Whole Salmon Take it off when it starts to flake 200-225°F (93-107°C) 145-150°F (63-66°C)
Salmon Filet 1 hour 220°F (104°C) 145°F (63°C)
Lobster Tails 45 mins 225°F (107°C) 145°F (60°C)
Crab 45 mins 225°F (107°C) 145°F (60°C)
Shrimp 20-30 mins 225°F (107°C) N/A
Corn on the Cob 1.5-2 hours 225°F (107°C) N/A
Whole Potato 2-2.5 hours 225°F (107°C) N/A
Whole Sweet Potato 2-2.5 hours 225°F (107°C) N/A
Tomatoes 1 hour 225-250°F (107-121°C) N/A

Note: For well-done add 10°F and for rare take off 10°F the final internal temp.

Be aware of carry over heating – this is where your food, especially the bigger cuts of meat, will continue to cook after taken off the heat.

All fi ures are approbate – Use as guidlinesonly.

Instead of paying for an incomplete magnetic guide like this, you can get all the information and more for FREE using our Cheat Sheet.

We’ve taken all the information from our Best Meats to Smoke guide, our Guide to Charcoal, our Ultimate Guide to Smoking with Wood and our Smoking Times and Temperatures charts. Everything you need to know about smoking meat and going through the process is available to you here.

If you’re looking for more information on any of these then click through to the pages for in depth guides and lots more information on each one.

If you sign up to our mailing list you’ll not only receive the copy of the cheat sheet shown above but we’ve also included a copy of it without the background that is perfect for printing out and keeping with you when you’re smoking. All you have to do is follow the links in the email you’ll receive after you’ve signed up and it’ll take you straight to the online PDF version of whichever version you clicked on. After that you can save it to your computer or to your tablet or smart phone and have it on your wherever you go. From this screen you can also print it directly from the link or print it after you’ve downloaded it.

If you have any problems with downloading or printing it then let us know in the comments, on our contact us page or our Facebook page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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