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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STEP 1: CHOOSE MEAT

MeatTastePreparation
BeefClassic BBQ meat, lots of fatty cuts which smoke great – Brisket, RibsTrim excess fat and apply rub and seasoning
PorkLots of great cuts – Ribs and Shoulder are BBQ classics & fairly easyInject, rub and leave to rest – Skin and trim your ribs
PoultryLots of good options with chicken or turkey -Whole Bird, Wings, LegsBrine full birds – Rub and season
LambLamb Shoulder and Leg are fatty enough to work great in a smokerSeason, rub, leave to rest
VenisonQuite gamey and potentially tricky – Venison roast works wellBrine/inject, rub and season
SeafoodQuick and easy options – Salmon and shrimp smoke greatDebone 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.


STEP 2: CHOOSE FUEL

CHARCOAL

     BriquettesLump 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.


WOOD

R = Highly Recommend, W = Works Well

TypeStrengthTasteBeefPorkPoultryLambVenisonSeafoodVegCheese
AlderMildSubtle, sweet smokey flavorwwRR
AlmondMediumSweet nutty flavor that works with all meatswwwwwwww
AppleMildLight, sweet and fruitywRRRRRRw
ApricotMildLike Hickory but milder, sweet hint of fruitwRRwwwww
CherryMildVery versatile, sweet and fruityRRRRRwRw
ChestnutMildSweet nutty flavorwwwwwwww
HickoryStrongStrong smoke flavor with a hint of baconRRRwRwwR
Jack Daniel’sStrongMade from Jack Daniel’s barrels, strong & uniqueRRRww
LemonMildLight, tangy flavorwwwwwww
LilacMildSubtle floral hint, good for cheeseRRwR
MapleMildSubtle, sweet flavor that good with lighter meatwRRwwRRR
MesquiteStrongVery strong Earthy smoke flavorRRRwww
MulberryMildLight, sweet and fruitywRRwwwww
OakMediumClassic smoke flavorRRRRRRw
OrangeMediumLight, tangy and fruitywRRwwww
PeachMediumSweet, fruity tangwRRwRww
PearMildEarthy, fruity flavorwRRwRww
PecanMediumFairly rich smoky flavor, balanced by sweetnessRRRwwwww
PlumMildMild and SweetwRRwwRww
WalnutStrongCan be bitter, works well with other woodsRRwww

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


STEP 3: SMOKING – TIMES & TEMPS

  Cut of MeatSmoking TimeSmoker Temp.Final Internal Temp.
BEEFUSDA Minimum: 145°F 63°C
Brisket12-20 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)190-200°F (88-93°C)
Chuck Roast12-18 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)190-200°F (88-93°C)
Rump Roast30 mins/lb225-250°F (107-121°C)135°F (medium) (57°C)
Back Ribs4-5 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)190°F (88°C)
Prime Ribs4-5 hours225°F (107°C)135°F (medium) (57°C)
Short Ribs6-8 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)190°F (88°C)
Spare Ribs5-6 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)190°F (88°C)
Tri Tip3-4 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)135°F (medium) (57°C)
Tenderloin3-4 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)135°F (medium) (57°C)
PORKUSDA Minimum: 145°F (63°C)
Pork Shoulder12-14 hours225 (107°C)190°F (88°C)
Baby Back Ribs5 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)180°F (82°C)
Spare Ribs6 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)180°F (82°C)
Loin3-5 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)145°F (63°C)
Tenderloin2 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)145°F (63°C)
Ham (with bone)1.5 hours/lb225-250°F (107-121°C)160°F (71°C)
Belly Bacon6 hours100°F (43°C)140°F (60°C)
Sausage1-2 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)165°F (74°C)
POULTRYUSDA Minimum: 165°F (74°C)
Whole Chicken2-3 hours275-300°F (135-149°C)170°F (77°C)
Chicken Leqs1-2 hours275-300°F (135-149°C)170°F (77°C)
Chicken Thighs1-2 hours275-300°F (135-149°C)170°F (77°C)
Chicken Winqs1-2 hours275-300°F (135-149°C)170°F (77°C)
Whole Turkey4-5 hours275-300°F (135-149°C)170°F (77°C)
Turkey Leqs3-4 hours275-300°F (135-149°C)175-180°F (79-82°C)
LAMBUSDA Minimum: 145°F (63°C)
Lamb Shank4-5 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)160°F (71°C)
          Lamb Leq4-8 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)160°F (71°C)
          Lamb Rack1-2 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)145°F (63°C)
Lamb Shoulder5-6 hours225-250°F (107-121°C)160°F (71°C)
VENISONUSDA Minimum: 160°F (71°C)
Venison Roast1.5 hours/lb225-250°F (107-121°C)160°F (71°C)
Venison Tenderloin1.5 hours/lb225-250°F (107-121°C)160°F (71°C)
Venison Steak30-60 mins225-275°F (107-135°C)145°F (medium) (63°C)
SEAFOODUSDA Minimum: 145°F (63°C)
Whole SalmonTake it off when it starts to flake200-225°F (93-107°C)145-150°F (63-66°C)
Salmon Filet1 hour220°F (104°C)145°F (63°C)
Lobster Tails45 mins225°F (107°C)145°F (60°C)
Crab45 mins225°F (107°C)145°F (60°C)
Shrimp20-30 mins225°F (107°C)N/A
VEG
Corn on the Cob1.5-2 hours225°F (107°C)N/A
Whole Potato2-2.5 hours225°F (107°C)N/A
Whole Sweet Potato2-2.5 hours225°F (107°C)N/A
Tomatoes1 hour225-250°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.

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