Meat Smoking Times And Temperatures in Electric Smokers (2021 Guide)

Expert grillers may not necessarily need to look for smoking time and temperature guidelines when smoking their favorite meat cuts with an electric smoker.

Over the years, they have mastered the right temperature and how long their meat needs to stay in the electric smoker.

But every other person who wants to smoke meat effectively needs time and temperature guide.

If you care about preparing perfect smoked meat at the right temperature, the following guide will help you.

Smoking Time and Temperature for “Poultry”

Poultry, especially chicken, is one of the most popular meats prepared in the electric smoker.

Below are the most common meat cuts for poultry and their cooking times/temperature.

Meat Cut Approximate Smoking Time Smoking Temperature Finished Meat Temperature
Whole Chicken 3-4 hrs 2250F – 3000F 1650F
Pheasant/Quail 1 hr 2250F 1650F
Goose whole 30 mins/lb 2250F – 2750F 1700F
Chicken livers 1 – 2 hrs 2250F – 3000F Till Crisp
Chicken Wings 1 – 1¼ hr 2250F – 3000F 1700F
Chicken thighs 1 – 1½ hr 2250F – 3000F 1700F
Chicken Quarters 1 – 2 Hrs 2250F – 3000F 1700F
Cornish Hen 2 – 3 hrs 2250F – 3000F 1700F

NOTE: Remember that cooking time may vary depending on the size of the meat cut. The above cuts are for large-sized poultry. Small and medium-sized birds can take lesser time to get fully cooked. If you set the electric smoker to 2500 F, the estimated cook time should be around 35 minutes per pound.

Smoking Time and Temperature for “Duck”

Ducks are generally fatter and deeper in flavor than most birds, which makes them ideal for smoking.

But you may want to remove some of the fats before you cook with your electric smoker. Their fat may be excessive at times.

Below are the two most common duck cuts for electric smoking.

Meat Cut Approximate Smoking Time Smoking Temperature Finished Meat Temperature
Whole Duck 4 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1650F
Duck Breast 2 ½ – 3 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1600F

Smoking Time and Temperature for “Beef”

Meat Cut Approximate Smoking Time Smoking Temperature Finished Meat Temperature
Beef Brisket 12-20 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1900 F – 2050 F
Sausage 30-60 mins. 2250F – 2500F 1600 F
Tri-Tip 2 – 3 hrs 2250F – 2500F 130 – 1450 F
Tenderloin 2 ½ – 3 hrs 2250F – 2500F 190 – 2050 F
Whole Ribeye 25 mins/lb 2250F – 2500F 1200F(rare),1350F (Medium)
Rump Roast 30 mins/lb 2250F – 2500F 140F (well done)
Chuck roast 12 – 20 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1900 F – 2000 F
Well Done Prime Rib 20 mins/lb 2250F – 2500F 1450 F
Medium Prime Rib 15 mins/lb 2250F – 2500F 1350 F
Prime Rib (Rare) 10 mins/lb 2250F – 2500F 1250 F
Spare Ribs 5 – 6 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1900 F – 2030 F
Short Ribs 6 -8 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1900F – 2000F
Back Ribs 3 – 4 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1900F – 2050F

NOTE: The differences in time and temperature between the various meat cuts depend on the size and diameter of the beef. Also, some beef cuts like ribs are tougher to cook, which means they require more time to get ready.

Smoking Time and Temperature for “Pork”

Pork has moderate tenderness and a nice texture. This is why it requires a moderate and slow cooking process to fully enjoy its juicy flavor.

Below are favorite pork cuts and their smoking time/temperature.

Meat Cut Approximate Smoking Time Smoking Temperature Finished Meat Temperature
Pork Sausage 1 – 3 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1650F
Tenderloin 2 ½ – 3hrs 2250F – 2500F 1600F
Whole Hog 16 – 18 hrs 2250F – 2500F 2050F
Pork Belly (Bacon cold smoke) 4-6 hrs Below 1000 F N/A
Loin 4 – 5hrs 2250F – 2500F 1450F
Spare Ribs 5 – 7hrs 2250F – 2500F 1800F – 1850F
Baby Back Ribs 5 hrs 2250F – 2500F 1950F – 2050F
Pork Butt 1.5 hrs/ lb 2250F – 2500F 2050F
Ham (Bone in) 1.5 hrs/lb 2250F – 2500F 1600F
Pork Chops 1.5 hrs/lb 2250F – 2500F 1600F
Pork Shoulder (Pulled Pork) 5 – 8 hrs 2500F – 2750F 2050F – 2100F

Note: When smoking a pork butt, try to remove the extra fat layers at the top and sides of the meat.

Smoking Time and Temperature for “Turkey”

Meat Cut Approximate Smoking Time Smoking Temperature Finished Meat Temperature
Whole Turkey 4-5 hrs 2750F – 3500F 1700F
Turkey Breast 4 hrs 2750F – 3500F 1650F
Turkey Wings 2 – 2 ½ hrs 2750F – 3500F 1700F
Turkey Leg 2 – 3 hrs 2750F – 3500F 1700F

Note: The size of the turkey will determine the exact smoking time. An average-sized turkey breast, wing, or leg can be cooked within 3 hrs.

Smoking Time and Temperature for “Fish”

Salmons and other types of fishes are very delicate and do not require an excessive level of heat. They don’t stay long in the fire too.

So, it’s important to monitor them and get the right temperature. Otherwise, you can easily overcook the meal.

But a good electric smoker will help you get the right temperature.

Most electric smokers will stop cooking automatically and switch over to warming mode when they reach the required temperature.

Meat Cut Approximate Smoking Time Smoking Temperature Finished Meat Temperature
Salmon Fillet 1 hr 2200F 1450F
Salmon Whole Until it starts to flake. 2000F 1450F
Shrimp 20 – 30 mins 2250F To taste
Scallops 40 – 60 mins 2250F 1450F
Catfish 2 – 3 Hrs 2250F To taste
Oysters 30 – 40 mins 2250F To taste
Lobster tails 45 mins 2250F 1400F
Tilapia Filet 1 hr 2200F 1450F
Whole Trout 1 hr 2250F 1450F

Things Affecting the Times and Temperature Settings

Understanding all the smoking times and temperatures for the various meat cuts does not necessarily mean your smoked meat will always be perfect.

No, it doesn’t. There are other factors that affect the smoking time and temperature of the meat.

Although the above tables are good guidelines, they may not be an accurate measure at all times.

With the right knowledge on these factors that affect smoking temperature, you will be able to set the proper temperature and cooking time for the right meal.

Below are the major influences of smoking time and temperatures when cooking with an electric smoker.

  •  
    Diameter and thickness of the meat.
  •  
    Fats and connective tissues.
  •  
    Type of electric smoker used.
  •  
    Altitude.
  •  
    External Temperature.

1. Diameter and thickness

This will obviously determine how long and how hot you cook your meat.

A larger meat cut with a thicker diameter will require more smoking time than smaller cut size. For your meat to be properly cooked, the center has to reach certain heat levels.

Generally, it will take more time for this temperature level to reach a ticker meat with a wider diameter.

When you put the size and shape of the meat into consideration, it will help you correctly determine its cooking time and temperatures in the electric smoker.

2. Fats and Connective Tissues

Meats with a lot of fats and connective tissues tend to stay longer under heat. To get the best out of the moisture content of such meat, the connective tissues in the meat has to reach a certain temperature.

They have to be heated to about 2050 F and stay at that level for a long period. The fat in your meat has to be cooked at about 1300 for them to spread out evenly.

3. Type of Electric Smoker Used

The type of electric smoker you use can also affect the cooking time and temperature of your meat. Generally, the authenticity of the smoker’s thermometer will help a lot to provide accurate temperature readings.

Also, the more compact the smoker’s cooking space is, the faster it circulates heat. So the size of the smoker’s chamber can determine how long and how hot you can cook your meat.

If you have not already bought your electric smoker, make sure you select the best for different types of meals you want to smoke. It helps a lot.

4. Altitude

Higher altitudes usually have lower air pressure. This means it takes more time to reach a high temperature.  So if you live at a higher altitude, your meal could take a longer time to reach the cooked level you desire.

In this case, you need to allow more time to cook your meat. It’s also important to maintain a lower cooking temperature at this altitude to keep your meat very moist.

5. External Temperature

Smoking in an extremely cold environment will definitely have its impact on the cooking time of your meal. As the external air cools the air that comes through the vents, it reduces the heat levels in the vents.

The opposite will be the case when you are smoking meat in a hot environment. These variables will always alter the exact cooking time and temperature you need to smoke your meal.

To be able to prepare the perfect smoked meal, you need to put a lot of things into consideration. Apart from knowing the cooking times and temperatures for each meat cut, you need to understand other factors that affect these settings.

With the right information, we are sure you won’t find it difficult to prepare the best-smoked meal with your electric smoker.

It’s evident that preparing the right smoked meal is not a rocket science. It all boils down to your knowledge, patience, and the type of smoker you have.