The Proper Temperature for Meat Smoking


Using a smoker to prepare meat such as ribs, brisket and pork is a popular way of imparting a delicious, smoky flavor, while keeping it tender and juicy. To successfully smoke meat, it's important to ensure you prepare the meat properly, including handling it safely and cooking it to the correct temperature.

Safe Preparation

  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator, instead of at room temperature, to prevent the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria. Prevent contamination from raw meat by washing your hands and any surfaces touched by the meat thoroughly after preparation. Do not re-use any plates, bowls or plastic bags that were used for raw meat storage for serving or storage of cooked meat.

Smoking Safety

  • Always use a smoker that has been made and approved for smoking food. Items such as oil drums, aluminum cans and/or cylinders may have chemical residue in them, making them dangerous for cooking food.

Smoking Temperature

  • Use two thermometers, one for taking the temperature of the smoker, and one for taking the temperature of the meat. The heat of the smoker should remain between 225 to 300 degrees F at all times during the cooking process. Meats are ready to eat when they have reached the following internal temperatures:

    • Veal, lamb and beef steaks, roasts and chops: 145 degrees F

    • All pork products: 160 degrees F

    • Ground veal, lamb and beef: 160 degrees F

    • All poultry products, such as chicken or turkey: 165 degrees F

Safe Storage

  • Meat and poultry must be refrigerated within two hours of smoking. Cut meat and poultry into smaller portions to ensure it cools evenly and quickly. If the meat isn't eaten within four days, freeze it for future consumption.

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