A Quick Guide to Temperatures While Smoking Meats

let’s talk temperature goals, i.e., the starting temperature of the grill and the temps your vittles need to reach so you won’t be at high risk of serving up food poisoning with your ’cue. We’ve consulted with our pit bosses, and done some additional research via Smoking Meat Geeks (smokingmeatgeeks.com), Grillocracy (grillocracy.com), and Masterbuilt (masterbuilt.com) to compile this handy guide.


Wood: Pecan, post oak are the most Texan (mesquite and hickory will also work)

Starting Temp: Between 225° F and 250 F

Internal Temp: 180° F

Important!: Rest that thing! At room temperature for four to five hours after smoking.


Wood: Mesquite and hickory are great because the deep smoke they exude brings out the spices in your rub, but really with pork ribs anything goes

Starting Temp: Hang out around 250° F

Internal Temp: 165° F, but really when tender

Important!: The rub. Get creative with spices like paprika, cayenne, and white pepper.


Wood: Nearly anything; try cherry or pear, as their sweeter, lighter flavors are perfect for pork

Starting Temp: As with ribs, it’s 250° F

Internal Temp: 165° F

Important!: If making and casing your own sausage, dry it in a warm (not humid!) room for an hour before cooking, and it’ll develop a strong skin that will absorb all the smoke evenly and pack in bigger flavor.


Wood: Go fruity (apple, cherry) or simple (post oak) since chicken can’t hold up to more pungent, bolder-flavored wood

Starting Temp: 275° F is about right

Internal Temp: 165° F

Important!: Always cook chicken to 165 F and rest at room temperature after for at least 20 minutes.


Wood: Post oak or mulberry for a lightly fruity flavor, nothing bold

Starting Temp: Very low and slow: 200 F°

Internal Temp: 145° F

Important!: Place on a wire rack over a baking pan to limit cleanup. No flakes! 


Wood: Maple is a mild, sweet wood that works with all vegetables

Starting Temp: 250° F usually works

Internal Temp: LOL (when tender)

Important!: Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before cooking

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