Mind Your Minutes: Tips for How Long to Smoke Salmon

Smoked salmon is a tasty, savory treat that is simple to make.  It requires almost no more attention beyond just preheating the grill or smoker and placing the fillets on the grates.  With such an easy protein, the most difficult step of making smoked salmon truly is waiting for the delicious-smelling fish to finish roasting.  Use this guide to find the perfect tips for how long to smoke salmon and begin counting the minutes down until you’re enjoying an unbeatable fish feast.

How Long to Smoke Salmon in a Smoker

Slow and steady is the name of the game for perfect smoked salmon.  Keep the smoker temperature low for a long period of time and your smoked salmon will be moist, flaky, and full of smoky flavor.  Set the smoker to 120 degrees F and let the fish roast for about 3 hours.  If you are pressed for time though, set the smoker to 220 degrees F for smoked salmon in only 2 hours.

Smoked Salmon (in the smoker)

 Smoker Temperature:  220°F
 Smoking Time:  hrs
 Finished Temperature:  150°F
Bourbon Marinated Smoked Salmon Simple Salt ‘n Pepper Smoked Salmon 

How Long to Smoke Salmon on the Grill

Smoking salmon on the grill is a bit trickier, so you need to keep a close eye on the filets as they cook. The grill will naturally be hotter than the smoker, so the cook time will be considerably shorter.  Count on the reliability of a digital thermometer to know exactly when the salmon is done cooking.  You want the internal temperature of the salmon to be at 150 degrees F or higher.  

Smoked Salmon (on the grill)

 Smoker Temperature:  220°F (med-high heat)
 Smoking Time:  2 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  150°F
Easy Smoked Salmon on the Grill 

Quick Tip:

Salmon should be a rich pink after smoking.  Look for the meat to begin flaking apart to know when to check the internal temperature for doneness.

The Char-Broil community site has plenty more great ideas for smoked salmon.  Visit today to find more helpful articles, like our guide for how to smoke salmon on the grill.

Know When It’s Done: Smoked Brisket Temperature Guide

No doubt if you’re planning to smoke brisket, you’ve already done some searching to find the best dry rub, the best marinade, and the best smoking wood flavor.  With all that goes into making a smoke brisket great, don’t forget to find the best temperature to cook your smoked brisket at as well.  Here are our tips for finding the right smoked brisket temperature and for knowing exactly when your brisket is done.

The Relationship Between Size and Smoking Time

The size of the brisket, along with how much connective tissue and fat there is, determines the smoke time of the cut.  Because briskets can range anywhere from 5-15 pounds, the cook time for your specific cut of brisket will vary.  Briskets that are on the smaller side will usually take around 5-6 hours.  If your brisket is tipping the scales a little higher, plan on a much longer smoke time of about 10-11 hours.

Smoked Brisket (12-18 lbs)

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  10-12 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  200°F
Texas Style Smoked Brisket 
Best Smoked Brisket Recipe 


Smoked Brisket (5-10 lbs.)

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  5-7 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  200°F
Smoked Brisket in an Electric Smoker
Smoked Beef Brisket on a Charcoal Grill 

Temperature Tool: Digital Thermometer

Although some long-time BBQ cooks say they know when brisket is done just by looking at it, using a thermometer to read the internal temperature is the sure-fire way to know that brisket is cooked all the way through. Insert thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket for a quick reading of the inside temperature of the meat.  

Tips for the Best Smoked Brisket Temperature:

  • Some smokers – like the deluxe digital electric smoker – come with thermometers that will automatically stop cooking and switch to warming mode once the meat has reached the desired temperature.  
  • Smoked brisket will continue to cook even after it has been removed from the smoker.  To prevent brisket from drying out, we suggest removing it when the internal temperature reads 195 degrees F.  This will put the temperature just at 200 degrees F by the time you are ready to eat.

Knowing the right temperature to cook brisket is only the beginning.  Find a great recipe for your smoked brisket like Homemade Smoked Brisket Dry Rub at the Char-Broil community site.  

Apple Cider Brine for Smoked Pork Loin

Pork loin has little fat, so the meat doesn’t have a source of moisture to keep it juicy while smoking.  One solution to this is using a brine.  Not only can brines tenderize and add flavor, but they also give a juiciness to meats that soak in even extra moisture.  Try this recipe for apple cider smoked pork loin brine. 


  • Use a pot large enough to hold brine and smoked pork loin comfortably.  
  • Rinse brine off before smoking to remove excess spice.
  • This brine also works great with bone-in pork chops.  
Savannah Smoker's Special Pork Brine

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2+ gallons


  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 medium-size lemons, chopped, squeezed, and smashed


  1. Fill a large pot with the water. Then add the remainder of the ingredients, and stir. Brine meat overnight or 24 hours.

Fan of flavor?  You can also use a dry rub on your smoked pork loin for even more yummy taste.  Check out our recipe for Smoked Pork Loin Rub or visit the Char-Broil community page for more great recipes.

Smoked Pork Butt, Shoulder, Loin, and Ribs Cooking Times and Temperatures

When it comes to the ideal BBQ protein, pork takes the blue ribbon for the all-around perfect choice.  The tender, pink meat smokes up with delicious bacony flavor that BBQ dreams are made of.  Not to mention the great versatility of different pork cuts – between chops, shoulders, roasts, or pork belly, the choices for smoked pork creations are endless.  Knowing what temperature to cook these different cuts at or for how long can be tricky though.  Use our Temperature Guide for Smoked Pork to find the best cooking method for your cut of pork.

Any cut of pork will be done once it has reached its ideal target temperature.  These target temps and the length of smoking time are different for each cut, however.  Smaller pieces like pork chops will definitely take less time to cook than larger cuts like pork loin or Boston butt.

How to Check the Temperature of Smoked Pork:

Many barbecue enthusiast claim they can tell if their smoked pork is done cooking simply by looking at it.  This can sometimes lead to disappointing and potentially unsafe results.  Save yourself the struggle and use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your smoked meat.  The thermometer reaches to the innermost area of the pork, making this the only way to accurately read the temperature of the pork and ensure that it is cooked all the way through.

Smoked Pork Temperature and Time Charts

Pork Butt

 Smoker Temperature:  240°F
 Smoking Time:  14 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  200°F
Coffee and Chile Rubbed Smoked Pork Butt
Smoked BBQ Boston Butt in an Electric Smoker 


Pork Shoulder 

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  8 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  190°F
Smoked Pork Shoulder on a Charcoal Grill
The Big Easy Smoked Pork Shoulder 


Pork Tenderloin

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  2 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  145°F
Smoked Pork Tenderloin in Digital Electric Smoker
Apple Wood Smoked Pork Tenderloin
Stuffed Smoked Pork Tenderloin Sliders 


Pork Loin

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  4-5 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  145°F


Pork Ribs

 Smoker Temperature:  230°F
 Smoking Time:  5-6 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  180°F
Memphis Style Char-Smoked Pork Ribs
Smoked Pork Country-Style Ribs


Pork Belly 

 Smoker Temperature:  250°F
 Smoking Time:  6-8 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  195°F
BBQ Smoked Pork Belly Recipe


  • Avoid touching any bones as this will throw off the temperature reading.
  • Some smokers – like the deluxe digital electric smoker – come with thermometers that will automatically stop cooking and switch to warming mode once the meat has reached the desired temperature.  
  • Smoked pork will continue to cook once it has been removed from the smoker.  As a general rule, take pork out once the internal temperature is 5 degrees under the target temp.  The temperature will be right at the desired temperature by the time you are ready to dig in.

Now that you know the perfect cook time and temperature for any cut of smoked pork, search through Char-Broil’s community section to find a delicious smoked pork recipe, like our Apple Wood Smoked Pork Loin.

Grilled Whole Fish How-To plus Recipe

Grilling fish is a great way to cook up a healthy dinner that looks beautiful in no time.  Don’t be too quick to trim up that fish fillet though.  Even though it’s easy to be intimidated about eating whole fish, there are many benefits to cooking the fish with bone, skin, and head included.  The skin gets nice and crispy, while the flaky meat underneath steams with moist flavor from the bones.

How to Grill a Whole Fish:

Step 1: Select your fish – Ask the butcher for whole, cleaned fish.  If the idea of a fish fully-involved is a bit overwhelming for you, try just starting off with a whole fish with the head and fins removed.

Step 2: Prepare – Use a spritz bottle filled with olive oil for a great way to lightly coat the skin of the fish to prevent it from sticking.

Step 3: Grill – Have a sheet of aluminum foil close by for this recipe.  Creating a tent over the fish while it grills will help both sides of fish to cook quickly. 

Check out our How to Grill Fish guide for more tips and tricks.

Whole Grilled Baja-Style Sea Bass


  • 1 whole sea bass (optional: head and fins removed)
  • 1/2 cup achiote paste (found in the international food isle)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Gently score the skin of the fish.
  2. In a small bowl, mix achiote paste, orange juice, lemon juice, and lime juice.
  3. Spread mix gently on the inside of fish, but not on the skin.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium heat and place fish skin side down on grill. Cover with tent of foil and grill for about 15 minutes or until meat flakes with a fork.

Serve with spicy cabbage salad or fruity pineapple salsa for a tasty and light grilled fish dinner. 

Check out the Char-broil community page to find more delicious fish recipes like Grilled Stuffed Rainbow Trout.

Temperature Control: Timing Guide for Smoked Chicken

One of the most convenient luxuries of cooking with a digital electric smoker is that there is little to no fuss when preparing food like smoked chicken.  All you really need to do is check the internal temperature to be sure it reaches the target temperature of 165°F.

It may be tempting to just cook the smoked chicken by setting a timer and assuming that the chicken is done when it goes off, but the only way to know if the chicken is safe to eat is by referring to the internal temperature.

How to Check the Temperature:

  1. Use a digital meat thermometer.
  2. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, taking care to not touch any bones, as this will throw off the temperature reading.
  3. Read the temperature.  If the temperature has reached 165°F or higher, the smoked chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Smoked Chicken Temperature and Times Chart:

Whole Chicken

 Smoker Temperature:  250°F
 Smoking Time:  30 – 45 min/lb
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Garlic Herb Smoked Whole Chicken
Hardwood Smoked Beer Can Chicken
Easy Cherry Flavored Smoked Chicken


Chicken Breast

 Smoker Temperature:  250°F
 Smoking Time:  30 – 45 min/lb
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Smoked Chicken Breast with Caramelized Onions


Chicken Quarters

 Smoker Temperature:  250°F
 Smoking Time:  4 hours
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Sweet and Spicy Smoked Chicken Quarters


Chicken Thighs/Legs

 Smoker Temperature:  250°F
 Smoking Time: 2 hours
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Easy Smoked Chicken Thighs
BBQ Style Smoked Chicken Legs


Chicken Wings

 Smoker Temperature:  250°F
 Smoking Time: 1.5-2 hours
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Five Spice Smoked Chicken Wings
Hoisin-Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings

Quick Tips:

  • Some smokers – like the deluxe digital electric smoker – come with thermometers that will automatically stop cooking and switch to warming mode once the meat has reached the desired temperature. 
  • Smoked chicken will continue to cook once you take it out of the smoker.  To prevent chicken from overcooking, take it out at 160°F so that it will reach the perfect target temp of 165°F by the time you are ready to eat.
  • If you set your smoker to 250°F, estimate the cook time to be about 30-45 minutes per pound.

Now that you know the perfect temperature for smoked chicken, visit the Char-Broil community page to find smoked chicken recipes like our hickory smoked garlic chicken.  Try them all and find your favorite!

Simple Smoked Chicken Brine Recipe

Using a rub or marinade is a great way to pack flavor into your smoked chicken, but using a smoked chicken brine can actually help keep the meat moist while cooking and add flavor at the same time.

Because cooking with smoke can be a lengthy process, be sure that your smoked meat won’t dry out by soaking it in a brine prior to smoking.  Our garlic herb brine will get you moist and mildly flavored chicken straight from the smoker.

Tips for Smoked Chicken Brine:

  • Place the brine in a container that will be large enough to hold all the brine and the chicken comfortably.
  • Be sure to rinse excess brine off before smoking.  The flavor will stay soaked in, but rinsing the meat will remove any large clumps of spices that may have gathered while resting.
  • Discard the brine after use.  It has been in contact with raw meat and is no longer safe to be used again.
Garlic Herb Smoked Chicken Brine


  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 cups salt
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons thyme


  1. In a large saucepan, combine water, garlic cloves, peppercorns, salt, vinegar, rosemary, and thyme. Mix over low heat until combined and sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely by using ice or placing in refrigerator. Place chicken in brine so that it is completely covered and place in the fridge from 4-6 hours. Remove chicken from brine and rinse before smoking.

Visit the Char-Broil community site for more blog posts, recipes, and tips on how to use brines.

Cooking Time Guide for Smoked Turkey

Whether it’s smoked, fried, roasted, or grilled, turkey is a delectable alternative to chicken year-round.  With so many different cuts (breasts, wings, legs-oh my!), it may be tricky trying to decide how long to cook your turkey of choice.  We’ve broken it down to give you the scoop with this guide for smoked turkey cooking times.   

Meat and Method: How Long to Cook Smoked Turkey

No matter what cut or cooking method you choose, you can be sure that your turkey is done once the internal temperature has reached at least 165 °F.  Use a digital meat thermometer or the built-in digital probe of your device to be sure your turkey has reached the right temperature. 

Smoked Turkey Cooking Time When Using a Smoker:

Whole turkey: Set smoker to 240°F.  Cook 30-40 minutes per pound.  A smaller, 8 pound turkey will take about 4 hours.  A larger, 12 pound turkey will take about 6 hours.

Whole Turkey

 Smoker Temperature:  240°F
 Smoking Time:  4-6 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
How to smoke Turkey in a Digital Electric Smoker

Turkey breast: Set smoker to 240°F.  Cook 30-40 minutes per pound.  The average turkey breast is about 6 pounds- this will about 3 hours.

Turkey Breast

 Smoker Temperature:  240°F
 Smoking Time:  3-4 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

Turkey legs: Set smoker to 225°F.  Turkey legs will take about 4 hours.

Turkey Legs

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  4 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
How to Cook Smoked Turkey Legs

Turkey wings: Set smoker to 225°F.  Cook for about 1 1/2 -2 hours.

Turkey Wings

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  1-2 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
BBQ Smoked Turkey Wings

Smoked Turkey Cooking Time When Using a Grill:

Whole turkey: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F) and set up to cook with indirect heat.  Cook about 15 minutes per pound, or about 3 hours.

Whole turkey

 Grill Temperature:  325°F
 Smoking Time:  3 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Sage and Apple Smoked Turkey recipe

Turkey Breast: Preheat grill to high heat and set up for indirect cooking.  Cook for about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Turkey Breast

 Grill Temperature:  350°F
 Smoking Time:  1-2 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Grill Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey legs: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F) and set up for indirect grilling.  Sear over direct heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.  Let roast over indirect heat for 45-60 minutes.

Turkey Legs

 Smoker Temperature:  325°F
 Smoking Time:  45-60 mins
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Honey and Spice Grilled Turkey Legs

Turkey wings: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F).  Cook for about 30-40 minutes.

Turkey Wings

 Smoker Temperature:  325°F
 Smoking Time:  30-40 mins
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Grilled Turkey Wings


  • Take the meat off when it is 160°F and it will continue to cook while it rests, leaving it exactly at the safe temperature of 165°F by the time you are ready to dig in.

Like these tips for how to smoke turkey?  Char-Broil has all the best advice for smoking in our digital electric smoker collection. Check out our community page for more.

Smoking Guide: How to Cook Smoked Turkey Legs

A trip to the amusement park, carnival or fair is never complete without treating yourself to giant turkey legs dripping with amazing smokey flavor.  Make your own smoked turkey legs for a medieval dining experience right in your own home. They are a breeze to make- once they’re flavored, just throw the turkey legs in the smoker and let the heat do the rest.

How to cook smoked turkey legs:

1. Choose turkey legs

It can sometimes be difficult to find turkey legs separated from the whole turkey at a local grocery store.  Ask the butcher for help.  If you are going for the jumbo, carnival-style turkey leg, specifically ask for Tom Legs, which come from large male turkeys instead of the smaller female turkeys.

2. Brine

This step is vital to keeping turkey moist while smoking.  Lightly stretch skin away from turkey leg, careful not to tear it.  Mix spices with warm water to help sugars and seasonings dissolve.  Then cool brine in the fridge or with ice before submerging turkey.  Check out our article for another great smoked turkey brine recipe.

3. Rinse

Give your turkey a quick rinse after brining to remove any excess salt or seasoning.  Be sure to rinse under the skin where spices can easily get stuck.

4. Dry

Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry to help the rub stick.  Removing any excess water before smoking will also help to get beautifully browned skin.

5. Rub

Lightly apply a coat of cooking oil.  Mix up any combination of spices to use as a flavorful rub.  Get creative!  Try out different flavors like tangy BBQ or sweet honey.  You can’t go wrong with our spicy smoked turkey rub, or the savory rub we use in the recipe below.

6. Smoke

Heat your smoker to 225°F and smoke turkey for about 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°F.  For more information on how to long to smoke turkey, check out our article on smoked turkey cooking times.

Smoky Turkey Drumsticks Recipe


  • 6 turkey drumsticks
  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, salt, brown sugar, paprika, thyme, sage, onion powder, and garlic powder. Keep over heat until sugar and salt is dissolved.
  2. Cool brine with ice or in the refrigerator.
  3. Submerge turkey, place in fridge, and let rest overnight.
  4. Remove turkey and rinse. Pat dry and rub with olive oil.
  5. Work a turkey dry rub of choice into meat.
  6. Preheat smoker and set to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Add wood chips and place turkey in smoker. Let smoke for 4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove, let rest about ten minutes and enjoy.

With Char-Broil’s great variety of smokers, making any smoked meal is a breeze.  Try our Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef™ Technology or browse all of our great BBQ products here. 

Grilling guide: How to use wood chips

Using a smoker isn’t the only way to get great smoky flavor into your favorite foods- you can easily transform any grill into a smoker by simply using wood chips.  Here’s everything you need to know about how to grill with wood chips.

1. Choose your wood flavor.  


The multiple varieties of wood flavors each produce their own unique flavor of smoke.  Pick wood flavors that will compliment the food you are grilling.  The wood smoking chart above shows that poultry pairs well with fruity woods, while pork and beef are better suited for woods of stronger flavor.  Check out our article on smoking wood flavors for more information on choosing the right wood.

2. Choose size of smoking wood.

Pictured left to right: hickory chunks, alder chips, apple wood chunks

Smoking woods come in different sizes, such as chunks, logs, and simple smokes, but we recommend using chips for grilling because they are quick to smoke and easy to manage.  Chunks are better suited for when smoking for a long period of time and pellets burn out after just a little while of cooking.

3. Select grill method.


Your method of grilling with wood chips will differ based on the type of grill you are using.  Find the best method for you below.

  • Charcoal grill: Heat coals with half-time charcoal starter. Pour coals into grill and place smoke packet on top for a quick smoked suited for chicken or fish. For long smokes, try setting up a fuse burn with charcoal and wood chips/chunks. (pic)
  • Gas/Electric Grills: Place wood chips in packet or smoker box and place over direct heat.  Once the chips are smoking, move to cooler side of grill and add food.  
  • Tru-Infrared Grill: Place chips directly onto grate.


  • Amount of chips– For long smokes, add a packet of chips every 30 minutes to keep the smoky flavor going.  About 2-3 handfuls of chips placed on direct heat will smoke for about an hour.  
  • Soaking chipsIt might be tempting to soak your wood chips to prevent them from burning up faster.  This will only add time to the process and take away some of the smoke intensity because wet chips steam before smoking. If you are worried about the chips catching fire, place them in a foil packet.
  • Don’t lift the grill lid– Keep as much smoke as possible sealed in the grill to help flavor your food.

Char-Broil makes smoking easy with our 3-Pack Wood Chip Smoker Boxes. Check out these other great  Char-Broil® recipes for grilling with wood chips, like our Smoked Beef Brisket or Smoky Chicken Sliders.