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At what temp. does meat absorb smoke.

Joined Dec 27, 2010
I have heard in the past that meat will only absorb smoke to 135 deg.  (I presume this is internal temp)  If you wanted a smokier end product that you should start with cold meat straight from the refrigerator.  If you start with room temperature meat it will absorb less smoke.  If this is true we are just wasting smoke after the meat reaches 135 deg.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this ?


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Mar 6, 2009
Wish I could answer that for you. 

I would be willing to think that that judgement was made by looking at the smoke ring development.  Over 135 internal the smoke ring no longer develops, I would think has some validity but I have to do a bit of reading to be comfortable saying that for sure.

Good Question,  I know someone that knows will chip in here in a minute


the dude abides

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 12, 2008
The meat will continue to take on smoke the entire time it is exposed to said smoke. There is a point where the smoke ring will stop developing. So keep it in the TBS through the entire smoke and you'll be rewarded with some tasty Q.

I would recommend always starting your smoke with cold meat to help you to get through the 40-140 temperature safe zone in less than 4 hours. If you bring it up to room temp first your wasting valuable time not in the smoke.

Hope this helps.
Last edited:


Master of the Pit
Joined Feb 10, 2009
Meat will still absorb smoke as long as you have it rolling. The smoke ring will stop forming but keep taking on flavor and making bark from charcoal. I keep the smoke going the full smoke unless i have the meat in foil,then there's really no point to have smoke going cause the it will not reach the meat.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
I agree, I keep the smoke rolling the whole time too.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Like others said the meat will continue to absorb smoke flavor throughout the smoke but the smoke ring will not penetrate any deeper once the meat hits around 135-140 degrees.

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