BBQ Time and Temp – The Big Myth

The number one question I see in Facebook Groups is I am cooking (Insert Meat) BBQ Time and Temp? It drives me crazy.

BBQ Time and Temp is the number question asked over and over in every Facebook BBQ Group. Ugh. This question makes me crazy time and time again.

The biggest flaw people have in their Backyard BBQ adventures is trying to cook to time and not to an internal temperature. Whenever anyone asks this dreaded question I respond with the same comment…

Probe Tender > Internal Temp > Time

Greg Taylor

Sometimes BBQ is an exercise in patience. I understand the time question, really I do. I know the cook wants to understand an estimated done time for guests or family. But things do not work this way in the world of Backyard BBQ. It just doesn’t.

Why Doesn’t BBQ Time And Temp work?

The short answer is Science. But for those who read this far — here the longer version: BBQ Time and Temp is not reliable because there are more variables in BBQ than there are constants.

What type of meat are you smoking? What cut of that meat are you cooking? What’s the weather like during the cook? What kind of smoker are you using? Pellets or Wood? What kind of wood? [I think you get the picture.]

What Does Work Instead of Time and Temp?

The best way to know when your cook is done is first by judging its Internal Temperature. Once the cook hits the recommended safe temperature, then check to see if it’s probe tender. (Probe Tender is when a thermometer goes in and out of your cooked meat as if it was going into butter. Similar to checking when a baked good is ready.]

Are there exceptions to the rule?

Yes, when it comes to smoking there are exceptions to this rule. Items that are either already fully cooked, like ground beef previously browned in a skillet for Smoked Sloppy Joe’s, vegetables, and an item like Smoked Cream Cheese would all be exceptions. Since these items are already cooked or do not require a safe minimum internal temp they are all outliers.

Good Backyard BBQ takes time and time takes patience. My suggestion to you is to keep a log of all your cooks and not weight of meat, weather conditions, smoker settings and anything else specific to your cooks and keep track of your own timing. This will help your BBQ Time and Temp vs. asking a question that pretty much no one has the right answer to.

Thank you for reading! Happy Smoking!

Grilled Jawn Backyard BBQ Grill Guide

See what’s in our Backyard and the what we use to cook.


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