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How long does it take to smoke meat or fish?

How long does it take to smoke meat or fish?

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This is a question we are often and reasonably asked by our customers. Well, there is no definitive answer actually because it depends what you are smoking and what you are hoping to achieve.

Meat or fish smoking times vary dramatically and the following guidelines are EXTREMELY general. Practice makes perfect and specific recipes should be followed if in doubt. Recipes can be found in smoking cookbooks.

The three basic versions of smoking are these: 

  1. Quick smoke. Add flavour to the meat only. The meat must still be cooked on the BBQ, in the oven, in a soup etc. The times for this can be from a few minutes to an hour or more.
  2. Smoke & Cook. Sufficient heat and time are given to both cook the meat and add the smoky flavour.  This is a typical 'low temperature and slow' cook and smoke process (typically this can take from 20 minutes for some fish to a day for a large piece of meat). A thermometer (provided with our electric smokers) is necessary to make sure the inside of the meat reaches and maintains a sufficiently high temperature to cook safely.
  3. Preserve by Smoking. Preserving the meat or fish by smoking can be a very long process that actually 'cures' the the meat or fish without heat and preserves it. This can take several days of cold smoking and is generally only undertaken by experienced smokers using a professional smoker.