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Smoking barbecue at 225 vs 250 degrees can be an important decision.
250 degrees can get your barbecue done quicker than smoking at 225, but will use more fuel in the process.
Despite this, Many PitMasters will recommend to smoke at around 250 degrees indicating it is better to have a quicker cook and use more fuel than to have a longer cook and waste precious time.
Smoking at 225 vs 250 is also the most common temperature range that can cook most forms of barbecue including brisket, pork shoulder, and ribs.
Does having smoker temp at 250 vs 225 speed up your cook?
Having a smoker temp out at 250 can absolutely speed up your cook.
The collagen, fat, and connective tissue all seem to respond very well to hotter temperatures by cooking through faster than you would see at 225 degrees in ambient temperature.
Here’s a quote from a PitMaster I saw over on reddit:
250-285 will render the soft fat in the brisket. 200-225 may render some of it but you won’t get that delicious top layer of salty fat.
Learned this from Aaron Franklin after doing it wrong for years.
And I’ll echo the top to keep it wrapped in a cooler for as long as you can stand it.”supervinci – PitMaster
In other words, smoking at 250 is right at around the sweet spot, since it seems to completely render down all the fat and tissue within the meat, without going so hot that it’s almost grilling it.
It is also very common for most smokers to begin rising in temperature, well beyond the 225 degree mark, and steady out at around 250 degrees.
That means if you happen to leave your pit un attended for a period of time, the temperature balance seems to always hover around 250.
What are the benefits of smoking at either 225 or 250?
The benefits of smoking at 250 would be that your barbecue will cook through faster than smoked at 225 degrees.
It will probably use more fuel, but the added benefit of saving time will be worth it.
That being said, you can still get great results with smoking at 225 degrees, it will just take a little longer.
Benefits of smoking at 250 degrees:
- Cooks your Barbecue Faster
- Renders down all fat and connective tissue properly
Benefits of smoking at 225 degrees:
- Easier to manage the fire pit at a lower temp
- Not as much fuel is consumed throughout the process
There are certainly benefits for both smoking at 225 and 250 degrees, you just have to decide which one is more important to you.
What are the drawbacks of smoking at 225 vs 250 degrees?
The drawbacks of smoking at 250 degrees would be that it uses slightly more fuel than smoking at 225 degrees.
It doesn’t take as long, but will require you to prepare enough fuel to ensure a thorough cook.
Smoking at 225 degrees will take a long time, and can make a PitMaster very inpatient.
These psychological effects can directly impact your smoking of barbecue because you will tend to pull it too soon, thus having an undercooked piece of meat.
Drawbacks of smoking at 250 degrees:
- Use more fuel in the process
- More preparation involved for gathering fuel
- May be harder to keep fire stoked to hit 250 degrees consistently
Drawbacks of smoking at 225 degrees:
- Takes a lot longer than smoking at hotter temperatures
- PitMasters will get too impatient and pull their barbecue off the grates too early
- Higher probability of having undercooked meat
Which is the most popular method for smoking?
It is more common to hear from experienced PitMasters to smoke barbecue at 250 rather than at 225.
This is simply because it cooks your meat quicker, and can produce more consistent results.
It also does not make you as impatient throughout the cooking process as smoking at 225 degrees would.
There are many ‘popular’ ways to smoke barbecue, and temperature ranges are definitely one of them.
It can be a highly contested topic, but on average, you will see that most people start off at 225 degrees (since it is easier), then progress to cooking their barbecue at hotter temps.
This is simply due to how quickly you can produce barbecue, rather than spend a lot more hours tending to a fire at a lower heat range.
What are the different cuts of barbecue that can be smoked at 225 or 250?
There are a variety of different barbecue cuts that can all be smoked at 225 or 250 degrees.
These include brisket, ribs, and pork shoulder.
Smoking brisket at 225 or 250
Smoking brisket can be done at either 225 or 250.
Each temperature range produces slightly different results and requires different steps in the cooking process.
Smoking brisket at 225 would take quite a long time, and may not completely render down all of the fat, collagen, and connective tissue within the meat.
This is simply because it takes such a long time, most people throw in the towel too soon and will pull their brisket way before it’s done, thus not having a completely rendered down brisket at hand.
Furthermore, smoking a brisket at 250 does take a little bit more fuel, but will drastically speed up your cook.
Having a faster cook will also motivate those smoking to continue through the entire process and pull at the correct temps.
How Long Do You Smoke Brisket at 225
I would budget about 1 hour per pound when smoking a brisket at 225 degrees.
This is pretty much the gold standard for anything barbecue, and holds true in my personal experience.
That being said, be aware each brisket is different!
Every brisket you will ever touch has different weights, grades, and marbling content.
This will all directly impact the longevity of your cook, regardless of how hot you choose to cook at.
How Long Do You Smoke Brisket at 250
Smoking brisket will be slightly quicker than that of one smoked at 225 degrees.
Plan to have about .85-1 pound per hour of cook time.
The difference isn’t drastic, but has the benefits as mentioned above in this article.