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Smoke Ring

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Wood River BBQ Team

Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 426

Location: Tucson, AZ

Post Post subject: Smoke Ring  Reply with quote

I’m done with competition – it’s too expensive for me and I’m finished with trying to please a “one bite” judge. I’m now cooking for myself and I need to learn more about the meat cooking process in order to become a better backyard cook. It’s all readily available out there if you take the time to look for it.

I always thought that WOOD SMOKE produced the “pink smoke ring” – it doesn’t.  My WSM neighbor provided some basics, which I didn’t believe, so I decided to check it out on google.

Smoke itself doesn’t penetrate the meat muscle as most people believe. The GASES smoke produces interact with the pale pink meat protein (myoglobin) located in the top ½” of the meat and these gases PREVENT the meat in that area from turning gray like the rest of the meat. There are a number of variables that go into producing a smoke ring and the main ones are humidity, oxygen level, combustion temperature and the dryness of the wood. Unfortunately, scientists don’t understand the whole smoke ring process.

Scientist do know that the smoke ring is mostly caused by carbon monoxide and nitrogen monoxide gases produced by the burning wood. These gases love to mix together with themselves and with meat juices and mops. MOISTURE is the key to the smoke ring because nitrogen oxide loves to stick to a moist surface.

Here’s how to obtain a nice smoke ring. First, use a water pan, which produces humidity. The water pan is one reason WSM’s, which my neighbor owns, produce a consistent smoke ring. The second is to cook “low & slow”, which minimizes evaporation and surface drying and finally keep the meat surface wet with a mop. The smoke ring process stops at about 140F internal (160F on the meat surface).

Since most SMOKE goes up the chimney, where does the smoke flavor come from? Again it’s the smoke gases. Very little of the smoke itself  sticks to the outer surface of the meat but some does but it only penetrates to less than 1/8”.

Wood River BBQ Team
Post Posted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:30 pm 
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Joined: 07 Jan 2014
Posts: 15

Location: wylie,tx.

Post Post subject: Re: Smoke Ring Reply with quote

Monster smoke rings here in Texas and I never use a water pan. If talking brisket, trim the fat cap to 1/4" and get all fat off the money side that you can as rub won't stick to fat. Make sure the rub your using has salt in it as salt aids in the smoke ring process believe it or not. Rub her down good and  throw it on the cooker, fat cap down, at 250 degrees. When the internal temp of the point (not flat) hits 160 degrees foil it and add beef broth for moisture and flavor. At 160 meat stops taking on smoke. Stick a probe through foil into the flat and when you hit 200-205 degrees pull it. Leave covered in foil and throw into a cooler, cover with a few towels, close lid, and let rest for at least an hour. When you take out and slice it, slice against the grain, not with it, makes for break apart tender. I took pics of a brisket I did last weekend and wish I knew how to post them.
I own a Stumps smoker as well as the Lang 60 and have had two others in the past. The Stumps doesn't get near the rings that a stickburner does because a lot less wood is used in the cook, so whether it's smoke or smoke gasses, who knows, but you damn sure need lots of wood. Wood and salty rub will do it for you. Sometimes I do one hot and fast at 300-325 and still get a nice ring this way.

Post Posted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:32 am 
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