A Treatise on Grilling #8: The Smoke Ring
The first weekend of National BBQ Month is upon us, and I think it is time to decode one of the mystical wonders of BBQ: the smoke ring. True BBQ-ists will know the smoke ring as that beautiful ping ring of color that encompasses properly smoked brisket and pork loins. It's pink, but it's done. The pink color does not come from blood, rather it is an enzymatic reaction that takes place when chemicals in the smoke meet the pigments in the tissue of the meat. The size of the smoke ring is a testament to how well the pitmaster controlled the temperature of his pit and the smoke flow.
It is a common misconception that that smoke ring is a sign of undercooked meat, but in actuality it is a sign of the reaction between the smoke and the pigment myoglobin which is present in meat. In beef, the myoglobin makes the meat a bright cherry-pink color. In pork it will be a grayish-pink.
When wood in a smoker is burned, the resulting combustion produces Nitrogen which combines with oxygen in the air to form Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).
Tips for getting the best smoke ring.
Stay tuned for more grilling and barbeque information all month long. For now, check out Men in Aprons' previous installments in "A Treatise on Grilling:"