Q: Dear Sir,
I own a large Big Green Egg and enjoy the results I get from this smoker. My question is, how do I get a nice pink smoke ring in my meat, specifically baby back ribs? My end product is as good as I would hope for–nice and smoky and the meat comes right off the bone–but there is never a smoke ring. I don’t have this problem when I smoke a brisket or other meat, just my baby backs. I smoke my meat indirectly at around 250°F for about 3 to 4 hours using one chunk hickory and one chunk pecan wood.
San Diego, CA
A: Hi Ed,
I’m kind of surprised that you’re not getting a smoke ring on your ribs. Here are some things that might help:
Start the meat out cold. The reddish coloring that we refer to as “smoke ring” is a chemical reaction between the nitrites in the smoke and the protein in the meat. It’s similar to the color produced by curing a ham or a piece of corned beef. This coloring process ceases at 120 or 140°F, depending on whom you believe, but either way it’s not that long into the cook. Starting with cold meat helps keep the temp down for as long as possible.
On the same note, you need to make sure that your wood chunks are igniting early in the cook or the meat will be past that window by the time the smoke starts rolling. Also, some woods seem to create more color than others. Cherry does very well but so does hickory, which you are using.