Q: Dr. BBQ,
Is there a way to get more of a smoke ring in the meat you smoke, or is it just the luck of the draw?
A: Hi Heywood,
The redness that we call a “smoke ring” is a chemical reaction, and it can be manipulated. A simple trick is to put your meat on while it’s very cold. It seems this reaction ceases when the meat reaches more than 120 or 140°F, depending on whom you believe. I’ve also found that combustion levels in different woods and cookers can vary the smoke ring. Morton’s Tender Quick is another way to enhance the smoke ring. When this curing agent is used properly, it creates a fake smoke ring. Used improperly, it has been known to make corned beef. Many good cooks use it, but I happen to think I can detect it in the taste and texture.