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Super frusturated about lack of smoke ring

For whatever reason a couple months ago, smoke rings just stopped on my large egg.   Brisket and Ribs both are just beef colored all the way through.  I used to create really nice smoke rings and for the life of me can't figure out what changed.  Same wood (cherry/apple for ribs and cherry/pecan for brisket), meat goes on cold, low and slow at the beginning to get as much smoke exposure.  Today I even left the ribs on for 3 hours before wrapping at 225 and right before I put them on I put 3 large chunks of cherry wood in there and had a ton of smoke over these ribs.  This just gave me darker almost black ribs.  No matter what I do I can't get a ring.

I know it shouldent matter and it's all about the taste but I used to get them and this is really bothering me that no matter what I do they are just gone.  Any tips outside of creating a fake one?  Cold meat, throwing wood on right before the meat, and low/slow at the beginning all are not doing it...

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Comments

  • DMWDMW Posts: 7,256
    Did you change rubs?
    My Facebook Place where I document my cooking
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - Hasty Bake Legacy - Black Stone Pizza Oven - Gasser - 30" Firepit w/SS Cooking Grid
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 11,561
    Perhaps it's a weather change?
  • hugewineohugewineo Posts: 49
    no same rubs, and the weather has been both cold and hot over the last couple of months with the same results.  Also I use a water pan for all my cooks, which is consistant both pre and post smoke rings..
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 8,339
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • DMWDMW Posts: 7,256
    Also, as an FYI, smoke ring cannot be taken into consideration during KCBS sanctioned judging.
    My Facebook Place where I document my cooking
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - Hasty Bake Legacy - Black Stone Pizza Oven - Gasser - 30" Firepit w/SS Cooking Grid
  • hugewineohugewineo Posts: 49
    I know I know it doesn't matter. But it does to me!  The fact that I can no longer create a smoke ring on brisket or ribs when I did it almost every time has got me completely stumped.  And honestly, this should be fixable.  If it worked before it obviously can work again, but what do I need to do...
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 8,339
    edited May 2014
    hugewineo said:

    I know I know it doesn't matter. But it does to me!  The fact that I can no longer create a smoke ring on brisket or ribs when I did it almost every time has got me completely stumped.  And honestly, this should be fixable.  If it worked before it obviously can work again, but what do I need to do...

    Don't be stumped...your post has the answer in it. You haven't changed anything, so that should tell you that you had nothing to do with the smoke ring.

    If you want to manufacture a smoke ring, add a lil pink or celery salt to your rub.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 842
    I found my old offset smoker created much better smoke rings but the control and not having to check on the egg at least twice an hour are worth more to me than a smoke ring.

    Gerhard
  • td66snrftd66snrf Posts: 774
    How's the food taste? That's the bottom line.
    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE, MINI, 2 Kubs, Fire Magic Gasser
  • stemc33stemc33 Posts: 3,290
    Some people cheat by using Morton's Tender Quick if there worried about presentation. The egg is not the best tool to create a smoke ring according to the stuff I've read. +1 for what @td66snrf‌ said.
    Steven
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,408
    The smoke ring is created at temps below 140* (I think) The colder the meat is when you put it on the more time there is for it to develop.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,408
    edited May 2014
    Also, have you changed lump? A "dirtier" lump like  Royal Oak will create more of a ring than a cleaner one like Ozark Oak, Rockwood, Maple Leaf. As I remember the ring is actually particulate deposit on the meat reacting to the enzymes in it.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • SenecaTheYoungerSenecaTheYounger Posts: 368
    edited May 2014
    The smoke ring is produced when trace amounts of nitrogen dioxide in wood smoke are absorbed into the meat (by its cells' internal water), picking up hydrogen and becoming nitric acid, and eventually becoming nitric oxide.

    Nitrogen oxide reacts with myoglobin (hemoglobin carries oxygen/iron in blood, and makes it red. myoglobin carries oxygen in muscles. there is more of it in dark meat) and creates a stable pink pigment molecule (nitrosohemochrome) which is heat stable.

    This needs to occur before myoglobin proteins have denatured (cooked), which is where we get the rule about cold meat and surface meat temperatures above 140 stopping the reaction.

    Humid environments and types of rub have varying effects. (somewhat empirical)

    This is essentially the same reaction which sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate effect re color in cured foods.



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    Seneca Falls, NY

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,408
    So...was I right?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 7,198
    edited May 2014
    Seneca beat me to pulling the info I had kept, it is all about the meat temp and the amount of NO in the smoke. 
    @Little_Steven is on the right track I think if you are not using a smoke wood. Clean lump with chunks of smoke wood mixed in might just produce the same amount of NO as a dirty lump with no smoke wood. 
    Right from fridge to grid seems to promote ring development from my experience. Adding the right salts can also help. EDIT - just before the cook, so the salt pulls some moisture to the surface of the meat. 
    Try a cook without rub and see if you have any ring. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,408
    Skiddy, I'm not sure but I don't think Seneca needed to look it up. Just sayin'

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • SenecaTheYoungerSenecaTheYounger Posts: 368
    edited May 2014
    @Little Steven
    Not literally, but for our purposes, essentially.

    > the ring is actually particulate deposit on the meat [In the technical sense that molecules are particles, yes.  But this is on a molecular level, and it's not about particles of smoke, but molecules of NO2 themselves]

    > reacting to the enzymes in it [reacting to the molecule myoglobin, which is not an enzyme, but a protein.]

    In a world where people understanding concepts is becoming a rare thing, you certainly understood the concept.

    And since we do not generally care about the science when cooking on a smoker or grill, the parts you did not have technically correct make no real difference.

    We do not probably care why it happens, except for the times when it doesn't, and we can't figure out why. I just thought the science (which I simplified, and may have glossed over), was interesting.

    You have it right for the most part.

    I would look at the web page I linked to which showed varying levels of smoke ring depth.  I am not overly concerned with it, but do prefer having a smoke ring.  Perhaps it was a confluence of subtle factors. Steven suggested less smokey lump.  Note that the humid environment seems to allow a deeper but paler ring (in the limited 'evidence' of the web page linked to.

    If it is a one time occurrence with all the same variables in place, I would suggest maybe the smoke itself was in lesser amounts than previously. That would be the one factor a person might not notice varying from cook to cook. The amount of smoke during the initial period of smoke ring formation.




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  • calracefancalracefan Posts: 499
    Could your wood chunks be a little more seasoned(drier) so not releasing moisture into the egg ? Not sure if this is possible, just grasping for air here !
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • ??
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  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,916
    edited May 2014
    @L_S-does sound a lot like your above description at 2:08 PM.  But who cares...eggcellent information helps us all.
    Louisville   L & S BGEs 
  • hugewineohugewineo Posts: 49

    So maybe its the moisture thing, although I keep a water pan underneath.  Maybe spritzing with apple cider vinegar and apple juice once every half hour for the first couple of hours would help?  Looks like in that article Seneca referenced they were getting ring even with precooked meat that way?

  • Miked125Miked125 Posts: 278
    My last brisket had next to nothing for a smoke ring, like nothing. The taste was amazing though, so don't sweat it....... It's really the taste.
  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 9,712
    I've been told to add one or two briquettes to your fire to produce a smoke ring.  I haven't tried it because smoke rings have never been important to me.  But it's worth a try if you like smoke rings.
  • alyndalynd Posts: 97
    How much pink salt should you add if you want a nice smoke ring?  It sounds like cheating to me, but I'm ok with that.
  • I read somewhere that adding a couple brickettes of kingsford charcoal on top of the lump will improve the smoke ring. Something about the additives in kingsford.

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,408
    alynd said:
    How much pink salt should you add if you want a nice smoke ring?  It sounds like cheating to me, but I'm ok with that.

    I've never seen a method that defined an amount of salt. It is more like sprinkle some on and rinse after a few minutes.

    (http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.ca/1996/03/smoke-rings.html)


     

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 17,510
    edited May 2014
    this seems to go against reasoning or anything that you might read here
    :D but i get better smoke rings in the egg cooking hotter and faster than i do with lower slower temps. this brisket was past 140 degrees in about 2 hours and then finished in foil

    image

    and this was cooked at 220 dome

    image

    my only thoughts is that with big chunks it might be bettter to start hotter to really get them smoking verse chips that may work a little better at lower temps
  • KruegsKruegs Posts: 128
    DMW said:
    Also, as an FYI, smoke ring cannot be taken into consideration during KCBS sanctioned judging.


    It could be taken into account for an appearance score, but shouldn't.  Judging tends to be pretty subjective.

    XL BGE; CyberQ Wifi; Adjustable Rig, Woo2 Green Bay, Wisconsin
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