Bradley Smoker FAQ's - Answers
Submitted by: Habanero Smoker
Q. Can I get a "smoke ring" using the Bradley propane smoker?
A. Yes. The Bradley propane smoker will produce a "smoke ring", though the electric models won't.
“Smoke ring” is a reddish/pink coloration just under the surface of the meat, and is considered a sign that the meat was properly barbecued; it does not add any flavor to the meat. "Smoke ring" can also be artificially produced, so it is not always a sign of properly cooked barbecue. The term "smoke ring" is misleading, and in other circles it is often referred to as "pink ring". The ring is not cause by a chemical reaction of the smoke with the meat, but by the chemical reaction caused by nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is a byproduct of burning organic fuels such as wood, charcoal, natural gas, and propane gas. You can also produce a "smoke ring" in your propane or natural gas oven. Just use the low and slow method of cooking and leave the meat uncovered.
Once the nitrogen dioxide comes in contact with the meat surface it converts to nitric oxide, which then reacts to the pigment (myoglobin) in the meat to form a "pink ring" (similar to what sodium nitrite does when in comes in contact with meat). This reaction can penetrate to a depth of 1/4 to 3/8 inch (8-10 mm). In addition this can only occur using the low and slow method of cooking.
This reaction does not happen in the electric smokers - although the bisquettes fall into the category of organic fuel; to produce nitrogen dioxide in sufficient quantities, the fuel must be burned at a much higher temperature then the bisquettes that smolder on the hot plate.
See Why can’t I get a smoke ring, while I’m smoking meat in the Bradley Smoker? for more information.