I frequently see statements like, "Meat only takes smoke for 3 hours so why waste wood!"...Or..."If there's Meat in the Smoker, I'm makin' smoke!"....So What do you think?
Smoke is made up of microscopic Flavorful Particulate Matter that is liberated from the burning wood along with a variety of Gasses, some Nitrogen based, depending on the source there is also significant Heat...When our Meat comes in contact with the Smoke, these Flavor Particles adhere to the Surface of the meat and the Gasses dissolve into the moisture in the muscle and react with the Myoglobin in the meat to set the Pink color...As time progresses more Flavor Particles accumulate and more Gasses dissolve and penetrate into the meat increasing the depth of the Pink color...At some point approximately 2-3 hours after exposure begins, meat reaches 140°F, the Heat has sufficiently Denatured the Muscle Proteins, aka Cooked them, and Dehydrated the surface of the meat to the point that the Gasses can no longer penetrate. However the Flavor Particles are still present and continue to bounce into and adhere to the Surface of the meat...As long as Smoke is generated and there is Meat for the Flavor Particles to adhere to, there will be an ever increasing accumulations of these Flavor Particles on the surface and the flavor we call Smokey Goodness will increase...There will be no increased depth of the Pink Ring for reasons previously stated...I have twice stated the Flavor particles adhere to the SURFACE of the meat because, I believe very little of these Flavor Particles are carried and/or dissolved into the meat with the Nitrogen based Gasses that form the " Smoke Ring "...
Bottom line...You will only get a Smoke Ring during the first 2-3 hours but if you want a stronger Smoke Flavor let the Smoke flow as long as you got Meat in the Smoker...JJ
Edited by Chef JimmyJ - 4/21/14 at 8:05pm