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Smoke absorption


Joined May 29, 2020
I’m sure this has been covered somewhere else but for whatever reason, I’m having trouble finding info on it.
At what temperatures does the meat stop absorbing smoke?

smokin peachey

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Aug 1, 2016
Here is something to look at.


Smoke Blower
Joined Feb 4, 2009
I always wait till my meat hits 165 before wrapping, that is the ideal temp for maximum smoke ring and flavor not to mention speeding up the cook by helping you get through the stall.

paprika pal

Smoke Blower
Joined Mar 21, 2010
The smoke is attracted to the moisture on the surface of your meat so as long as it is moist it should gain smoke flavor, at least in the bark. The thickness of the bark often depends on the rub constituents. Rubs with a higher solids content and the amount you put on determines the bark thickness. (Brown Sugar or mustard rubs thicker than vinegar being the main component )

maybe unrelated but the “smoke ring” Has more to do with the myoglobin present at the surface. It does react with combustion gasses but the limiting factor is the amount of myoglobin close to the surface. So that is not a good determination of how “Smoky” the meat tastes. Just my two cents.

hope this at least gets you thinking.🤔


Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 18, 2020
I’m sure this has been covered somewhere else but for whatever reason, I’m having trouble finding info on it.
At what temperatures does the meat stop absorbing smoke?
Short answer is about 160* the temp where the dreaded stall starts to occur. The meat juices are flowing outward during the stall. Myoglobin is also loosing an oxygen molecule so the meat is turning brown internally. Once the meat is brown, the myoglobin can no longer bond with nitric oxide (NO) produced from smoke, this is what gives a pink ring to bbq.
The colder your meat is when you start your smoke, the lower the cook temp is the longer the meat takes to reach that 160* mark and the more potential for smoke flavor as well as smoke ring.

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
There are frequent posts where a Newbie will ask, " How long should I apply Smoke to my Meat? " This will be followed by one or more folks answering, " It won't take no more Smoke after 4 hours. "
Here's what's happening in your Smoker...
Smoke is made up of Gasses, some containing Nitrogen, Particles of assorted chemicals, most of which have a pleasant flavor, and some Tars and Oils. As the meat is being smoked many of these Gasses dissolve into the meats surface moisture. Since in the early stages this moisture can move in and out of the outer 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the meats surface we get flavor from these Gasses and in a chemical reaction between the Nitrogen Dioxide and the Myoglobin, the stuff that makes meat Red and does NOT contain any Blood, we get a permanent color change from red to pink. A Smoke Ring! During this chemical reaction the smoke Particles start building on the surface of the meat. Since they are too big to penetrate very far, the particles only accumulate on the surface with some of the smaller ones being carried an extremely short distance in with the surface liquids. Bottom line, Smoke is made up of many chemicals and gasses. The Gasses can combine with the meat juices and they will be Absorbed and enter the meat until about an IT of 140*F(approx. 4 hours at 225-250°F) when the muscle fibers contract, cook, to the point that very little passes in or out...BUT...The flavorful smoke Particles will continue to built up on the surface, in other words it will continue to " Take Smoke ", as long as smoke is being applied to the meat.
So, no more " Smoke Ring " penetration after 140*F but " Smoke Flavor " will keep building until you remove the meat from the Smoke...JJ

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