smoke penetration

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 4, 2006
Southside of Chicago
when I smoke my meat I don't get too much smoke penetration what could be the cause of this? To much dry rub? Cooking to fast?? And how thick does your smoke penetrate into your meat.
Smoke penetration works best for me when I stay LOW & SLOW. I never bothered to measure the depth of the smoke ring, but I am happy if when I cut the meat, I see a pink ring.

One of the more science tyope will be able to give a better explanation.

What type of meat are you have trouble sith, and what type of wood are you using? is the wood in chunks, splits, ships? what is the source of heat on your smoker? What type of smoker/cooker are you using?
I get a better smoke ring on beef than I do pork for some reason. Or maybe I just can see it better on the beef since I normally slice it and pull the pork. Anyway, on a long smoke like a butt or brisket I would think a 1/4 - 3/8" smoke ring would be about typical.
OK, here goes:
Myoglobin is a pigment that gives muscle its color. Beef muscle has more pigment than pork muscle, thus beef has a darker color than pork. Chicken thighs have a darker color than chicken breasts, thus chicken thigh muscle has more pigment (myoglobin) than chicken breast tissue. A greater myoglobin concentration yields a more intense color. When a smoke ring develops in smoked meats it is not because smoke has penetrated and colored the muscle, but rather because gases in the smoke interact with the pigment myoglobin. The wood you use contains large amounts of nitrogen (N). While burning, the nitrogen in the logs combines with the oxygen (O) in the air to form nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide is highly water-soluble. The pink ring is created when NO2 is absorbed into the moist meat surface and reacts to form nitrous acid. The nitrous acid then diffuses inward creating a pink ring. Hope that helps you understand a bit. As stated, SLOW and LOW gets the job done...
Oh yeah, I looked it up, I've been out of school far too long to remember anything scientific like that. Just thought he would enjoy the in depth analysis. Besides, I felt compelled to offer up a little myoglobin "history"...
Nice post Prof. JMack! :D The length of time that the meat takes to reach 140 deg. will also play into how deep the ring goes. Above 140 degrees and the chemical reaction ceases. Not to reopen a can of worms here, but I would think that meats placed into the smoker right from the 'fridge (36 deg.) would develope a nicer-deeper ring than the same cut that was allowed to sit out for a half hour or so before being introduced to the smoke.
Your right Dutch. I have seen this with my first couple of smokes. Nice deep, dark smoke ring, right out of the fridge. Less so with room temp meat...
I 3rd that Dutch.

Another forum turned me on to that tip. I do it every time now. Makes for a longer smoke time while the meat is coming up to temp but...who cares??? I have the day set aside for just that
and of course the favorite adult beverage.

Take care,

To play devil's advocate.....What about the theory that it is not good for meat to go from cold frdge, to heat source. Causes meat to go into shock...

I don't follow that theory, I personaly would put the meat in the freezer, if I thought it would help my cook.... Usually gets the time it takes to get from the fridge to the grates to thaw/warm up. No bad effects, and I have allowed the meat to come towards room temp and cooked with no ill effect either way.
OK, I have been watching this and just have to pontificate :roll: .

I have definitely noticed that cold food takes longer to cook than room temp food. DUH

I have also noticed that cold food gets a better smoke ring than room temp food. Longer time to get to 140 deg.

I have thrown frozen chicken breasts in the smoker and they tasted like A$$.

I have smoked a turkey on an ECB that was still frozen enough that the giblet pack wouldn't come out. Tasted like a little slice of heaven.

So, to sum this up, either the BBQ god is going to smile on you, or he ain't.
Iguess thyats what I've been doing is letting the meat sit out before I put it on the smoker. Don't know where I got that fromBut from what I read is that it is safer for the meat. BUUUUUT if I take it right from the fridge and it takes longer to cook it is more probable that I will get more reaction (not penetration) of smoke on the meat. is this correct?
That is what some will tell you. Others will tell you it IS better to let the meat warm up. Once again, it is your choice, and what works best for you. I don't give this too much thought, I am either running late with getting started,...straight from fridge to grates, OR I am so eager, that I take the meat out, to let it warm, and to add a last second seasoning. Then the worst case, where the wife pulls the meat out of the box because it is taking up too much space.
thanks for everybodys input. Looks like I opened a can of worms with this question. Has anybody had a problem with the amount of dry rub that they use. maybe I have smoked dry rub and less smoked meat, is that posible :?: maybe I can smoke the dry rub before I put it on :!: Smoked spices :!: Am I getting a little crazy :?: Thought process going on as I type. My girlfriend and whole family thinks I have gone nuts.
My guess is that it would taste really crappy!! :P
Seems to me, you can use too much or too little, itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s a matter of taste…I suppose, experiment with what tastes bland or over seasoned. Take notes and save for next time. Ask these guys for their expertise, learn from their and your mistakes. Some spices DO have a smoky flavor to them, like cumin. If it donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t taste like A$$, itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s good Q!

Just my noobie 2¢ is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads