Smoke ring

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
Dec 7, 2016
Whitmore Lake Michigan
Hey guys,
Ive been smoking for about a decade now and consider myself a fair cook. I'm an eagle scout so have good outdoor cooking skills, been to culinary school and currently own several smokers and grills (I'm not bragging just want to express I'm not really a newbie).
I consider my cooking quite good as my friends and family will attest to. I'm very pleased with everything I do...The flavors are all good, texture is where I want, I get good "bark" when appropriate, but one thing eludes me...A good looking smoke ring...I've been to many competitions to observe and taste and feel I'm at least average, maybe better...But I never seem to get that nice pronounced smoke ring I see at the competitions...That's probably the very reason I've don't compete. My food tastes great, I just don't get that nice pink ring...Any ideas as to what I'm doing wrong? As a culinary grad I understand that appearances are nearly as important as taste...Any advice would be appreciated.
I agree with Ray, we need more info.

But I might add, if your using an electric smoker, you won't get a smoke ring.

Thanks guys,
While I've got several smokers,(2 brinkmans, a WSM, an older offset and a small electric) for my brisket I usually use my 40 inch propane masterbuilt (I like the rack size and temp control)
I've modified it to include a small firebox I can add chunks and charcoal to as I've been told higher temp combustion is needed to release nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide from the wood to get a nice smoke ring, added vents top and bottom and added a much larger water pan which ALWAYS has water...I'm obsessive about that.
I use two different techniques in the MES with my chunks as far as "soaking" goes. My first few chunks go in dry in the fire box with some good hot coals. I then have an old 6 inch cast iron pot I fill up with water and add two more chunks...this goes over the propane burner set on low...The theory is that I'll get longer smoke production without opening and adding wood...While the dry wood smokes right away the water needs to evaporate from the pot before the other wood begins to smoke...This seems to work pretty good and I intend on further testing this season.
I have several digital thermometers for accurate temp measuring.
About the brisket; I use a Packers cut, trim the fat cap pretty tight, use a dry rub. I pre-heat my smokerto around 180°F then adjust after I add the meat. I put the meat fat cap down directly on the rack in the middle top of the smoker. I mop" using a spray bottle, and don't foil wrap unless I'm pressed for time and need to hurry things along. I cook low and slow shooting for consistent temps of 225°F, cook to an internal temp of 200°F and usually don't add much smoke after the first 4-5 hours except a couple chips now and then for ambience...(company expects to see smoke coming out of the smoker and I love the Any ideas...As I've already got WAY to much equipment I really don't want more...Lol...
I don't really get much of a smoke ring with my propane smoker either.

Now with my WSM or my offset I get a real big smoke ring.

I just don't think there is enough combustion in the gasser.

Obviously it doesn't get much better even with the addition of a small firebox.

Don't think there's much of a solution, other than switching to charcoal/wood or plain wood for your heat & smoke.

But then the smoke ring is just cosmetic & has nothing to do with the flavor.

You could always do a cheaters smoke ring & soak your meat in a curing brine overnight & it will turn the outside 1/4 to 1/2 inch of meat bright red.

Thanks Al, that's about my assessment too...I was hoping someone might have a trick up their sleeve.
And like you said, it's all about the taste anyway and everyone likes mine. So I guess if appearance is that important I need to learn to smoke on my offset instead of using it as a grill. Think I'll pass. I know how many hundreds of hours it took to get this far...Not sure I'm motivated enough to learn another piece of equipment...I just want to eat good Q
Certain types of wood will give you better smoke rings also.

Cherry, kiawe, mesquite, red oak all will provide a better smoke ring.

As mentioned your propane and electric aren't going to get you much if any ring.

I smoke dry and can achieve a smoke ring in my propane smoker but it's not as deep as what I can get in the WSM's

AddIng 4-6 hunks lit charcoal into your smoke wood in your propane or electric smoker can help too.

Honestly I don't care if there's a smoke ring or not. If it tastes good that's all I care about.
Thanks dirtsailor,
I have a firebox modification in my smoker that I use with coals and chunk wood in combination with the propane and I've tried all the normal smoke woods to no avail.
Now that I'm reasonably sure my "elusive smoke ring" isn't something I'm doing wrong but a product of my equipment of choice, problem solved because as you've all said, to which I agree, it's all about the flavors and everyone likes mine.
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