Science of BBQ from Smoke, Wood, to Meat & Fat - How it Works (2023)

Science of BBQ from Smoke, Wood, to Meat & Fat - How it Works (1)

Why does meat, after basking in a warm smoky cloud, yield exceptional BBQ? Of course not just any smoke — we can’t just fire up a bunch of cardboard and newspaper and end up with good brisket — it takes a quality cloud built from specific woods. And what about the food before, during, and after the process? If we can understand some these parameters we will better know what needs to happen to get better results.

Mastering the art of great BBQ and smoked meats starts with understanding the chemistry of meat, fat, and last but not least, smoke and fire. In this article we explore the science, the why, behind successfully smoking meat. We’ll also do a little myth busting around commonly believed theories on BBQ and grilling. All this BBQ geekdom to help you understand basic factors that dictate the quality of your BBQ.

Apply dry heat get moist food

That phrase doesn’t make sense unless we know the chemistry of meat. There are three components that give a moist juicy and enjoyable end result:

  1. Water
  2. Fat
  3. Collagen

Each of these three elements are affected by heat in different ways, and also by the chemical compounds around them, and equally as often, by each other.

Yes, we know the best smoking environment uses humidity in the process, sometimes naturally, sometimes an addition we control, and sometimes because the meats add vapor to the environment. Smoking is however, considered a dry cooking process, especially when compared to braising, stewing, or steaming.

Meat is Mostly Water

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Lean muscle tissue composition

Many of us have been told that we are 98% water, or some equally high number. That is slightly exaggerated, but we, and the meat we cook, are certainly composed of a very high percentage of water. Beef, veal, lamb, and chicken average about 73% water content, pork and meatier fish fall just under 70%, delicate fish can exceed 80% water content.

Another big component of most meats is myoglobin, cousin to the better publicized hemoglobin in our blood stream, with a parallel function in the body and similar iron content for a red color. Myoglobin is a water soluble protein that is an attractor and binder of oxygen for the cells. Myoglobin is also responsible for the coloration in the meat itself, the deeper the red color the higher the concentration of myoglobin.

When meat is cut, the juice we see on the plate is a mix of water from the ruptured cells and the myoglobin, which is what gives juice the reddish hue.

When subjected to heat, myoglobin loses its red coloration, fading to pink and eventually gray or tan in color. This is one of the more noticeable visual cues of cooking meat. In steaks and chops, or meats that are kept to lower temperatures and doneness (medium rare for instance at 135 degrees +/-), the flesh is still bright red and juices free flowing. Well done meats have the juice and the color cooked out of them, which in a steak or quickly cooked cut makes for a dry end result. So juice, mostly water, is the first aspect of a moist end product.

Increasing the temp and keeping it moist

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Fat is the next component of meat that we associate with moistness in the end product. Fat is also a huge component in the textures and flavors of meats. Animal fats store flavor compounds from what the animal consumes and produce over their life (this gets interesting with grass fed beef).

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These flavors they store in the marbling/intermuscular fat are omnipresent in differing amounts; just under the skin are subcutaneous deposits, between muscles is intermuscular, and intramuscular is within the muscle fibers giving us our favorite, marbling. With concentrated caloric values, fats, along with oxygen, are the main fuel that power muscles in animals.

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Fat contents vary greatly between types of animal meat, and the different cuts within the category. Being aware of the fat content is crucial to maintaining moistness by the end.

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The table shows that the lean of the three major carcass meats is similar in gross composition, which should not be unexpected because they are in effect mammalian muscle; the poultry muscles have less intramuscular fat and most of the fat is associated with the skin, although it is not subcutaneous as seen in mammals.

Animal fats begin melting in the 130-140 degree range. As the temperature increases the expansion of the other tissues will begin to squeeze out the fats.

Taken too far and cooking the meat too fast, will force out the fats resulting in a dry end product.

We know that the magic number for doneness of brisket and pork butt is over 200 degrees, so we need to understand the relationship with fat and temperature to help us get that ideally cooked texture and moistness to enjoy, this is where the next component becomes an equally important factor.

Low and slow with the heat

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Muscle meat composition

Intertwined with the muscle meat and fatty deposits are the connective tissues. We’ve all seen the tendons that stand out in meats and the silverskin they often flatten into. These are much of what we think of as gristle, and they are known for tightening up when heat is applied and becoming tough nuggets of stuff that is impossible to chew.

Similar to marbling, there are softer connective tissues throughout the meat called collagen. They also appear as almost invisible tissue surrounding the fibers and sheaths that hold muscle groups together, along with invisibly entwined throughout. Slapping them with high and fast heat will cause them to become rubbery and chewy. However, if they are slowly heated they are the source of a rich smooth well textured material called gelatin.
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Gelatin sounds like the name of a jiggly fruit dessert because originally that was made from the rendered animal collagens. This richly textured liquid is what makes your slowest smoked meats have great textures. When warm it has fluidity while retaining a silkiness of texture, as meat cools it permeates back into the areas around the cells and structure ending up as noticeable ‘moisture’ in your end product.

Louis-Camille Maillard

Now we have a broader understanding of what happens inside our meats during the smoking process. But how does the outside end up so differently tasty and textured? Again, there are a few answers, but we will focus on two aspects. First the Maillard reaction creating our bark. Second the ‘Ring’, as the pink halo around the edges of well smoked meat is commonly known.

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Both a physician and chemist, Maillard codified the reasons why food gets brown; crusts on bread, crispness on fried foods, the exterior colors of seared meats, etc. It would be easy to dismiss it all as simply caramelization, or the browning of the sugars naturally present and added by the cook. And some of it is based on that, the application of heat causing steadily darkening coloration as more heat or more time are added.

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But Maillard realized there is another chemical reaction in play to get the exteriors we love so much. In 1912 he posited that enzymes present in food, and the amino acids they are made from, interact with the caramelization to get the full reaction of an enjoyable browned exterior to the food. You can go down the rabbit hole of how pH is involved, or the secondary Maillard reactions with ketosamines and a slurry of other compounds. For our purposes, we are going to suffice it to say when heat is applied the exterior of our food takes on deep rich colors from amino acids combining and enhancing caramelization.

There is a very important factor that directly applies to those of us geeking out with our smoker. The Maillard reaction is not just about temperature. It is really effective when temperatures hit around 300 degrees, the reaction takes off. However, you can achieve similar results at lower temperatures for extended periods of time. Twelve hours at 225 degrees will get you similar results to about a 350 degree exposure for an hour. The longer time helps the breaking down of fats and collagens and the tenderization that results. And it allows for the development of the iconic smoke ring.

Put a ring on it

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As much as our brain wants to say the smoke causes that delightful pinkish ring around the edges of say a brisket that is not exactly what has happened. It goes back to our friends the myoglobin present in meats. Fire releases carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrous oxide (NO). These two compounds interact with the iron in the myoglobin, essentially freezing it in place to cause a permanent pink-ness to stay in the cells of the meat. These gases, not the smoke itself, create the ring, and can occur even in a cooking environment that has zero smoke.

Every time you look at the ring around the edge of your smoked meat, you get a visual representation of how far the CO & NO were able to penetrate before the heat beat them to the myoglobins making them turn gray, with the temperature winning out at about 170 degrees. The penetration of these gases maxes out just shy of one half inch, and is more typically abut an eighth of an inch into the meat.

Because this is a race, you can influence the results. Using brisket again, we all know of the stall; moisture on the exterior of the meat evaporates keeping it cool so the cooking process stalls. What we just said there, “keeping it cool”, that is the trick. Our old friend spritzing or mopping will aid with a deeper pink ring, along with a water tray in the smoking chamber. The water on the meat’s surface actually latches on to the smoke, containing the CO and NO molecules, allowing better penetration.

The chemistry of smoke

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Now that we have a bit of the science regarding the ring of color that comes with smoking food, and the idea that the smoke itself does not cause the ring, let’s look at what smoke actually does to flavor our food. Of course, we need to look backward a bit at the science of the wood’s composition. What we will not do here is talk about different wood choices, that alone is books of information, and loads of it available for your research.

A couple basic tenets for this area. Wood needs to be dried, preferably air dried. Green wood burns too inconsistent, produces too much steam, and can carry nasty flavors to the food. Even dried wood contains some water, but it goes down from about 50% to well below 10%. After drying Cellulose is the most common component, Hemicellulose next and then Lignin. In general, the harder the wood the higher the Cellulose and Lignin content. There are also a handful of trace elements and minerals in wood.

So, we light it up. We know that CO and NO are present when we get the temperature over about 700 degrees. There is a whole slurry of other gases present. We want to keep the temp high at the combustion site. Lower burning temps are what create the oily white some that is actually a negative flavor component of your food. That’s right, white smoke bad, blue smoke good. Barely visible blue smoke is cleaner with less impurities so it imparts more pleasant flavors. It also contains guaiacol, a near cousin to creosote. Creosote can be nasty, guaiacol is the positive flavor component that we love and associate with good smoked foods.

Nearly invisible clean blue smoke carrying the smallest particles (as opposed to white smoke with larger visible particulate) enveloping our food with guaiacol and other milder flavoring agents from the gas slurry is the goal that we have for well smoked meats. Even with all the right components, the smoke and flavor will adhere better to a pebbled surface, facilitated by a rub, and a moist surface either because of the moist smoking environment or by basting the food as it smokes.

Its brisket time…or whatever

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Let’s walk through all of this quickly as we look at a piece of brisket being smoked.

We start burning fuel creating a nice cloud of NO, CO, and smoke, along with an environment heated to 225°F.

We put our rubbed brisket in the smoking chamber along with a pan of water. Slowly the internal temp of the meat begins to rise. All the while the NO and CO are binding with the myoglobin to create a nice pink ring into the meat. Warming up further starts the fats liquefying and permeating down through the meat. Also during this process we have initiated a slow version of the Maillard reaction, enhanced by caramelizing any sugars we have in the seasoning rub we applied.

As we crest 150°F or so inside, the collagens begin to melt, the fibers of the meat start releasing and tenderization gets going. Soon the myoglobin will fade into the pale gray color of fully cooked brisket, the bark thickens as the Maillard reaction keeps delivering the goods.

By the time our interior temp is 203°F we have nice bark, a good ring, and a center of meat fibers softened and permeated with flavorful fats and collagen, and residual water left in the cells because we didn’t heat them so quickly they burst. For more detail, see our Smoking 101 guide.

BBQ Myth Busting — Smoking Out the Truth

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We all miss those guys busting myths that we all know are fact…until they get through with it. Deep down we all just wanted their gig, what a job! We’ll take that role over for a bit here albeit without explosions and such. There’s a lot of great information about smoking grilling and preparing meats, and most of it is accurate. Emphasis on most, and unfortunately some of the inaccuracies are in the field of doneness, making sure that your food is cooked to a wholesome safe degree. We’re going to dispel some of those ideas along with a variety of myths that we all know are facts…for now.

Longer marinating times imparts more flavor

There’s a couple flaws here. Meat is already a high percentage of water, so it has low absorption of more fluids. Oil base marinades do not penetrate the cells, and even fluid will only flavor the outer layers. To get flavors deep in the meat, use an injector or larder to get to the center. Salt, is the exception as it has amazing penetrating capabilities which is why dry rubs are very effective.

Smoking is a dry cooking process

Technically it is referred to as a dry process in that the food is not in direct contact and with a liquid for the heat transfer while cooking. Do not take that to mean your process should be dry and arid. Use a water ray in your smoking chamber. Baste frequently. Moisture is your friend for flavor and heat transfer.

Soak those wood chips

Yeah…no. Hardwood is intentionally dried to get the water content into the single digits. Because wet and green wood put out nasty smoke. There is no benefit to undoing that process. If flame up is your concern, wrap the chips in foil, use a metal box or stainless pouch. We want moisture in the smoking chamber, just not a bunch from the wood.

No peeking, you’ll lose too much temperature

Again, technically accurate, yes some heat escapes. But the old adage “If you’re looking you’re not cooking” and a peek adds 15 minutes of cook time is inaccurate. Your whole goal cooking is to transfer heat to the meat, and guess what? Meat holds temperature really well. So the air may will cool a bit, but you meat is fine for a few minutes. Baste, rotate, temp check, whatever; work without fear for a minute or two.

That meat is bloody

Blood is thick viscous fluid that congeals and dries firm. Juices in meats are not blood or your plate would look like the inside of an abattoir. Cells contain myoglobin which is iron based like hemoglobin, but present in much lower concentrations. When the meat is cut water from the cells mixes with the water released from the cells and you end up with juice. The redder the meat and juice the more myoglobin present.

Clear chicken juice means it is cooked

Chicken also contains myoglobins that color the juice, but not many, and their red may cook away before the meat is fully cooked even though the juice is clear. Conversely, some chicken juice will never run clear. The only accurate way to tell if your chicken is fully cooked is with a thermometer. The recommended safe internal temperature is 165 degrees to insure the safety or your guests and family.

Poking with a thermometer creates juice loss and makes it dry

Of course a little juice will leak out when the meat is poked. Keep in mind that every cell in the meat is about 70% water. Yes, you rupture the few that are in the path of your thermometer. That’s it. The vast majority are intact and waiting for you to enjoy their juicy splendor.

Well done means dead and dry

Yes, you can massacre a steak or chop to dryness. In counterpoint, one word; brisket. That’s right, you cook that to just over 200 degrees inside and it still has great moisture from all the collagens that you have broken down through a low and slow cooking process.

Just knowing the time cooked is enough to determine doneness

There are way too many variables in this equation for it to work. They include the starting temperature, the actual density of the meat being cooked, the consistency of the heat source, etc. The best way to determine doneness is always checking the internal temperature with a thermometer. The obvious exception is an item that only needs a sear to finish.

Letting meat rest doesn’t help

This is a controversial topic. Most experts agree that the time it takes to get a steak to the table is adequate rest before cutting. More importantly, scientific testing has shown that meats cooked low and slow retain as much as 90% more fluids if they are allowed to rest before cutting. This is your brisket, pork butts, ribs, etc. You use patience in your process, don’t stop right at the end.


What is the science of BBQ smoke? ›

When you cook any meat, the iron molecules oxidize and turn from red to brown in what is known as the Maillard Reaction When you smoke, instead of an abundance of oxygen molecules to turn your meat brown, you have carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO).

What is the scientific process of smoking meat? ›

Basic Meat Science

It is called denaturing. It is a complex process, but basically, it is when proteins or nucleic acids lose the structure of their native state. In addition, the browning of the meat happens due to the Maillard reaction.

What is the best way to barbecue according to science? ›

Low and slow is the golden rule for barbecue pitmasters, especially when it comes to cooking standard favorites like ribs and brisket. As for why the low and slow rule is so crucial, Crosby says this is because the lower temperature means less shrinkage of the meat's fibers and better breaks down the proteins.

What is the Maillard reaction in smoking meat? ›

“Smoking foods creates the Maillard reaction, which occurs when heat on a dry surface breaks down sugars and amino acids. Examples are the sear of steaks and the “bark,” or crunchy browned exterior, of slow-smoked beef brisket. The taste components include sweetness and bitterness.”

How do you get smoke to penetrate meat? ›

Removing fat from the surface of the meat also exposes the meat to the smoke and will allow more nitric oxide into the meat. Cooking the meat at low and slow temperature will allow the nitric oxide to penetrate more before the meat's temperature is high enough to turn the myoglobin brown.

What is the thermodynamics of a BBQ smoker? ›

All commercial smokers are based on the same thermodynamic principle known as the "stack effect." When a fuel source like wood is burned, the heated air rises and "draws" more air into the wood to keep it burning, creating air flow.

What happens to the meat during smoking? ›

Smoking adds flavor, improves the appearance of meat through the Maillard reaction, and when combined with curing it preserves the meat. When meat is cured then cold-smoked, the smoke adds phenols and other chemicals that have an antimicrobial effect on the meat.

What type of wood should you never smoke meat with? ›

Never, under any circumstances, use EASTERN CEDAR, CYPRESS, ELM, EUCALYPTUS, SASSAFRAS, LIQUID AMBER, PINE, REDWOOD, FIR, SPRUCE, or SYCAMORE for smoking meats or other types of food.

Is smoking meat a chemical change? ›

Physical and chemical changes occur in the smoke between smoke generation and condensation on meat products or other foods.

How does a barbecue transfer energy? ›

Conduction. Conduction will be the most familiar form of how cooking happens. The heat energy is transmitted through direct contact. Cooking grids, sear plates, pans and other accessories are heated through the radiation of the burning fuel (gas or charcoal).

What makes a BBQ great? ›

Besides using charcoal as fuel, good BBQ is usually smoked with wood chips. These natural wood pieces can be made from hickory, oak, mesquite and a large variety of natural woods. Each type of wood chip complements a particular meat.

What is the reaction when meat turns brown? ›

The Maillard reaction (/maɪˈjɑːr/ my-YAR; French: [majaʁ]) is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. Seared steaks, fried dumplings, cookies and other kinds of biscuits, breads, toasted marshmallows, and many other foods undergo this reaction.

What are the 3 steps of the Maillard reaction? ›

The Maillard reaction is divided into three stages: the early Maillard reaction, the advanced Maillard reaction, and final Maillard reaction (Van Boekel, 1998).

What causes the smoke ring when smoking meat? ›

Rather, the smoke ring is caused by a chemical reaction between the meat and invisible nitric oxide gas that's produced when wood or charcoal are burned to heat a smoker or grill. A smoke ring is a color change in the meat's myoglobin, the same protein that makes raw beef red.

Does meat get more tender the longer you smoke it? ›

Nowadays smoking—as it relates to barbecue—is about taste and texture, not so much making food last longer. Smoking adds flavor, it tenderizes, and it turns some of the worst cuts of meat into a wonderful meal.

What not to do when smoking meat? ›

But, before you dive in, consider these nine common smoking mistakes to avoid.
  1. Not Being Patient. ...
  2. Only Cooking Meat. ...
  3. Using Way Too Much Sauce. ...
  4. Relying Solely on Cook Times. ...
  5. Thinking All Wood Chips or Pellets Are the Same. ...
  6. Not Letting Your Meat Rest. ...
  7. Over-smoking Your Food. ...
  8. Adding Your Food Too Early.
Aug 26, 2020

What is the hardest meat to smoke? ›

What is the hardest meat to smoke? Brisket is the holy grail of smoking. Everyone from competitive cooks to dedicated pit masters and barbecue enthusiasts agree that beef brisket is the hardest meat to get right.

What is smoke physics? ›

Smoke is a suspension of airborne particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion or pyrolysis, together with the quantity of air that is entrained or otherwise mixed into the mass.

Why is a smoker better than a grill? ›

With smoking, the goal is to cook meats for an extended period of time and at a low temperature to infuse the flavor into the meat. The process is much slower (can often take hours), but requires less tending, since the meats do not have to be turned or adjusted as frequently as with a grill.

What type of energy does a grill produce? ›

The chemical energy in the gas is changed to heat energy that keeps us warm or cooks our food.

Does fat absorb smoke? ›

Cook Like a Pitmaster: Work With the Fat

Fatty foods absorb smoke better. They also cook up with a much more juicy texture on the grill.

Does smoke penetrate meat? ›

As smoke cannot penetrate into your cut of meat, most of the smoky flavor will be on the surface. A small amount will make it through to the first quarter of an inch or so, resulting in that coveted pink smoke ring.

Does bacteria grow on smoked meat? ›

Safely Smoking Meat and Poultry

Heat will kill bacteria, depending on the time and temperature used. Chemical compounds from the smoke have an antimicrobial effect. And finally, the outer surface of the meat dries, which reduces moisture available for bacteria to grow.

How can you tell if wood is good for smoking meat? ›

Generally speaking, any wood that is hard and free of resin (or sap) is good for making smoke. If the tree makes fruit or nuts you enjoy eating, then the wood is typically good for smoking. Some wood, of course, makes better smoke than others.

What wood gives the most smoke flavor? ›

Which wood gives the strongest smoky flavor? Hickory gives meat the strongest smoky flavor of all cooking woods. It's great to use when smoking beef and pork low and slow. Also, very strong, mesquite gives you a good flavor quickly, but mesquite can become bitter fast too.

When smoking meat should you use wet or dry wood? ›

Wet wood cannot produce smoke until it has lost all its moisture. So, when a wet wood or wood chunk is set on fire, the moisture inside it evaporates, creating steam. Steam is not smoke and hence you should not use wet wood chunks in your food smoker.

What is the best color smoke for a BBQ? ›

Smoke from wood or charcoal for cooking can range from bluish, to white, to gray, to yellow, brown, and even black. The most desirable smoke is almost invisible with a pale blue tint. You can see it below. Blue smoke is the holy grail of low and slow pitmasters, especially for long cooks.

Why do humans like smoked meat? ›

Smoking foods creates the Maillard reaction, which occurs when heat on a dry surface breaks down sugars and amino acids. Examples are the sear of steaks and the “bark,” or crunchy browned exterior, of slow-smoked beef brisket. The taste components include sweetness and bitterness.

Is white smoke bad for BBQ? ›

To be extra clear, before someone starts arguing with us, white smoke will make your food taste smoky, but in a bad way. This is because this white smoke is a sign that your charcoals aren't ready to cook with. While this white smoke is billowing, you'll likely be at low temperatures and getting ash all over your food.

Should you leave the fat on a BBQ? ›

You should not totally remove the fat cap. Fat is flavor, and a small amount lends that burst of juiciness to your brisket slices -- but too much fat would give those slices more of a mushy, slimy mouthfeel. While this is a personal preference, we recommend trimming the fat cap to 1/4 inch with 1/2 inch at the most.

What cuts through BBQ grease? ›

Beer: Pour half a bottle of beer over the top of greasy grates on a warm grill. The beer will break down the oil and grease, and it will come right off when clean with a bristle brush. Vinegar: Put regular, household vinegar into a spray bottle.

What is the best temperature for a BBQ? ›

Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat. A properly heated grill sears foods on contact, keeps the insides moist and helps prevent sticking.

What temperature does a BBQ reach? ›

♦︎ BBQ is a low and slow, indirect heat cooking method.

These moderate cooking temperatures are in the range of 200-300°F (93-149°C)—a far cry from the high temps of grilling!

What type of heat transfer is a BBQ? ›

Conduction if the easiest form of energy transfer to understand. Inside your grill, heat energy radiates from the heat source (the burners) to a solid metal mass (your cooking surface) such as a pot, pan, or cooking grid.

What is BBQ explained? ›

barbecue, an outdoor meal, usually a form of social entertainment, at which meats, fish, or fowl, along with vegetables, are roasted over a wood or charcoal fire. The term also denotes the grill or stone-lined pit for cooking such a meal, or the food itself, particularly the strips of meat.

Did you know facts about BBQ? ›

Top 10 Facts about BBQs!
  • The word Barbecue come from the Taino tribe's word for grilling on wood! ...
  • You should never use a barbecue indoors. ...
  • The World's biggest barbecue was in Uruguay in 2017. ...
  • Lockdown meant more people bought a BBQ last year. ...
  • The U.K. has 150 Million BBQs a year. ...
  • A BBQ can reach 260 degrees!

Why does food taste better on the BBQ? ›

When you fire up the grill and toss food onto the red-hot grids, the Maillard Reaction occurs. The browning of whatever you're cooking smells divine, activating the saliva ducts in your mouth, which will facilitate the transference of the chemicals that activate your taste buds.

Is it OK to eat meat that has turned green? ›

There are various pigments in meat compounds that can give it an iridescent or greenish cast when exposed to heat and processing. Wrapping the meat in airtight packages and storing it away from light will help prevent this situation. Iridescence does not represent decreased quality or safety of the meat.

Is GREY steak safe to eat? ›

Insider further elaborates that gray steak is actually a fairly common occurrence, and it can be cooked and consumed safely, provided that it isn't slimy or giving off an unpleasant odor.

Why is my steak black? ›

This darkening is due to oxidation, the chemical changes in myoglobin due to the oxygen content. This is a normal change during refrigerator storage.

What is the Maillard reaction for dummies? ›

The Maillard reaction creates brown pigments in cooked meat in a very specific way: by rearranging amino acids and certain simple sugars, which then arrange themselves in rings and collections of rings that reflect light in such a way as to give the meat a brown color.

What are two foods that can generate Maillard reactions? ›

The Maillard reaction ( my-YAR; French: [majaʁ]) is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. Seared steaks, fried dumplings, cookies and other kinds of biscuits, breads, toasted marshmallows, and many other foods undergo this reaction.

What is the best temperature for the Maillard reaction? ›

The optimal temperature to achieve the Maillard reaction sits between 284-330 degrees Fahrenheit (140-165 degrees Celsius). When food reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius), the Maillard reaction starts to burn/char the food, so keep a close eye on when the Maillard reaction's browning starts.

What is the pink layer on smoked meat? ›

The smoke ring is already within the meat in the form of myoglobin. It's the protein that makes raw meat red or pink. As the meat cooks, myoglobin turns brown, but if enough nitric oxide (NO) from the wood smoke condenses on your meat, it will bind with the still-red myoglobin and allow it to hold onto its color.

Why does smoked meat not spoil? ›

Smoking meat is a great way to keep it from spoiling because the smoke acts as a preservative. The smoke deposits a thin, acidic film on the surface of the meat that prevents bacteria from growing. It is also very effective at keeping flies away, a significant concern when meat was hung to dry outside.

What is the connection of smoking to barbecue? ›

Getting the correct amount of smoke on barbecue is important because too little smoke flavor is not satisfying and too much results in the smoke overpowering the meat. Remember that smoking complements the meat so work to achieve the correct amount when barbecuing.

What type of energy makes smoke? ›

Combustion is a high-temperature exothermic (heat releasing) redox (oxygen adding) chemical reaction between a fuel and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxygen, that produces oxidized, often gaseous products, in a mixture termed as smoke.

Is smoke a matter or energy? ›

Smoke, smog, and laughing gas are matter. Energy, light, and sound, however, are not matter; ideas and emotions are also not matter. The mass of an object is the quantity of matter it contains.

What is smoke an example of chemistry? ›

Smoke is an example of a colloidal system where dispersed Phase is Solid and dispersion Medium is Gas, which is the correct answer and the option which matches is C.

What is the difference between smoking and barbecuing meat? ›

In short, grilling means to cook over a fire, hot and fast. Barbecuing refers to cooking over a low flame and much slower, and smoking means to also cook low and slow, whilst also using the smoke produced by the barbecue to cook the food.

Why is white smoke bad for BBQ? ›

This is because this white smoke is a sign that your charcoals aren't ready to cook with. While this white smoke is billowing, you'll likely be at low temperatures and getting ash all over your food. Moreover, white smoke will cause your food to taste "over-smoked," bitter, and give it an oily aftertaste.


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