The Grill Lab: Science of Smoking and Grilling

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The Science of the Smoke Ring

The smoke ring is the red badge of honor of great barbecue.

Many of you smoke fiends have seen it up close—that prized layer of pink under the bark (crust) in slow-smoked meats. But what is it really and what causes it? The explanation lies within the meat itself.

First, a simple meat chemistry lesson. Myoglobin is the protein that gives meat its red color. Beef has about four times as much myoglobin as pork, giving it a much redder color.

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