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Meat only absorbs smoke for the first 3 hours?


Bucksend
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2 things on this point...

 

1. Anyone know where I might have heard this - possibly an Aaron Franklin YouTube video? I feel like it was a trusted source but don't remember now.

2. Do you recon it's true? I have never tested the theory but don't tent to use wood chunks the whole cook(depending on cook time), just let them burn off and dont bother adding more. I was just thinking about this having just read a couple of things about people using fancy/expensive wood (exotic species or old whiskey barrels). If you are using it for the whole of an 8+ hour smoke you stand to save a lot!

 

Thought's and opinions? I might do a bit of a test on this theory at some point

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I only use chunks at the start of a hot cook as too much smoke spoils the flavour . But I’ll bow down to the others knowledge of the science . But it would make sense to me that something which is cooking would not absorb outside elements once the protein structure are cooked ?? 

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The 3-hour max is what I understand & it's what I've also read, I've smoked Cheddar as a test run about 10 pieces.  I took a section out of the smoker at the 1-hour mark and then every 30 mins after that up to I think the 5-hour mark. On tasting the taste got stronger as you would expect up to around the 3-hour mark.

After that, the taste seemed no stronger but harsher,  and our conclusion is for us the best was at the 3-hour mark. Now as for meat that may be a totally different kettle of fish....pardon the pun...but like Raptor said as the meat carried on cooking would it not take on any more smoke flavour?? we find we go for a lighter smoke but that's just how we like it.

Ice. m0114.gif

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There is no hard and fast rule about whether to add smoke after the 3-4 hours but it will be having less and less effect on the meat flavour. The meat will continue to absorb smoke for the whole length of the smoke however the longer you smoke the greater the law of diminishing returns comes into play.The first 3-4 hours are where most of the smoke flavouring occurs however as the surface of the meat hardens as it cooks the more the smoke will simply sit on the surface and the less that will penetrate. Some will still diffuse inside - but increasingly slowly. The risk if you apply heavy smoke throughout long cooks is that you will get more of the unwanted tarry smoke flavours on the meat surface. The the amount of smoke is often down to personal taste though. 

As many people foil their meats after 3-4 hours anyway, there is little point in continuing with the smoke after this as the tinfoil will prevent any of the smoke from reaching the meat surface. Adding wood chunks at this point are really only making a nice aroma around the cooking area.

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  • 1 year later...

You might have heard it on a T-Roy cooks video, I watched one last night where he made this point that after the meat reaches 140F it stops absorbing smoke. Which he said would be around the 3-4 hour mark, at which point he believes any additional smoke is detrimental to the flavour.

couldn't say myself as I’ve not done a long cook yet but I’ll definitely be testing  

 

Mikey B

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  • 1 year later...

Yes I have watched that serier however I think she is mistaken. Other BBQ champions will tell you something very different. This claim has been tested by technical BBQ nerds on both sides of the pond and it has been shown to be a myth. What usually happens is that the wood produces most of its smoke at the beginning of a cook but then produces progressively less smoke as the cook goes on. This reduction in smoke production results in less smoke flavour and is often mistaken as a stop in smoke penetration.

The depth and time of the development of a "smoke ring" is also sometimes mistaken as an indication of smoke penetration. Under the right conditions the smoke ring will develop quite early in the cooking process and then seem to stop. In reality the "smoke ring" has nothing to do with the smoke itself but is a result of the action of nitric oxide and carbon monoxide (from the burning wood) on the myoglobin in the meat. This only occurs while the meat is below a certain critical temperature and as the temperature of the inside of the meat increases the reaction stops. Some mistake this as evidence that the smoke has stopped penetrating the meat.

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Well! Well! Well! I like the response backed up with credible information. Seems like Melissa Cookston has been sadly mistaken! Thank you for that. 

 

Btw what unit do you use! You sound like you'd have several!!!

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I am reducing the number of BBQ I own (at my wife's insistence) as I have kind-of retired now and no longer give BBQ courses. A couple of years ago I had 3x57cm Weber kettles, 1x67cm Weber Kettle, 2x ProQ Frontiers, 3xCook4All (Callow) bullet smokers, 2xgas BBQs, 1xDavy Crocket pellet smoker and a commercial FEC120 smoker.

Now I have managed to keep a single 57cm Weber, the 67cm Weber, a ProQ Frontier and the FEC120. She is currently happy with that but I expect I will have to retire more in the next year or so :wife:

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To be honest, my go-to smoker for grilling is the 67cm Weber (now no longer manufactured) with a vortex and for smoking I tend to use the FEC120. The ProQ still gets brought out from time to time though.

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