Wild Boar Christmas feast and the science of the smoke ring…

November 12th, 2012
Smoke ring shown in smoked Cumberland sausages

Smoke ring shown in smoked Cumberland sausages with smoked cheeses behind

Saturday saw the first of this year’s Christmas smoking days at The Wild Boar and one of the pictures I took demonstrates very clearly the “smoke-ring” that many American food-smokers strive to achieve as they smoke their pig butts.It’s shown here in sausages.

The science… a chemical reaction between the meat and smoke causes the pink colouring just inside the skin.  When wood burns some nitrogen dioxide is released, this combines with the water content of the meat to form nitric acid, this is absorbed into the meat and gives the pink colouring. The use of rubs in stateside food smoking leads to an outer “bark” on the smoked joints of meat and the contrast between the dark colouring of this and the pink of the smoke-ring is highly desirable… however for me flavour is ALWAYS more important than appearance!  Of course  sausages also contain nitrites, which explains the depth of the pink here.  I found a good article here – it must ge good, it quotes Harold McGee! (Sadly, best known as scientific advisor to Heston “molecular gastronomy” Blumenthal… but he does have a fan base in his ownn right.)

If you know someone who would like to smoke food why not send them a Smoky Jo’s course gift vouvher or book for Christmas?

Pig butt with dark bark and pink smoke ring

Pig butt with dark bark and pink smoke ring



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