View Full Version : When does the smoke stop

11-14-2015, 02:13 PM
In general does brisket, ribs, etc reach a point where smoke is no longer absorbed? Also does wood like mesquite and cherry gets mellowed out if used along with hickory or oak? Just trying to learn more about combining various woods. This brisket was smoked with oak, cherry and some hickory. I put several chunks of mesquite and layered over it with the others but it did not seem to be as strong as I thought.

11-14-2015, 02:35 PM
As meat cooks it browns with the maillard effect, a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its desirable flavor.

While the outside browns it may diminish the ability to take on smoke flavor in greater volume, but the meat will continue to take on smoke to some degree up to the point when you remove it from the smoker.

To your second question... Different woods have different levels of intensity of smoke flavoring. Alder being the mildest and Black Walnut being off the charts. Like anything else too much of a good thing can be over-powering if used in excess. Many Food vendors mix Oak with other wood types to reduce the amount of intensity of smoke flavor.

You will find that most fruit woods impart a sweeter, milder smoke flavor when compared to the use of Hickory and Mesquite.

However you also have to give consideration to the type of meat you are cooking so that you don't over-power it with smoke. Simply put delicate oysters, quail, and pheasant can easily be ruined with the use of mesquite wood, you would simply taste smoke. Whereas beef and pork can take substantial amounts of smoke for flavoring.

Enrico Brandizzi
11-14-2015, 03:27 PM
From #AmazingRibs.com

Does meat stop taking on smoke?
There is a popular myth that at some point the meat stops taking on smoke. Sorry, but meat does not have doors that it shuts at some time during a cook. There is a lot of smoke moving through the cooking chamber although sometimes it is not very visible. If the surface is cold or wet, more of it sticks. Usually, late in the cook, the bark gets pretty warm and dry, and by then the coals are not producing a lot of smoke. Smoke bounces off warm dry surfaces so we are fooled into thinking the meat is somehow saturated with smoke. Throw on a log and baste the meat and it will start taking on smoke again. Just don't baste so often that you wash off the smoke and rub.