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Is there a smoke-influence curve?

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    Is there a smoke-influence curve?

    Hello- I'm pellet-smoking hunks O'Pork destined for a pulled pork future, and as I need a nice chili as well, I'm adapting a Smokey Chipotle Chili recipe from Cooks Illustrated. I plan to smoke the pig and the cow together, bypassing Cook's foil-pack sear/smoke prep step. I want to maximize the influence of the hickory pellets before I divert the chuck bak to the recipe for searing and further chili-processing. When does smoke stop influencing the meat? To absorb the maximum amount of hickory smoke flavor without going too far down the cooking slope, how long would I smoke the chuck over the pellets? I plan on starting with fridge-cold, dry-rubbed chuck. I guess a shallow probe would help inform this maneuver, but am wondering for the future: if needed, when can a pellet-smoked protein be moved on to other finishing flames/heats? When does it stop to matter which pellet is flavoring the meat? To take this a step further: if there is indeed a point where smoke no longer adds to the process, am I wasting $$$ on flavored pellets that continue to cook without added value?

    Im sure there are better people out there to answer this than me, but make sure its cold and moist when it goes on and the smoke flavor is gonna be most influenced in the first couple of hours. After that i have no clue but those are the most obvious things ive seen


      I can only state what works for me when smoking is just part of the recipe. Start with cold meat as the smoke adheres best, and I never smoke over 2 hours as I believe that is where the accumulation of smoke flavor starts to drop off dramatically. I use this on my pellet.


        From what I've read, when the internal temp of the meat reaches about 140-150 degrees the smoke stops flavoring the meat.


        • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
          ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
          Editing a comment
          pretty much what I've read as well, however I think the smoke level can continue to affect the crust of the protein as long as you give it something to stick to, like a cool spritz of water, juice, whatever. At least I noticed a smoke difference between spritzed and unspritzed stuff, though some folks say it doesn't do anything/matter.

        Not experienced on no pellet cookers, but I'd haveta reckon, from what I've read, from credible sources, that ya don't haveta worry bout oversmokin it...
        Last edited by Mr. Bones; December 24, 2020, 01:03 PM.


        • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
          ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
          Editing a comment
          you can probably oversmoke fish and poultry even with a pellet or electric smoker, but I doubt you could oversmoke beef or pork before you overcooked it

        I'm not clear on your 'further processing' of the chuck. If you sear it, you'll drive off most of the smoke aromatics. Smoke doesnt penetrate the meat much and honestly I doubt you'll notice the influence of smoking the Chuck unless you do leave it to develop a bark.


          If you want the most smoke, what's worked for me in the past is smoking my protein all the way to finish temp, pull and place in a ziploc, refrigerate overnight and shred or cube it to put in the chili the next day.


            Hello all- Thanks for your pearls of wisdom.

            I've made this recipe before, and recall that the searing w/smoke chips creates a seared layer, and the rest of the cut remains raw, to be diced and cooked w/various friends that in the end make an awesome chili. I guess what I'm trying to do here is walk the line between the recipe's called for sear/smoke, which might not be valid if smokiness is the goal (rickgregory,) and sucking in as much smoke as possible w/o cooking the meat too far on the smoker (grantgallgher, Donw, Jfrosty27.)

            So I sent the pork in first, and after an hour the deep probe is at 60, and a shallow probe (poked in about 1/2") is at 92. I just put the chuck on, and will monitor its shallow temp until it gets to 115 or so. Hoping to get a blue cow with a bark. Click image for larger version

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              I don't get the desire to not cook the chuck on the smoker, though. You end up cooking it though in chili anyway.

              AS for "sucking in as much smoke as possible" smoke is mostly a surface thing. You;ve started it already but what I'd try next time (and I might do this later this weekend) is to cube the chuck, then smoke it so more of the chuck is exposed to the smoke.


                Welcome to The Pit.


                  I highly recommend reading What You Need To Know About Wood, Smoke, and Combustion. Not only will you find out that meat never gets “saturated” by smoke, but why it seems that meat “stops taking on smoke” as it gets hotter. Among many other things.

                  Bottom line, science tells us that around 160F the meat will absorb much less smoke. But we can overcome that if we understand the science behind it all.


                    For my taste it is almost impossible to get beef and pork to have the smoke profile I prefer with pellets alone. So, on the pellet pooper I treat heat and smoke as separate things. I skip the "smoke" settings and just set the dial for the temp I want, then use a smoke tube to give me the flavor I'm looking for. You can dial in how heavy the flavor is by either changing wood types, or by putting more or less wood chips in the tube. For instance, I did steaks tonight, so the 6" smoke tube got filled to a little over half way with hickory chips. That amount will give smoke for about 45 minuets or so. For my taste, that's the right amount for steaks. The real benefit is being able to dial in exactly what I want for the food I'm cooking.



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