Adding Smoke To Your BBQ

You can’t talk about BBQ without talking about the smoke.

One big mistake that people make when they are BBQing is to add smoke through the entire cooking process. But if you add too much smoke, you end-up with a bitter tasting BBQ.

It’s easy to avoid this; you just have to understand how the meat takes on that smoky flavor…

When you first place a cut of meat on a hot grill, the “pores” of the meat are essentially open.

Adding Rub To Shoulders and Letting It Rise To Room Temperature Before Placing On Smoker

Adding Rub To Shoulders and Letting It Rise To Room Temperature Before Placing On Smoker

But when the surface of your meat reaches a specific temperature, it begins to brown. This is called the Maillard reaction (or the browning reaction). This is what gives you the brown color on the outside, this is what creates your bark and this reaction gives you a LOT of flavor.

If you threw a steak on a hot grill, you would have this reaction almost instantly… but when you smoking low n’ slow it takes a while and gives you a chance to add a rich, smokey flavor to the meat.

Once the browning process occurs, you can’t get anymore smoke into the meat – that part of the cooking process is over. I don’t care who you are, it’s just not going to happen. All you can do now is add smoke to your bark… and too much smoke on your bark is going to give your BBQ a very bitter taste.

Butts On Smoker Building their Bark

Butts On Smoker Building their Bark

A lot of people will taste badly cooked BBQ and think that they can taste lighter fluid… but really it’s just the bitterness they taste caused from too much smoke.

We add smoke from the time we put the meat on the grill until the internal temperature reaches 145F. Then we remove the smoke and the wood, and continue to break-down the meat with a clean-burning charcoal.

We still get the maximum amount of smoke flavor inside our meat without making any part bitter.

If you want more tips on cooking BBQ or competition BBQ, visit my website at

Malcom Reed
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