image courtesy of BurnInLoveBBQ
These eighteen articles cover the full range of smoke ring science- from the choice of fuels to ring formation to modern variations on the theme of cooking near a smoky fire. The best approach is to pull down the menu read them in order, but feel free to dive in on any subject. I will keep the articles updated, correcting errors and clarifying the discussion based on the latest science and your comments. Major corrections or improvements will be indicated in the "date" line at the top of each article:
Meat and Myoglobin- Not blood, but an oxygen repository responsible for the color of raw and cooked meat. Myoglobin changes color on exposure to many combustion gases, and this is the ultimate cause of the smoke ring.
Fuels- Electric, propane, wood and charcoal are most common. How do they differ? Are fruit woods really sweet? Is green wood better than seasoned? Which fuel has more smoke, bitter flavors, or no smoke ring- and why?
Smoke- NOT!- Why the term "smoke ring" is false advertising..
Smoke Flavor- which combustion products taste and smell the best, and how can you control your fire to optimize flavor?
CO smoke ring- when does a fire produce carbon monoxide, and will it show up as a ring? Or flavor?
NO smoke ring- when does a fire produce nitric oxide, and will it show up as a ring? Or flavor?
Smoke Ring Profile- Why some rings are thicker than others. How to control the smoke ring's appearance by adjusting temperature and humidity.
Smoker Ring First Aid- what to do if your smoke ring disappears like the Cheshire Cat's smile....
How smoke flows- why some smoke particles and gases stick to meat, while others simply pass by.
Smoke Color- Why smoke color and density is a surrogate for combustion conditions, and thus flavor.
Curing salts- their history, how they work, and a simple application method
Novel smoke sources- sometimes when there's smoke, there isn't fire
CO/NOx test rig- how we demonstrated the role of these two gases, and how we measured CO/NO levels
MAP - Modern food packaging takes advantage of the binding of CO and NO to meat. To preserve and sometimes fool the eye.