Food - Drink
The Scientific Reason Your BBQ Might Be Pink Inside
By WENDY LEIGH
If you’re barbecuing at home, you may think twice about the pink ring circling an otherwise deliciously enticing BBQ meal. Also known as the smoke ring, this ring’s presence does not mean the meat is undercooked, but it’s simply the result of a scientific phenomenon.
It all comes down to myoglobin, nitric acid, and smoke. The myoglobin protein colors the meat red and becomes brown when exposed to heat, and the nitric oxide from the smoke condenses on the meat as it cooks and binds with the myoglobin — producing that infamous smoke ring beneath the crusty exterior.
Other factors behind the smoke ring include the amount of myoglobin in the meat, oxygen exposure, and the type of wood you choose. Using wood bark rather than heartwood harbors more nitrogen and consequently more potential for nitric oxide and the coveted smoke ring.
If you're set on having the aesthetics of a smoke ring but don't have the time or smoking equipment, BBQ Hall of Famer Meathead from Amazing Ribs recommends curing salt onto the meat before cooking in an oven. The curing salt contains sodium nitrate, which you've seen in the pink hues of hot dogs, corned beef, and processed bacon.