Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 47

incorporated specialty entrees and even
desserts where smoke is a part of the dish and
a tempting part of the menu description.
In reviewing many published articles and
reading multiple book chapters on the science
of smoke, it quickly became apparent that
certain people are better suited for specializing
in meat science as an area of study versus
the academic challenges posed by organic
chemistry in college.
Although it sounds simple, smoke is
extremely complex. One review article stated
that there are over 400 volatiles identified
in smoke including various acids, alcohols,
carbonyls, esters, furans, lactones, phenols,
and other miscellaneous compounds. While
phenols probably play the greatest role in
smoke aroma and flavor, it is probably like
a great symphony and every compound
contributes something in its own unique way.

APPEARANCE AND WOOD MATTERS

emphasized during each panel discussion is
the role of seasoned versus green wood. As
the name implies, green wood is freshly cut
and seasoned wood has been dried over some
time, usually measured in months or years.
The moisture contents of these two are quite
different, and the challenge faced when green
wood is used to produce smoke is that the
moisture must be eliminated first resulting in
lower burning heat. Also, more creosote forms
with green wood, which is not a desirable
attribute for meat products. Eating barbecue
that has been smoked with green wood
has been associated with belching and an
aftertaste sometimes lingering after the meal.
Hardwoods (deciduous trees) include
the fruit and nut woods, which are the
preferred woods for smoking, compared to
the softwoods (evergreen or coniferous trees).
There are a variety of great woods available
and widely used, based on their effect when
smoking meats.

Most barbecue experts
agree that cooking meat
without smoke does not
deliver the same eating
experience as "real"
smoked barbecue.

In addition to aroma, flavor and the
preservative nature of smoke, one must not
forget its role in product color. Smoked color
comes about primarily through the Maillard
Reaction and the way that aldehydes and
amino acids react when heated to form this
important browning reaction that we know
from so many foods. Smoke influences how
products smell, taste, look and how long they
will last.
In the barbecue world, where there's fire,
there's wood and then smoke. Therefore,
understanding a little about wood is important.
Smoke comes from the pyrolysis of wood at
very high temperatures (600° C). There are
three main components to wood: cellulose,
which contributes the aldehydes for smoke
color; hemicellulose, which contributes furans
and other compounds for overall flavor;
and lignin, which contribute the phenolic
compounds for the smoke flavor.
At the Camp Brisket and Barbecue Summer
Camp events hosted each year at Texas A&M
University, we have panel discussions focused
specifically on wood and smoke. Over the
years, we have learned a great deal from
pitmasters and other experts on this topic. The
investment made by competition teams and
barbecue restaurant operators on wood and
ensuring a supply of consistent, high-quality
wood is high priority. One of the key features
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Meat+Poultry - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - June 2020

Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - FC - 1
Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - FC - 2
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