How To Get A Smoke Ring In An Electric Smoker [5 Definite Ways]

It’s been a long time since you have witnessed a real pink layer of ribs derived from the smoke ring. Now you are preparing for how to get a smoke ring in an electric smoker.

Remember, the smoke ring is not rocket science, rather it is a craft to keep your meat on the hot smoker and run the low and slow coverage.

how to get a smoke ring in an electric smoker

If you want to see the bright red or pink mark under the skin of your meat, then make sure to read between the lines of this article. We will show you the knowledge of cooking science so the smoke ring will grow across the smoked meat.

Quick Tips: To get perfect smoke ring formation in an electric smoker, we recommend you add sodium nitrate or curing salt to make the ring.

What Is A Smoke Ring?

If you have never come to know what exactly the smoke ring is, then we assume you are in a deep fascination with it. Because there is nothing related between the smoke and the ring.

 smoke ring

Instead of that, a smoke ring means a red or pinkish badge of honor in the smoked meat that comes from both craft and science.

So, why are we so fascinated with the smoke ring?

Well, don’t get it wrong if you will come to know that a smoke ring has nothing to do with the flavor of meat, rather it’s all about color. 

In a deeper sense, a smoky ring is evidence of slow cooking and the heck with the science is known by myoglobin in the meat. Get straight to the smoke ring, we get to see it is wonderfully placed under the outer skin of a piece of meat.

Over there, you will get to see the under-layer range would be between half of an inch and 1/8 of an inch. 

How Is The Smoke Ring Formed Its Shape?

Myoglobin, the pinkish protein substance is the key to creating a smoke ring. But how does it form a more elaborate process? Aside from it, why do the colors differ when it comes to forming?

smoke ring formed its shape

What the heck is with the spherical protein that lies in the muscle of the meat? So the different colors of it come from the different iron atoms it combines.

Before we talked about the Myowater level lies in the muscle. So here are the following iron atoms which determine the different colors: 

  • Animals that have been slaughtered recently (fresh meat) formed a purple color. The chemical reaction is called deoxymyoglobin. 
  • Meat that exposed to air forms cherry red due to the oxymyoglobin 
  • Extended air exposure helps to form a brown color called metmyoglobin.

What Helps To Create A Smoke Ring With An Electric Smoker?

What the heck is with the Myoglobin so you get to see the smoke ring? Well, in a deeper sense, the smoke ring interacts with the pinkish protein substance called Myoglobin.

This particle remains there in the form of gases which are named Nitric Oxide (NO) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

Have you ever wondered to see the pink liquid while bringing fresh meat home?

Don’t get it wrong to imagine it as blood rather than Myo-water. Well, Myowater is the formation of Myoglobin water. The birth of its origins from the cardiovascular system.

That being said, our bloodstream carries protein and finally reaches out to the muscle. The same goes for animals.

Finally, the stream produces Myoglobin so when an animal is slaughtered, the particles still remain there which we have said Myowater turns out Myoglobin. 

Ironically, this chemical reaction allows the meat to become rusty in color as it contains the iron compound, which is responsible for such color. From one type of meat to another, the Myoglobin particles may rise and fall.

So you may see the lesser color with the ribs whereas beef comes with a smoky ring. 

How To Get A Smoke Ring In An Electric Smoker [5 Definitive Ways]

The smoke ring comes through a natural process without additives. But how to get such a good smoke ring is the main thing to unravel.

Well, the authentic natural color tones come to us through some process while burning them. So let’s figure it out below: 

1. Moisture

While toasting your ribs or any meat on your electric or gas grill, you must need moisture to a sufficient level. It determines and executes the great grilling at ease. Well, there is a logical breakthrough behind it no matter whether we ponder upon it or not.

moisture the meat

In many parts of the country, we come to see people add vinegar in different flavors and different types of liquid. So why do they add it?

The simple answer is to get a good smoke ring. Let’s say about the apple juice as we pour it over there because we want to see the brownish color out of ring smoke.

The fact is, the water evaporates gently from underneath the meat and boosts the condensation also ensuring the stickiness, and finally creates awesome smoke. The idea of smoke roasting also lies in a particular manner.

So most meat readily holds the meat and then continues with the dry surface (the more you will keep it on fire).

Here is why we put the pan over the meat and keep it for a while. Turns out the smoke will generate profusely and create the ring.

To understand how the smoke ring originates we need to unravel the cooking process. That being said, we need to figure out how moisture forms in the condensed order and eventually dissolves into it.

Moreover, through the diffusion process, the moisture reaches deep inside the cell, turns out it brings a different color like pinkish or reddish one. 

2. Take Time While Cooking Low & Slow

Another heck with the smoke ring is not to cook too fast so the myoglobin process will begin to execute. So you need to let the smoke ring form underneath the flesh and blood of the meat surface.

take time while cooking low & slow

In a deeper sense, the temperature should reach a gentle level and remain so. 

A smart example would be the gas grill. Since the gas grill runs in fast fame, it can hardly manage to bring the smoke ring. Because it takes time to react to the Myoglobin chemical reaction.

Now let’s come to the business when you want to see a smoke ring that you can do with the grill fame or the temperature.

No guesswork here rather you will need to keep the electric smoker lid shut off for at least 5 hours. Well, thanks for having an electric smoker since it brings only the finest smoke ring due to its low and slow running. 

During the 5 hours of grilling, you need to expect the temperature would be around 200 degrees (F). For a pink smoke ring, more slow-burning will bring great results.

However, the red color underneath the skin will count as a smoke ring as well. Last but not the least, we surmise a good smoke ring takes place not before 4 hours of constant heating. So remember it.

3. Trimming FAT Precisely

The chemical compounds NO and CO (We explained them before) are the key components here. They actively help to bring the smoke ring.

These compounds go inside the underlying meat surface and take a position for a certain moment, turns out the smoke ring shows up. 

trimming fat from meat

The fat cap helps to keep them however, it has a threshold. Trim the excess amount of fat or getting rid of the fat cap to some extent seem good. Most grill masters trim the fat to some extent since it has many grilling benefits.

A distinctive good proof of it is to retain more moisture so the smoky ring comes to persist. 

That being said, cutting off the fat to some extent allows the smoke ring to come in. Thinner trim is better since the fat is permeable so the smoke will vividly show up under the fat cap. To perform so, we will suggest you keep the trim not more than 1/4 inch.

4. Cooling The Meat Before Cooking

Before smoking your meat on the grill, allow it to be cool. Here you can keep the meat in your refrigerator.

cooling the meat before cooking

Getting cool, the nitric oxide and carbon monoxide will concentrate in the meat, and thus it will form a pink color around the smoked meat even before the meat is heated and myoglobin is abolished. 

5. Adding Sodium Nitrate Or Curing Salt (Cheat Method)

We know getting the perfect smoke ring formation is not possible every time. The low and slow temperature and other determiners fall under a big failure so what to do? 

adding sodium nitrate or curing salt to meat

Well, you can trick here with the chemical. So, we recommend that adding sodium nitrate will be a game-changer. In other words, it is curing salt that you are adding.

Turns out, the smoking meat will appear with a pink color which is the output of a smoky ring. This method is also known as the cheat method.

Best Fuels That Form Perfect Smoke Ring

Top-quality charcoal is the best fuel to form a pink smoke ring in the meat. Here you should keep in mind that charcoal briquettes create more smoke rings than wood chunks. How? 

use best quality charcoal to form smoke ring

Whereas charcoal briquets exhaust 100-200 ppm nitric oxide, lump charcoal produces 10-70 ppm nitric oxide in its exhaust. Here as you know nitric oxide plays the secret game to create a smoke ring, it’s wise to use charcoal briquets when you are craving to enjoy a better smoke ring than a wood chunk. 

More now, cherry wood pellets also create a dynamic smoke ring. The great thing about using cherry wood pellets is they will create not only a smoke ring, but it will also enhance the smoked food flavor. 

Now, an irritating question may arise in your mind: which one should I use, charcoal briquets or cherry wood pellets?

The simple answer is cherry wood pellets as it’s experts for both.

Can You Get A Smoke Ring With A Pellet Smoker?

The simple answer is a BIG YES. It’s because a pellet smoker uses wood pellets as fuel. And woods contain nitrogen and they mix with the meat’s myoglobins which creates a great smoke ring in your cooked meat.

However, below we have explained how you can get a better smoke ring with your pellet grill.

How To Get A Good Smoke Ring With A Pellet Smoker?

As you know already getting a smoke ring is not rocket science. You can apply the above methods to get the perfect smoke ring while cooking in your pellet smoker.

good smoke ring

Plus, the following methods will help you to get an alluring smoke ring with your pellet smoker:

  • Use hardwood pellets. Hardwood contains a high nitrogen component and you know high nitrogen oxide creates a better smoke ring. 
  • Always use dry pellets. Never soak your fuel. Wet pellets get swell and as a result, the auger can’t supply the pellets smoothly and fails to burn. And thus the smoker can’t create better smoke, also the smoke ring.  
  • Cook at low temperature in the beginning. Keep the temperature around 225° F. This is the perfect smoke ring temperature. It will help you to get a better smoke ring.   
  • Keep the smokestack open so that your pellet grill gets enough oxygen circulation. Enough oxygen flow helps to have a great smoke ring in your cooked meat. 
  • Plus, apply the above-mentioned techniques such as cooling meat, trimming fat, and applying curing salt. You will get a super smoke ring with your pellet grill.  

Ideal Internal Temperature Range For Meat Or Other Foods?

The ideal temperature to smoke foods is:

Foods NameTemperature
Beef Brisket195°F
Salmon150°-180° F
Pork Ribs225°-250° F
Pulled pork205° F


How do I get more smoke from my electric smoker? 

If you want to get more puffy smoke from your electric smoker then add some Sodium Nitrate. In other words, you will apply the curing salt.

Should you soak wood chips for an electric smoker?

Electric smokers come with an in-built system for temperature control. However, you can soak wood chips because wet wood chips help you to run the smoker hot but slowly. In return, you will get an ideal temperature for the smoke ring. Or knowing the techniques of burning wood chips slowly would be a great bat.

Can you get a smoke ring with a wood smoker or gas smoker or charcoal smoker or offset smoker?

Yes, you can get a smoke ring from your wood-burning pellet grill, charcoal smoker & electric smoker with smoky flavor but not from your propane smoker or offset smoker. 

Why didn’t my brisket have a smoke ring?

If you use excessive rub in your brisket and then wrap it in aluminum foil, your smoked brisket will not get a smoke ring.

Is Masterbuilt smoker a good meat smoker?

Yes, Masterbuilt is the leading brand and is widely popular among barbecue smoke food lovers.

What burns hotter- charcoal or briquettes or wood chunk?

Charcoal burns hotter compared to wood chunks and briquettes. Plus, it also produces less ash than charcoal briquette. However, if it doesn’t get sufficient air, charcoal creates less efficient heat.

Cold smoking vs hot smoking, which one is better?

Hot smoking is better than cold smoking as it cooks and adds flavor to your food. In contrast, cold smoking just adds flavor to the meat. 

Can I use Pellets in My Electric Smoker?

Yes, you can use wood pellets in your electric smoker. But, to get better smoking results, it would be wise to read the ultimate guide on using pellets in Masterbuilt electric smoker.

Wrapping UP

An electric smoker is not an ideal place to get a smoke ring without putting your hands together in the above process.

No worries, once you utilize the ways we explain, then you can get an alluring pink smoke ring on the meat. If something comes up upside down, then use curing salt to fix the job.

Well, let us know in the comment box if you have any queries.

About William

William is the founder of He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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