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Holy Smoke Rings

Dear Tooting & Balham Foodies, It appears that summer is finally here! Wahoo! After a bit of a washout throughout May, it’s a blessed relief to be having some sunshine. It’s also doubly welcome, as it means that we have some good weather to celebrate the easing of restrictions over the last few weeks, with all the get togethers that go with it. No doubt, we are all crossing our fingers that they continue to relax and we aren’t plunged into another lockdown of sorts.

A one inch smoke ring on some shredded BBQ Pulled Pork
1 inch smoke ring

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote to you all, but we’ve all been quite busy. With larger groups being able to meet outdoors, we’ve had a few private parties to cater for, which has been absolutely fabulous. It’s meant that our BBQ smoker has being working overtime, and has helped smoke a serious amount of meat! It seems every time I smoke a joint (no, not that kind), the results get better and better. Smoking on a consistently ultra low temperature (185F/ 85C) has led to some epic smoke rings, particularly on the pulled pork. There is a bit of a debate on what the presence of the smoke ring actually means, and whether its an actual indicator of quality. In my minds eye it does make a very pleasing aesthetic, and its certainly something that judges on the competition circuit look for too. When cooking BBQ you are using wood (or charcoal), and this combustion reaction causes the production of Nitrous Dioxide, which you wouldn’t get using your oven or a gas grill. This gas then dissolves on the moist meat surface and infuses itself into the meat, binding itself to the myoglobin present. Myoglobin is what gives meat its red colour; as it heats it will turn brown as the oxygen reacts during cooking. This binding stops the myoglobin under the surface turning brown and keeping a pleasing red colour. At lower temperatures the smoke is able to penetrate meat further before the meat has reached the temperature where it turns brown! This is why it “ain’t BBQ if it ain’t cooked over wood”!!

BBQ'd pork shoulder before pulling, with a nice thick crusty bark of smoky caramelised spices
BBQ'd Pork Shoulder with a nice bark

Whilst the jury is out on whether the smoke ring actually adds flavour in itself, I do think that the slow smoking process adds the development of a solid ‘bark’. This is the crust that forms on the upper-most edge of your BBQ’d meat, Not only is this pleasing on the eye, with the contrast of the blackened bark, the rest smoke ring and the cooked meat, it is packed with flavour from the rub that has cooked and caramelised with all those floating smoke particles that have been rubbing up next to it for hours upon end. We make sure that this is all pulled throughout so that you come across little nuggets of flavour explosions on your plate! NYOM! I hope those that had these for their garden parties agree! 😊 If you’re looking for the best BBQ in London, look no further! We have a range of BBQ meats, from pulled pork, beef brisket in a honey-orange glaze, and BBQ’d chicken with a blueberry sauce to much much more, as well as sizzling sides and perfect puds! Drop us a line and we’d be more than happy to chat through what we can do for you.

Thank you for all your support and I hope to cook for you soon,

Rich, The Southern Kitchen

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