I get asked all the time "Why the hell do you keep saying that stupid phrase "Smoke Ring" - Person X
The Smoke Ring is one way of measuring a balance of how well your meat has been smoked with the moisture of your pan. To find the smoke ring, you can catch a pink ring following the border of the meat. Pink = Good. So next time you are off eating bad BBQ, first check the meat and see if there is a smoke ring. This is a good visual indicator to tell if you are eating oven baked BBQ or properly smoke BBQ.
Here is the science behind the smoke ring:
The Smoke Ring is actually...
nitric acid building up in the surface of meat, absorbed from the surface. This nitric acid is formed when nitrogen dioxide from wood combustion in smoke mixes with water in the meat. Basically it is a chemical reaction between the smoke, the meat, and the moisture in the pit.
With time people have learned how to create an artificial smoke ring. By coating the meat with Salt Tenderizer, the nitrogen dioxide will create an artificial ring. After years of this kind of Heineken-Drinking Yankee Bullshit, judges at BBQ competitions have eliminated the smoke ring as any visual consideration when judging competitions.
Here is an example of a brisket with a smoke ring.
Here is an example of a yankee brisket with out a smoke ring.
Get it got it good.
I know that I'm not reviewing a restaurant here but I'm going to give the concept of BBQ having a Smoke Ring a 5 out of 5.