This is Why Your Smoked Meat Turns Black (And How To Fix It)

Posted on: January 18, 2023

Barbecue enthusiasts and food lovers are always looking for new ways to enjoy their food. Some prefer eating out and enjoying scrumptious meals, while others are all about creating experiences in the comfort of their own homes. Whether it’s cooking on the weekend or hosting dinner, smoked meat is loved by all.

However, the mood can switch, and things can get pretty disappointing when the meat ends up turning black. At this point, the meat is inedible and ends up in the trash since it can be harmful if consumed. To avoid this mistake, it’s crucial to understand the reason behind smoking turning meat black.


Smoke can indeed be a big culprit behind ruining meat and turning it black. If the smoker you have been using hasn’t been cleaned, there is a high chance it will produce a lot of stale smoke. This unhygienic, stale smoke can destroy your meat.

Keeping your smoker clean is not only important for your health but also ensures that the meat tastes good. A clean smoker has a better shine and looks well put together and taken care of. Nonetheless, there is always a way to fix the stale smoke.

Cleaning your smoker vigorously can help stop the stale smoke right away. This involves scrubbing the smoker with water and soap. Using vinegar and baking soda to clean dirty edges can also help get rid of the grease faster. It is recommended not to use metal objects to clean your smoker to avoid any scratches or damage.

Following a cleaning routine after the smoker has been used can result in healthy cooking. Stale smoke can also be avoided by this practice. These methods will make sure that your meat never turns black ever again.


Smoking meat can seem like a fun and simple process, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Keeping a check on the temperature can become a hectic chore. Any mistakes in the maintenance of the temperature can result in black meat that is not only harmful but also tastes unpleasant.

To avoid any mishaps, you should avoid cooking meat over high heat. Smoked meat should be cooked at either a low temperature or a limited amount of time. If the meat is smoked on extremely high heat or for a long time, the meat will burn and turn black. It will also be impossible to consume due to its toughness.

Apart from it turning black, a high temperature can also leave the meat uncooked and raw on the inside and done on the outside. The ideal temperature to smoke meat on is within 225–250 °F (107–121 °C). If this is not maintained, there is a high chance of the meat turning black and burnt.

The temperature can be easily managed if you’re using an electric smoker. They are much easier to control and have digital functionality. An electric smoker is your best bet if you dread maintaining the temperature.


Now that stale smoke and temperature management issues have been analyzed, we can discuss possible solutions. Another factor that can cause the meat to turn black is wood. This material plays a vital role in smoking meat. Understanding the amount of wood required to smoke meat is also essential.

If excess wood is added to the smoker, it can result in too much smoke, eventually turning the meat black. The basic rule of thumb suggests starting smoking with only two ounces of wood. More can be added in time after considering how the smoking has been working out.

In addition to that, the type of wood you use to smoke your meat is important as well. Different kinds of wood will give the meat different flavors and textures. If the wood is too dry, the meat can turn black in no time. To avoid this happening, the moisture of the wood should be taken into consideration as well.

Furthermore, knowing which type of wood is better for the kind of meat you’re smoking is also important. Hickory wood is ideal for smoking beef, chicken, and pork. On the other hand, applewood only works for chicken and pork. Understanding these details is a must if you want to avoid burning your meat.


If you’re someone who enjoys smoking meat now and then and is scared of encountering a situation that involves burnt or black meat, these solutions can help you greatly. Acknowledging and analyzing a problem is always the best way to find a solution to it and eventually solve it.

Using an electric smoker can help you fight a lot of these problems too. If you’d like to read more tips and tricks on smoking your meat the right way, check out the Bradley Smokers blog.

Check out some helpful articles below:
Let’s Break Down How Your Food Is Smoked (With an Electric Smoker)
How to Make Burnt Ends Delicious

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