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Engineering students invent new BBQ smoker

Stashed in: Engineers!, Harvard, Meat!

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See, THIS is what education is all about. You get a bunch of young energetic kids focused on a TRULY IMPORTANT problem in the world: how to smoke a perfect brisket. You give them access to great materials and the accumulated know-how of others. And you let them smoke a lot of meat experimentally.

Does... Does the perfect brisket exist?

The students found that maintaining the proper temperature is tough to do. Even the high-end control smoker had hot and cool spots, with as much as a 50-degree difference across the cooking surface, which caused the meat to cook unevenly.

To even out those hot spots in their design, students borrowed the concave shape of a power plant cooling tower, called a “hyperboloid.” That shape forces the smoke to mix in the narrow waist, evening out the temperature, before it expands again to engulf the meat. The shape also creates eddies of smoke above the cooking surface, bathing the brisket in the wood fumes, which imparts flavor during the cooking process.