Why Aren't My Roasts Brown On The Skin?

I have done 3 roasts on my new Kamado Joe BBQ, and the last one was a roast chicken - and I expected the skin to be a lovely brown.

Instead, all roasts I have done the skin is more grey than brown. I am roasting according to the instructions.

The flavour is tremendous, nothing wrong with the meat (perhaps a bit overcooked, but that will be corrected with practice), it is just the aesthetics.


The color of the skin is determined by your cooking temperature. It's all down to a French guy called Louis-Camille Maillard who first documented a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars which is now known as the Maillard reaction.

Put simply, it's the reaction between the sugars and proteins in the skin of the chicken (or on the surface of beef or steak) that give your food it's color.

(For completion, this same reaction is also the reason why cooked food tastes and smells different but to answer your question we're going to stick to the color aspect).

The Maillard reaction takes place at temperatures between 300°F (148°C) and 500°F (360°C) so if you are cooking at temperatures lower than 300°F (148°C) then you are going to struggle to get your food to brown.

I did this smoked chicken low and slow in my kamado and you can see that the skin is lacking in color.

Contrast this with my beer can grilled chicken that was cooked at 320°F (160°C) and you can see the difference.

Cooking on a kamado offers so much versatility in how you do it, what temperature you use etc. yet as you rightly point out, the results in terms of succulence and flavor are excellent no matter how you go about it. It's just a matter of choice whether to go low ow and slow or to roast at a more traditional oven temperature.

So to summarize, it's not something that you are doing wrong, it's simply down to the temperature that you choose to cook at. Below 300°F and you won't get much browning.

See Also:-

Barbecue Tips
About Meat Smokers
Outdoor Kitchen Barbecue Islands
Tabletop Gas Grill

Return to Water Smoker Recipes from Why Aren't My Roasts Brown On The Skin

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Feb 16, 2012
gray bird
by: cootie rebel

You can put the chicken or fowl in your oven at a med high to high temp for about ten mins or so (more or less) to brown the skin.

Your goal is to brown the skin at this point rather than cook the meat - your smoker has all ready done this process.

I had the same results on some ribs I smoked a while back, meat was cooked even fell off the bone tender but they lacked the perfect apeal [wife likes jerky] so I fired up my gas grill to put the chard texard on them about five to eight mins. on med to med low temp.

Hope this might help ya get that dark tan bird next time.

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