A microstructural analysis of licking behavior in nondeprived and 23-hr food-deprived rats (n = 15) presented with various sucrose solutions (0.03-1.0 M) in daily single-bottle, 1-hr sessions was conducted. Food deprivation and concentration interacted to increase total licks. The effects of food deprivation and concentration on burst size (BS), burst number (BN), and other parameters varied as a function of the pause criterion (PC; 0.3-100 s) used to define licking bursts. A rationale for selecting a 1-s PC for further analysis is presented. Despite the lack of correlations between temporally contiguous burst and pause combinations, mean BS decreased and pause duration increased as meals progressed. At the 1-s PC, BS increased linearly with concentration, implying that this microstructural parameter is influenced in part by taste. Food deprivation did not affect BS but rather increased BN and proportionally extended the meal duration.