You’ve probably seen me now rattling on endlessly about the marvel that is Liquid Smoke, but do you have the slightest clue what it is? No, neither do most people I talk to about it INCLUDING one of my best friends in America where the flipping stuff is from!!!
Basically, if you love the smooth smoky flavours that only a log burning BBQ can offer you but you don’t have the time, equipment or indeed the inclination to cook using this method – you need this stuff…
It is essentially smoked wood in a bottle. You’ve probably already tasted it, ever had cured smoky bacon or processed hot dogs? Then you’ve probably already had Liquid Smoke without even knowing it.
So here’s the science bit… A substance produced from smoke passed through water, Liquid Smoke consists of smoke which is produced through the controlled burning of wood chips or sawdust (usually hickory), which is then condensed into solids or liquids and dissolved in water. This method is called destructive distillation and the solution produced can be then be modified to develop a wide range of smoke flavours.
Many chefs and cooks don’t advocate the use of Liquid Smoke, but I treat it just like any other herb or spice in the kitchen. Overused it can be horrible, but used with care, it can produce some of the best flavours you will ever taste! I use it in pulled pork, rubs, pasta dishes, burgers, meatloaf, soups, sauces and more… it’s great in baked beans and it really is my best friend in the kitchen.
You can buy Liquid Smoke mostly online, I haven’t yet found it in supermarkets in the UK, but I do know that it is widely available in the US, you can import it or buy on a marketplace such as eBay, though be careful, you could end up paying more than if you visited a UK supplier such as Hot Headz. This is the brand of choice for me, followed by Stubbs because they are the easiest to find in the UK, but when I visit Boston this summer I will be testing out a few other varieties!
Check out these sites for decent Liquid Smoke, I do prefer Hot Headz for a couple of reasons though,
1. it is additive and preservative free and
2. it has a handy little dropper in the neck of the bottle so you can’t overdo it!
Happy pretend smokin’!