What is liquid smoke? Until recently not many people had heard of liquid smoke but it is quickly becoming an essential for every kitchen pantry. This unique product adds a natural smoky flavour to any food; something that could traditionally only be accomplished by a person with a smoker and a lot of time on their hands.
Liquid smoke not only works on meats but can be added to food that is not normally associated with a smoky flavour such as soft cheese, dips or even mashed potatoes. A quick search on the internet will reveal how chefs are utilising its diversity for anything from pulled pork to sticky toffee pudding, or even smoky cocktails; the possibilities are endless.
Liquid smoke is not a new product, it has been available in the US for over 120 years for flavouring and preserving food. To make liquid smoke, damp woodchips are placed inside a large oven known as a retort, the wood itself is not burned but intensely heated to create a slow smoulder. This smoke is condensed and rapidly chilled which causes the smoke particles and water to fall as a liquid. This liquid smoke is then collected and filtered to eliminate any impurities and depending on the brand is either left to mature in oak barrels or directly bottled for shipping.
Liquid smoke creates flavour and colour that adds no calories or fat to foods.
Liquid smoke does not contain any other ingredients besides natural smoke, water and an emulsifier to bind the smoke anf the water together.
All potentially harmful smoke gases and solid elements like PAH's (potentially carcinogenic components), tar and char are removed during processing. These undesired components are recycled as fuel back into the process, eliminating them as pollutants.
There is some debate over the use of liquid smoke in place of a real wood smoker. Braai purists generally dismiss it as a poor substitute for real hardwood smoke, while others see very little difference between the two sources of smoke flavour. Just because you are braaing it does not mean you don’t need to use liquid smoke. Hickory is a hardwood with a strong intense flavour so you can add a few drops to your favourite marinade or even rub the steak with a combination of olive oil and liquid smoke and it will still retain this distinctive taste after it has been braaied.
Liquid smoke is very concentrated, a little goes a long way. Locally available in Hickory, Mixed Hardwood & European Beech.