Liquid smoke - how do you use it?
Posted 11 April 2010 - 06:49 PM
But recently I have seen some scientific papers where they argue that in blind taste tests some people actually prefer it to the real thing. That probably depends crucially on the real smoked meat they compared to. However, it made me think that maybe - just maybe - I was too quick to write it off liquid smoke (LS).
Also, there is a new book out called Cheater BBQ that strongly advocates it.
There are four basic ways to use liquid smoke:
1. In the marinade, or brine, left to soak into the meat prior to cooking.
2. In the cooking liquid. The Cheater book advocates putting the LS directly into a crock pot /slow cooker with cubed pork butt or spare ribs, which are then slow cooked for 6-8 hours before being put in a hot oven to make a nice crust.
3. Applied right at the end to the meat (and/or in a glaze) then heated in hot oven or under broiler to brown the surface.
4. Commercial meat packers uses spray it into a smoker, allowing it to vaporize. You could likely simulate this in one of those stovetop smokers. The temperature would be lower for the LS.
I tried an experiment with #2 today, trying both Stubb's Hickory and Wright's (also hicory). The flavor was OK, but very weak. There was a hint of smoke flavor, but only that.
I also tried approach #3 and it had an objectionable harsh aftertaste, particularly from the Wrights.
Besides the supermarket brands there are commercial suppliers like Red Arrow.
Anyway, I am interested in whether anybody else has some positive LS experience they want to share. Given the reputation of LS among real BBQ lovers negative experience is almost too easy, so it isn't as valuable
Posted 11 April 2010 - 06:59 PM
Posted 11 April 2010 - 07:20 PM
I use a few drops of liquid smoke in a smoked creamed corn dish I make in late summer when our sweet corn is ripe. I smoke the ears of corn on the barbecue to give it a true smoked, charred flavor. Then I puree the corn with cream and add a few drops of liquid smoke to enhance the flavor. I also add some smoked bacon and chives to the creamed corn. The liquid smoke gives the final dish a little boost and I don't feel at all guilty for using it. Granted, I haven't ventured out using it on meats.
Posted 11 April 2010 - 07:49 PM
Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:00 PM
Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:07 PM
Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:41 PM
- gulfporter likes this
Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"
"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
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Posted 12 April 2010 - 04:40 AM
Posted 12 April 2010 - 05:08 AM
I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?
Posted 12 April 2010 - 06:20 AM
I've made the Cheater BBQ Pork mentioned above and never had anyone know the difference (and I live in the south where people know good BBQ).
Edited by BadRabbit, 12 April 2010 - 06:21 AM.
Posted 12 April 2010 - 09:53 AM
Posted 12 April 2010 - 12:05 PM
I add the liquid smoke to kosher salt, and use that to cure the salmon.
You can also dry this salt on a sheet pan in the oven and use it to impart some smoke flavor to just about anything (store it sealed). I googled 'liquid smoke salt' and found some more elaborate methods for making smoked salt.
Posted 12 April 2010 - 12:42 PM
In sauces or similar contexts this undoubtedly works pretty well - it is a flavor extract so there is no reason it wouldn't work in a similar fashion to others. Some of the brands seem to be a bit harsher flavor than others in this context, but I am sure one could play with the amount to add and come up with something.
My interest is in trying to use it for meat smoking. As mentioned above there appear to be a couple ways people do it, but my experiments so far have not been successful.
Posted 12 April 2010 - 01:25 PM
I use mine (and only Wright's Liquid Smoke) for making ersatz lox. I add the liquid smoke to kosher salt, and use that to cure the salmon. I am very happy with the results -- I get pricey lox for the cost of inexpensive salmon fillets.
You're right, that ain't lox. It's not even ersatz lox, however. What you're making is ersatz smoked salmon, or Nova lox. Real lox (a.k.a. belly lox) is simply brined, never smoked.
Mostly, I use Wright's as an additive to canned baked beans, and occasionally added to a sauce for application after cooking/grilling.
Edited by rlibkind, 12 April 2010 - 01:28 PM.
Robert's Market Report
Posted 12 April 2010 - 04:18 PM
The smoke is mixed with water in a lidded pan and the breasts are placed on a rack over the water and covered. Then steamed for a short time. Works pretty well.
Posted 12 April 2010 - 06:19 PM
Edited by RAHiggins1, 12 April 2010 - 06:20 PM.
Posted 13 April 2010 - 12:55 PM
But now that this topic has popped up, I may reconsider. A few brands have been mentioned. Can we get some more details? Is liquid smoke available in different wood types? (Oak, cherry, hickory, etc.??)
Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
Posted 14 April 2010 - 09:41 AM
In the majority of grocery stores, you may not be able to find different kinds, let alone different brands, of liquid smoke. Have you tried an online search? That may be more fruitful than a trip to the store.
Can we get some more details? Is liquid smoke available in different wood types? (Oak, cherry, hickory, etc.??)
As for uses, my mom brushes a beef brisket with the liquid smoke, wraps it in foil and lets it sit in the fridge over night. She has a dedicated pastry brush for this job since the liquid smoke tends to linger on the brush even after cleaning.
Then she cooks the brisket low and slow in the foil "pouch" and it has a nice smoky flavor when finished cooking.
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Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:52 AM
I have cold smoked corn for a corn soup and then added a few drops to bump up the smoke flavor just a tad. Do the same with hot smoked salmon or other fish when making a fish spread. The delicate smoke flavor can get lost in a spread so the liquid smoke helps highlight the smoke flavor in the dish. A little goes a long way.
Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:53 AM
Also, any opinions on brands?
Posted 23 March 2011 - 01:50 PM
The meat (pork "butt"/shoulder, or a whole duck) is rubbed with salt and liquid smoke (I used Wright mesquite), wrapped in ti or banana leaves + foil and then cooked in the oven. The foil bag containing the meat is placed in a roasting pan containing water, and the pan itself is wrapped in foil.
This technique is described in Alan Wong's New Wave Luau, and is supposed to mimic cooking in a traditional imu underground oven.
Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:10 PM
I'd like to bump this, with particular emphasis on nathanm's original question regarding whether anyone has had any success making "smoked" meat using liquid smoke. It looks like so far there have been success with salmon and brisket. Anyone else care to chime in? I'm particularly interested in any successes with pork (butts, bellies/bacon, ribs).
Also, any opinions on brands?
I did the ultimate cheater pork once after hearing about it on Splendid Table and finding the recipe on their website (it uses butt or country style ribs). I changed the spices to my usual rub but did follow their process and use of LS. It produced a good pulled pork for sandwiches. I don't know if I would have attempted to serve it as straight BBQ (i.e. not on a bun) because the lack of bark would have been more noticeable. The flavor is very good and the texture is tender though somewhat homogenous due to the aforementioned lack of bark.
I smoke butts all the time and a good one in my smoker is one of my real passions. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to use this recipe if I couldn't smoke for some reason.
I'd also like to second using LS for mayonnaise. RB's Flip Burger Boutique's fries (fried in duck fat) with the smoked mayonnaise is incredible.
I always use Wright brand LS.
Edited by BadRabbit, 23 March 2011 - 02:13 PM.
Posted 24 March 2011 - 10:58 AM
It's a natural product, I think it's just water that's being smoked and then maybe concentrated, might even be healthier than the real smoking?
I have to try that mayo, that sounds interesting! And LS can be something fun to play with, smoking things you can't really smoke at all, like a fine misting on some ice cream? Chocolate? Fruit? I might just have to put some in a little mister and play with it some more!
- Thomas Keller
Diablo Kitchen, my food blog
Posted 29 March 2011 - 08:22 AM
I think the result is good (but I must admit that I do not own a smoker or have never tried food from one)
I brine the meat for a few hours (10% brine) up to 24h(5%) if I have the time, the brine is mixed with some LS (I just add a bit) and sometimes some other spices
After that I Sous Vide the meat, using dry rub, for 48-72h.
I think the LS adds a good taste and have tasted with out without the brine (without LS) and find the meat more moist using it.
Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:45 PM
I assume Nathan has this all figured out by now, based on the good press liquid smoke received in the books. As for myself, I had never tried liquid smoke until tonight. Being an old woman who lives in an apartment, my cookery does not include much barbeque.
This afternoon I bought a bottle of Stubb's Hickory. Putting my nose to the opening it was rather vile. But then again, raw vanilla extract does not do much for me either.
Persevering, I rubbed a chicken thigh with a few drops of Stubb's -- and then with chili spice mix (MC@H p 138), a spice mixture of which I have grown most fond. There was a Pavlovian response upon entering the kitchen, but after grilling there was not much smoke flavor to be detected.
Should I have used more? Where did I go wrong?
Posted 13 October 2014 - 05:30 PM
For something completely different ... the Smoking Cap cocktail works quite well with 'fake' smoke if the real stuff isn't available.
Be cautious; just a few drops onto the ice cube should do it (I have a spray bottle of manuka smoke flavouring, and it's startlingly strong but fine in this with a gentle squirt on top). You can always add more.
Posted 13 October 2014 - 06:31 PM
Over the decades I have been cooking I have tried liquid smoke many times but never quite cared for the flavor and sometimes during cooking the flavor completely dissipates, leaving no hint of smokiness behind. Too much and there is an acrid, sharp flavor that is most unpleasant and catches in the throat.
I prefer a different solution.
For some things I use Lapsang Souchong tea because that imparts a wonderful smoky flavor without the harsh flavor I find in liquid smoke.
For some foods I use smoked salts. In fact, I cooked a pot of beans yesterday and used guava-smoked salt to achieve a flavor that is remarkable like the flavor achieved when the beans are cooked with smoked ham hocks.
- Smithy likes this
Posted 14 October 2014 - 04:22 AM
I have never used it to try to duplicate the flavor of meats that have been smoked.
I use LS in stove-top-cooked bean dishes that I want to add a little something extra to. I add it toward the end of cooking.
My wife has a recipe in her head for tuna dip which has a bit of LS added. It is always popular.
Back to bean dishes, making navy beans with some onion, a bit of garlic and finishing with some Applewood LS is tasty in my book.
The Unrelenting Carnivore
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Posted 14 October 2014 - 11:03 AM