A liquid smoke is literally what’s in its name – it is a smoke in liquid form. It gives food a robust smokey flavor without the need for hours of smoking or an expensive smoker. Instead, all that you need to do is to use this yellow-brown concentrate as a sauce or marinade. It is available in different varieties, so you can pick the flavor profile that you want.
If you do not have a liquid smoke at home, no need to worry. A quick look at your pantry can reveal some other flavorings that you can use. With that, if you are looking for the best liquid smoke substitutes, read on and learn from some of our recommendations.
What Is Liquid Smoke?
The 10 Best Liquid Smoke Substitutes
1. Spanish Smoked Paprika
When it comes to spices, paprika is one of the most popular. It is made of dried peppers, which is also what gives it the red-orange color. The flavor ranges from mild to spicy, depending on the specific variety. Among others, one of the best is Spanish smoked paprika, which is an excellent alternative if liquid smoke is unavailable. If you want an intense smoky flavor, the right variety is pimenton dela vera. It is from the Extremadura/La Vera region in Spain. Holm oak wood is used to smoke the peppers before they are dried and ground.
2. Chipotle Powder
From steak to seafood, chipotle is one of the most popular spices. It is well-loved for its moderate heat level, which is made even better by its fruity undertones. In its powdered form, it also has a smoky flavor profile, making it another great option when liquid smoke is unavailable. This powder is made of dried and ground chipotle chiles. The jalapeño peppers have earthy and smoky flavors that you can enjoy in any recipe. With this flavoring, you can replicate mouthwatering smoked dishes.
3. Canned Chipotle Peppers
If you would rather have a smoky flavor from real peppers instead of a flavored powder, then a great option would be canned chipotle peppers. They are easily available in your favorite supermarkets. One thing that we love about them is that they have a long shelf-life, as long as you do not open the can until you are ready to use the peppers. This is unlike chipotle powder that are prone to attracting moisture and hardening.
4. Smoked Tea
While you will find different types of smoked teas, one of the most popular is Lapsang souchong. This Chinese black tea is made of Camelia sinensis leaves. They are smoke-dried in pinewood fire, giving it a robust flavor that will make a great substitute if you do not have liquid smoke. The process is done either through cold or hot smoking. The smokiness of the resulting tea can be different depending on how near or far the leaves are from the smoker. Aside from wood smoke, the flavors can also have hints of smoked paprika, longan, and pine resin.
5. Smoked Salt
This aromatic salt is another effective replacement for liquid smoke. It has a complex and bold flavor that will add a flame-grilled aroma and taste to your dishes without the need for a smoker. It has sea salt flakes, with smoke from real and untreated wood. The salt is smoked up to two weeks. The specific type of the wood used for smoking will have a huge impact on how the overall taste will be. Alder, mesquite, hickory, and apple are some of the most common types of wood that are used.
6. Hickory Smoke Powder
As a wood, hickory has one of the richest and strongest flavors. It has a clean and crisp smell, which is comparable to oak. The flavor, on the other hand, is robust, which many people compare to bacon. If you cannot smoke meats with hickory wood, then hickory smoke powder will be a great alternative. This is also similar to the flavor profile that you can expect when you use liquid smoke. From gravy to baked beans, its smoky flavor is sure to make any dish more delicious.
If you are looking for an alternative that is readily available, it is hard to go wrong with charcoal. To replicate the flavor of liquid smoke, all that you must do is burn the charcoal on the top of stovetop flame. Once it is smoking, use tongs to safely transfer the charcoal in a container that has the food that you would like to smoke. Cover with a lid or plastic bag to trap the smoke. However, while it infuses a smoky flavor, it won’t be as strong as what you can expect from the other alternatives that are mentioned in this article.
8. Smoke Gun
For a cool and functional kitchen tool, a smoke gun is perhaps one of the best investments. It is a handheld device that emits smoke. In turn, it will infuse smoky flavors on different recipes. Most are cordless and battery-powered, so you can easily use them anytime and anywhere. The gun has a wood chamber on the top, which is where you will be adding wood chips. Once powered, the gun will ignite the wood and it will create smoke.
9. Smoked Meats
If you do not have liquid smoke, you can try adding smoked meats on your recipes. You can choose any kind of meat, and the strength of its smoky flavor will impact how the dish would taste like. This is a great option for soups, stews, and even pastries. Cut the smoked meats into smaller portions and add it to whatever you are smoking. The more you add, the more noticeable the smoky flavor will be.
If you are looking for something different to add to your recipes, beer is a good idea. With the right beer, you can replicate the flavor profile of liquid smoke. The best way to use beer is to add it to your marinade. It is also great addition to stews and sauces. For the best taste, make sure that you choose the right beer. Go for smoky craft beers, such as stout and porter. The quality of the beer will be largely influential of the flavor of your dish.
#Video: How To Make Liquid Smoke At Home! Redux