Liquid smoke is a popular ingredient in barbeque sauces and rubs, but what do you do if you don’t have any on hand? What’s a good liquid smoke substitute that closely matches on flavor? Or that you may readily in your cabinet? From smoked salt to hickory extract, there are plenty of ways to add smoky flavor to your food without using liquid smoke.
Liquid smoke is a handy way to add smoky flavor to foods. This four-pack gives you all sorts of flavor options, based on different woods smoked: hickory, mesquite, apple, and pecan.
Table of Contents
- What is liquid smoke? And why do people use it in their cooking?
- What are some of the best substitutes for liquid smoke?
- Must-read related posts
What is liquid smoke? And why do people use it in their cooking?
Knowing what this ingredient is helps set the stage for the right kitchen substitutes. Liquid smoke is a concentrated form of smoke flavor that is used as a seasoning. It is made by condensing the smoke from burning wood, which contains compounds that contribute to the taste and smell of smoked foods. These include chemicals like guaiacol, which has a smoky, bacon-like flavor, and other aromatic compounds.
–> Learn More: Liquid Smoke Ingredients – What’s Behind The Flavor
Liquid smoke is used to flavor food that has been cooked using methods that do not impart a smoky flavor, such as boiling or baking. It can also be used to add smoked flavor to food that has been cooked over an open flame but did not develop a strong enough smoky flavor.
There are two main types of liquid smoke: natural and artificial. Natural liquid smoke is made from the smoke of burning wood, while artificial liquid smoke is made from chemicals that mimic the flavor of smoked foods. Both types of liquid smoke can be used in cooking, but artificial liquid smoke may have a more intense flavor.
What are some of the best substitutes for liquid smoke?
Smoked salt is made by smoking salt over a fire, imparting a smoky flavor to the salt. Smoked salt can be used instead of liquid smoke in any recipe that calls for it. It is a good choice for rubs, marinades, and seasoning meat and vegetables.
Hickory extract is made from the bark of hickory trees. It has a strong smoky flavor and can be used instead of liquid smoke in any recipe. Hickory extract is a good choice for barbeque sauces and rubs.
Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. They can be used in place of liquid smoke to add a smoky flavor to any dish. Chipotle peppers are a good choice for chili, salsa, and enchilada sauce.
Note: chipotle in adobo sauce is also an alternative here. The adobo sauce is a spiced tomato sauce with a lot of earthiness and some heat. Consider whether that will work with your meal. There’s a lot more to it than a few dashes of liquid smoke.
Smoked paprika is made from smoked peppers. It imparts a smoky flavor to food and can be used in place of liquid smoke. Smoked paprika is also a good choice for Mexican, Tex-Mex foods, and barbecue. It’s also one of the more common spices on a reasonably stocked spice rack. So chances are you have this spice sitting right in your cupboard.
BBQ sauce is a good liquid smoke alternative for marinades, basting sauces, or dipping sauces. It’s also suitable for pulled pork, chicken, and ribs.
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented sauce that has a complex flavor. It is made with vinegar, soy sauce, anchovies, and spices. Worcestershire sauce can be used in place of liquid smoke to add flavor to meats, vegetables, and soups.
Though note – there’s no true smoky flavor here. It’s salty with more of an umami flavor. The benefit of Worcestershire sauce is how common it is in many refrigerators. And it tends to go well with many dishes where liquid smoke may be an option.
Must-read related posts
- How to Create Charcoal Flavor Off The Grill: Charcoal is a unique taste, but there are definitely ways to create it.
- Our Wood Chips Primer: If you’re into smoking, learn the different flavors of smoking woods and simple tips for their use.
- Cooking With Liquid Smoke – The Dos And Don’ts: We cover what you need to be aware of when cooking with this ingredient.