Getty Images

Liquid Smoke Turns Any Dish Into a BBQ Without the Mess

What comes to your mind when hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, pork chops, pasta, and chips are mentioned? Probably a barbecue. I bet you could even imagine the taste of each of them too, right? Barbecued food always tastes different than cooking it on a stove or oven. Barbecue tastes even better if you know what seasonings and sauces to use like BBQ sauce, wood chips, dry rubs, or liquid smoke. Liquid smoke sounds strange, but is more common than you might think.

What Is Liquid Smoke?

Liquid smoke is just a distilled version of the smoke that is burned off of wood chips. Smoked foods get their smoky flavor by being cooked on certain types of wood chips or having liquid smoke brushed on. Many types of meats that are cooked on a grill or in a smoker get that nice flavor and browning from the smoke but it can take some time when using wood chips because you have to soak your wood before adding it to your grill.

Who has time for that?

Liquid smoke takes no time at all because it can be brushed on, and even though your food might not be smoked with wood chips, it will still taste like it has been.

How To Use Liquid Smoke

This little condiment is very simple to use. It's just like using regular BBQ sauce. Whether you plan on cooking on the stovetop, grill, or oven, you simply take a basting brush and brush on a little bit. This spice comes in many flavors but can also be very strong, so you don't want to overdo it. Add it to any meat you're cooking and once it's done, your guests will believe it was smoke.

When it comes to buying liquid smoke you have a couple of different options that you can choose from, such as Natural Hickory, Wright's Concentrated All Natural, Mesquite, Stubbs Hickory, Colgin, and All Natural Pecan.

How Is Liquid Smoke Made?

liquid smoke bbq food

Liquid smoke is made from wood chips! That's it. The wood chips are burned at very high heat and once they reach a certain temperature, a vapor is given off, then put into a machine called a condenser.

After going into the condenser, that liquid is reduced down to give it a "stronger" flavor. So when using liquid smoke on your meats, only use about a tablespoon or so. This bottle will last you a while.

At dinner time or when you're having a BBQ and you want your food to have that extra special taste, liquid smoke is the way to go. It cuts down on time so you don't have to soak wood chips, you don't have to use very much so it will last you a while, and you'll still get compliments and guests will think the food was smoked. Win-win, right?

READ: 3 Water Smokers Perfect for Small Spaces and How To Use Them

Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.