Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Liquid Smoke

As I roamed the grocery isle in search of an ingredient for my Kalua Pua'a, a clerk approached me to ask if I need assistance.

"Yes, please," I replied. "Can you tell me where I can find liquid smoke?"

"Uh....  Is that a joke?" he asked.

"No," wondering what kind of joke it could be. "It is an ingredient used to make meat taste smokey without actually smoking it."

The clerk left to talk with a manage and, to his surprise, it is a real ingredient.  The manager said that it is carried in specialty stores (although, I found it in the large chain grocery retail store across the street) and off I went, leaving a puzzled clerk behind.

I guess in hindsite, Liquid Smoke does sound like something you might use for an "alternative" purpose.  But, Liquid Smoke nothing of the sort and so, well.....it just never occurred to me.  In fact, Liquid Smoke is the collected consdensation from smoked wood, usually hickory or mesquite.  In it's purest form, it contains only water and the condensation from the wood.  Liquid Smoke is mixed into recipes, spritzed on foods during grilling, or added to water during a steaming to add a smokey flavor without actually smoking the food. 

ALLERGY ALERT:  Read  your labels.  Not all Liquid Smoke is just water and condensation.  I have seen ingredients such as soy and wheat in many brands.  Carefully read the labels.

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