My interest in liquid smoke started in late 2012 when I found a recipe online for Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) where one of the key ingredients was liquid smoke. I searched high and low for it in South Africa but came up empty handed, this was when I searched for international manufacturers. Once I finally received my first bottle and was able to complete the Chicken Makhani I was hooked. Soon I was trying it on steaks, beef burgers, chicken breasts and even pasta sauces. Liquid smoke’s versatility got me thinking and I realised that there was a gap in the market, this is when I started researching it in earnest.It contains no PAHs (potentially carcinogenic components) and adds no calories or fat. It works wonders in curries, vegetarian dishes, sauces, cheese, dips, and marinades or even directly on meat or fish – giving indoor cooking the flavour of outdoor cooking. Plus it’s kosher and halaal. Some flavours are also suitable for vegans.
The manufacture of liquid smoke is quite complex and goes through a few stages before it becomes the great tasting product we know. It is 100% natural wood flavour and there are no artificial flavours. Damp wood chips from your selected wood type are heated to smouldering point in a large retort, this generates more smoke than actually setting the wood alight. This smoke is funnelled into a compression chamber where this rapidly cools the smoke, causing condensation. This condensation is filtered purified and aged for anything from a few months to a year.
We have three different variants; Hickory, Mixed Hardwood and European Beech. Hickory is the most popular wood used for smoking and so is the one most people are familiar with. It works well with meat and sauces/marinades for pork, chicken & beef. Mixed hardwood is a combination of hickory and oak, both are hard woods so this works on the same items as the Hickory. Finally the European Beech is a softer wood and so is therefore a good all-round smoke that can be used on meat, sauces, marinades as well as seafood, fish and cheeses & dips.
The possibilities of what can be achieved with liquid smoke are endless, if you have an imagination you will be able to create some spectacular meals.The European Beech in particular enables you to get a smoky flavour into things that you would never associate being enhanced by the flavour of smoke. Last year a catering customer of ours made a Smoked Cardamom Ice-cream! There is also a rage in the US where liquid smoke is being used in cocktails. Using it is also very easy, simply add it to a marinade, store bought cream cheese or dips, anything that you think would benefit from a smoky flavour.Our liquid smoke is very concentrated so you really do not need to use very much, for 200g of cream cheese or hummus you need only ¼ teaspoon. You are able to flavour 1kg of chicken breasts with just 1 teaspoon mixed with olive oil and left to marinade for 20 minutes before grilling.Many of the recipes I have found online from people using it in the States use a less concentrated form of liquid smoke. Their recipes call for much more than is required with our brand, so be careful when following these recipes. It has not been easy creating brand awareness as liquid smoke is a pretty much unknown product here in South Africa. Facebook and Twitter have aided us tremendously here along with some gracious foodies writing blogs! We are at the annual food shows and events in Johannesburg where we get great exposure and grow our ever expanding client base.Over the past two years we have been fortunate enough to find butchers, delis and grocery stores willing to take a chance on a little known product and they have not looked back, with repeat orders keeping their shelves stocked.We are in most main centres around South Africa with the exception of Bloemfontein and the Eastern Cape but hopefully we will get into these markets in the coming year. We are always updating our website, www.liquid-smoke.co.za, with new recipes as well and posting updates and new ideas on www.facebook.com/LiquidSmokeSA & www.twitter.com/LiquidSmokeSA. Some of the favourites are the Smoked Parmesan mashed potatoes and soon to be added Carolina Pulled Pork. You are able to order off our website or check on our Stockist tab, www.liquid-smoke.co.za/Home/Stockist, to see if there is a retailer that is convenient for you. If you have any queries, you can submit them on our contact us and we will get back to as soon as possible.