Liquid smoke is a quick fix to food smoking. It is an ingredient that imparts a similar smoky flavor to foods like meat, fish, vegetables, and poultry without having to smoke the food for hours. Compared to hours of food smoking that requires a smokehouse, fuel, and constant tending, liquid smoke is a convenient option.
However, there are certain downsides to it as well. Liquid smoke is not a healthy ingredient. It contains harmful compounds like PAHs which is carcinogenic. This is why people recommend substituting liquid smoke with naturally healthier ingredients that impart the same flavor without affecting health.
Pro Tip: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. They also are produced when coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, and tobacco are burned. PAHs generated from these sources can bind to or form small particles in the air.
Substitutes for liquid smoke
Here are the five of the most popular substitutes of liquid smoke that can render a delectable smoky flavor to the food. Check them out below:
#1. Smoked paprika
Smoked paprika, also known as Spanish paprika, is the most commonly used replacement for liquid smoke. It is a vibrant red spice made by smoking and drying peppers for weeks over an oak wood fire. This is why it imparts a rich smoky flavor to the food.
#2. Chipotle powder/ Canned chipotle
Chipotle powder is prepared by grinding jalapeno peppers and then smoking it over a fire. It is a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine for the natural smoky flavor it renders to the food. Canned chipotle are peppers preserved in a jar in a sauce that has a smoky flavor. It is often used in marinades for barbecues.
More substitutes for liquid smoke
#3. Smoked salt
This is an aromatic spice derived from smoking regular salt over a wood fire for several weeks. The flavor varies according to the use of wood, such as hickory, oak, applewood, alder, etc. You can simply sprinkle smoked salt on the food or added to the rub to impart the smoky flavor.
Check out our large variety of flavor profiles for wood pairing purposes! See which types of wood pair well with different meats and veggies.
#4. Smoked Tea
Smoked tea is a Chinese black tea prepared by smoking tea. Prefer using pinewood is mostly preferred in this process. The tea lacks bitterness and thus can be boiled in water and used as a brine. You can ground it into a fine powder and use it in a rub to impart a rich smoky flavor.
#5. Dedicated Food smoker
A dedicated food smoker is the best option to get an intense smoky flavor in any type of food be it meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables. It cooks the food entirely in hot smoke to give the most intense smoky flavor that cannot be achieved by any other means. Food smoking is a slow and steady process so a dedicated food smoker can save the day.
Benefits of having a dedicated food smoker
Designed to smoke food consistently, a dedicated food smoker comes with a range of features to cater to all barbeque recipes. Food smokers like the Bradley Smoker is a portable design that is more convenient than preparing a huge smokehouse. The Bradley Smoker also has advanced controls like auto wood feeder, digital settings, and dual heat elements to suit all smoking requirements. The food smoker can perform both hot and cold smoking.
Here are other key advantages of Bradley Smokers that are must-have features of all pro food smokers.
Consistent performance: As the smoker can feed wood from the chamber automatically, it can work constantly for hours without having to be babysat frequently.
User-friendly operation: The Bradley Smoker enables presetting of smoking time and temperature to ensure the desired doneness for every barbeque. Once you set the time and temperature in the digital console, the food smoker performs independently.
Dual heat elements: Due to dual heating elements, the food smoker can perform hot and cold smoking whenever required. It can also simultaneously steam the food once the water pan is filled.
Other benefits of having a dedicated food smoker
Easy cleaning: Removable side panel and racks make it easier to clean after the smoking session.
Bradley Bisquettes: The Bradley Smoker Bisquettes are flavored wood discs that burn for a specific time to produce uniform pure smoke, for a perfect flavor and smoking experience. Bradley Bisquettes are available in 17 distinct flavors, such as oak, alder, apple, cherry, hickory, maple, etc. to suit all types of barbeque foods.
At the end of this article, you will find substitutes for liquid smoke. We suggested some options carefully chosen to allow even beginners to try without worrying about going wrong and ruining the barbequed food. However, for the rich and intense smoky flavor, nothing can beat the results that a pro smoker offers. We hope these simple Bradley tips & tricks on the benefits of a pro smoker have helped to boost some confidence to try out premium quality food smoking at home next summer. For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.