Make Your Own Liquid Smoke (for cooking)

11 October 2013
Melbourne, Australia
Loren W

When cooking BBQ, Stews, Sauces, Dips, etc., liquid smoke is an important ingredient adding a smokiness that is amazing. Hard to find here in Australia, but not impossible. It is actually easy to make as well. If you do find it, Colgin is the best brand and has been made in Texas since 1945. Otherwise, here is an easy way to do it yourself but believe me is not as good as colgin.


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1. Fill your grill with the wood chips of your choice, Note: the type of wood you use will make a big difference in the taste you get. Do not mix the type of wood you use if you plan to do this again as the mix of woods can often not be duplicated. I prefer Mesquite, then Hickory.  It is always best to soak your wood chips for 30 minutes before you cook so they cook more slowly and will no incinerate (leaving you more wood taste for your liquid smoke). Cook your food as you would Note: Do not use any starter fluid or starter chips coated in starter fluid. If the chips have starter fluid on them, they cannot be used when making liquid smoke, because the chemicals from the starter would become part of the end result and would not be safe to eat. After you have cooked.

2. Go through the grill to collect roughly 1 pound of wood chips that did not completely burn up. Sift through it, and try to avoid getting ash mixed in, as it is hard to filter out later and taints the taste.

3. Fill a pillowcase with the wood chips. Note: Use a pillowcase that you do not want to use again because once this process is complete, you will not be able to use it. Rinse the clean pillow case out.

4. Bring a pot of water to a boil. You will need enough water to completely cover the chips.

5. Place the pillowcase of chips in the boiling water, and allow it to boil for at least 30 to 45 minutes. When the water reaches a dark reddish-brown color, you can stop boiling the chips and pillowcase because you’ve obtained sufficient material from the chips. Note: If possible, boil the water outside. You may want to do this step outside because the smell may become overwhelming inside.

6. Let the pot of boiling water stand until everything has cooled down enough to allow you to touch it.

7. Take the pillowcase and chips out of the water. Drain the water out of the pillowcase, and throw away the wood chips.

8. Bring the reddish-brown liquid back to boil until it has reduced down to 1/3 to 1/4 of the original amount. This will concentrate the smoked flavor.

9. Let the liquid cool down, filter through a tea strainer or old type coffee filter and taste.

10. If it tastes bitter, add a small amount of honey or other sweetener to cut down the bitterness.

11. Put it in the bottle of your choice.

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