The One Ingredient You Need For Lip-Smacking Barbecue Flavour — All Year Long

Liquid smoke lets you make smoky dishes without an open flame.

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Miso-maple tofu skewers

I stopped eating meat more than four years ago, which means some of my favourite dishes (like ribs and ham) are now off the table. While I absolutely love my plant-based diet, I still crave meat. To satisfy those cravings, I have to get creative with my ingredients. So lately I’ve been turning to liquid smoke.

What is liquid smoke?

Liquid smoke is literally smoke that has been condensed into a liquid form. As a result, you get this intense, all-natural smoky flavour without an open flame (or smoking something for hours on end). It’s more common than you think — some of your pantry staples, like barbecue sauce, probably contain it. It’s often found in many vegetarian or vegan meat alternatives, such as tempeh, tofu and mock meats, too.

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Where should I buy liquid smoke?

You can find it in the sauce aisle in most major grocery stores. For a pure, smoky flavour look for one with just two ingredients: water and smoke concentrate. However, I love Stubb’s Hickory Liquid Smoke — which contains tamari and vinegar — for a less concentrated flavour.

How to cook with liquid smoke

A little goes a long way — just a couple of drops will do for most recipes. And this ingredient isn’t just for vegans. Add some to your favourite soups, stews and slow-cooker dishes for extra oomph.

Liquid smoke has taken my vegan breakfast game to a whole new level. It’s a must for vegan bacon, which I then put in breakfast burritos, Caesar salad and sandwiches. I’ve even started using it for a surprise twist in my popcorn party mix, which contains a savoury blend of popcorn, pretzels, shreddies, vegan bacon bits and faux-cheese crackers.

Next time you’re looking to add barbecued-inspired charm to a dish, reach for the liquid smoke. You’ll have everyone guessing how you did it without fire.