5 ways to add smoke flavour to your favourite dishes
Smoking gets a bad rap, unless you are talking about delicious smoke-flavoured foods. Smoking food has deep roots in culinary practices. Originally used as a way to preserve meat, modern food handling makes smoking meat less of a necessity. Today, it is all about the pursuit of complex flavours. Here are five ways to add smoky flavour to your meals.
Liquid smoke is just what it sounds like – smoke captured in a liquid form. You don’t need a lot, typically a half teaspoon will add just enough flavour to your dish. Liquid smoke can be used to give a barbequed flavour. Use it on meats and vegetables as a marinade or brushing it on. Blend it into sauces or even add it to cocktails!
Lapsang Souchong (smoky tea)
This tea from China is a great alternative to liquid smoke. It offers the benefits of tea and you can use it in two different ways. Brew it extra strong and add to marinades and sauces to infuse a smoky flavour. Alternatively, include the dried tea as a rub on meat and fish. Add red pepper flakes and chili powder for a smoke and spice effect.
Salmon is not the only food that can be cooked on a cedar plank. Beef, chicken, pork, vegetables and fruits can all be done on a wood plank. Found in grocery stores and barbeque stores, planks come in a variety of sizes and flavours. They should be soaked for approximately 15 minutes prior to use. They can be used on the barbeque or in the oven. Simply preheat the grill or oven, place the plank directly on the rack. Once they start smoking add the food you wish to smoke.
Wood chips are another great way to add a smoky flavour. Soak them for about 30 minutes in water then drain. Place the chips in a dedicated metal smoke box found at barbeque stores or make your own by wrapping them in foil. Pierce the foil with a fork to allow the smoke to escape. Smoke food indirectly by placing the box or foil pack of wood chips on the grill next to where the food will cook. Wait until the wood chips start smoking before adding food.
Wood chips are available in a large variety of wood types. Choose from alder, applewood, cherry, peach, orange, pecan, oak, hickory, mesquite, maple, olive, lemon and much more. There are some woods that are not suitable for smoking and it is best to do some research to make sure the wood doesn’t contain resins or oils that can leave residue on the foods.
If you are looking for a set-it-and-forget-it solution, an indoor smoker may be the way to go. These electric appliances are smaller than outdoor smokers and are made to easily fit on a countertop. There are a few different styles of smokers for use with or without a stovetop. Conventional smokers are self-contained units but you may prefer the point and shoot features of the Breville Smoking Gun. Whichever style you choose they should be easy to clean and safe to use in your cooking environment. It is recommended to first try the smoker in an outdoor environment to test the amount of smoke released.
With nicer weather coming soon, embrace the season and try smoking meats, vegetables, fruits and cheeses to change up the recipes and add a barbeque flavour. With all the options of wood types and flavours, the possibilities are endless!
For more information about adding smoke to your food, click on these links:
- Time to Add a Bit of Smoke to Your Favorite Cuts of Meat by Duncan Holmes
- Add a little smoke to your chicken by Tom DeLarzac
- Incense in your cocktails? Holy stick! by Christine Sismondo