Liquid Smoke for BBQ sauce

Joined Jul 24, 2001
Nick asked me if you have heard about a liquid that suppose to be added in BBQ sauce in order to give a smoky taste to the sauce.
Does such a thing exist?
Is it safe for health?

Joined Jul 31, 2000

It does excist, and it is very powerful!!!

A tiny bit goes a long way.

Personally, I am not a fan, but millions of others are
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Your welcome, Athenaues.

But, just because i'm not a fan doesn't mean you and Nick should not give it a try. You may enjoy it..although I find it way overpowering and "fake" in it's flavor
Joined Nov 29, 2001
To create a smoky flavor in BBQ sauce, some people use chipotle peppers (but they also have heat). Some people use bacon or smoked meat. Vegetarians who like smoky flavor, perhaps without the heat, would use Liquid Smoke in place of whatever smoky flavor a smoked meat would impart. It's not bad stuff, just a short cut.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Liquid smoke is safe. And it is made from real smoke. It does taste different than the real thing and is very powerful. It can be better than nothing, but the real thing is better still. You can also find products like "smoked salt", usually just salt with a dried version of liquid smoke and some cocoa for color.

www.spicesetc sells a variety of smoke powders if you can't find liquid smoke in your area. Mesquite is popular in the southwestern styles and hickory is the classic smoke flavor.

Joined May 3, 2002
Hi just a note.
I have used liquid smoke and it is real strong. In an american hotel chain in europe they secretly brought it in as I was told it is illegal in europe. I have no idea if this is true or not.
Anyone else know more on that?


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I am not a big fan of liquid smoke, but do, on occasion use it. It helps with that BBQ craving in the middle of winter and the grill is buried under 4 feet of snow. It is usually an ingredient in bottled BBQ sauces. Though I like my BBQ sauce to have a slightly smoky taste, I usually accomplish this by smoking my veggies.
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Pete, Pete, Pete, I'm kind of surprised at you! You live in snow country so a trip out to the grill in the dead of winter should be second nature to you. What's 4' of snow compared to the scent of the BBQ on a cold winter day. The warmth of a good BBQ comingling with the scent of pine from the fireplace. Shovel a path out there and keep the grill available. It truly is a treat and worth the little extra effort. And when you're done grilling, I'll be inside waiting for you:D :bounce:
Joined Mar 12, 2001
Just a little thought: for vegetarians or people who don't like liquid smoke, you could try using spanish smoked paprika in BBQ sauce.
It's gorgeous and tastes a little like smoked bacon.
Joined Dec 8, 1999
A note for vegetarians: the last I heard, liquid smoke was made from resins obtained from the vents of smokehouses that had been smoking meat. Maybe true, maybe not. I suggest delving into the production method of this product before using it as a "vegetarian" product.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
A long time ago, 25 years or more, I read the label on a bottle of liquid smoke: DISTILLED WOOD.

ALWAYS read the label even though it could be lying!
Joined May 26, 2001
Dug into the back of my cabinet and pulled out:

Wright's Hickory LIQUID SMOKE: "A table flavoring, like salt & pepper. No additives. A natural product manufactured by condensing pure smoke from the burning of green hickory trees" Ingredients: Water, Natural Liquid Smoke

Sqeet Mesquite Smoke Wood Smoked Flavor: Ingredients: Water, natural mesquite smoke.

Both of these are so old, there are neither 800- numbers nor websites listed for more information! But they're still potent.

I think PollyG's suggestion is great. Also, adding chipotles to your sauce. I'm not a big fan of "flavorings" like liquid smoke, even if it IS "natural;" that's why mine are soooooooooo old. But some of us are not able to even grill, let alone barbecue/smoke, so we do what we can. :( And don't get me started on the lack of local 'cue joints! :cry: :cry:
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Are you saying that shish kebob is no substitute for good ol' American BBQ?!?!? Folks, we Americans have developed a dish that even foreigners long for. Nothing beats American BBQ! It's the only dish that well accompanies Weber's bread.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Liquid smoke is a seasoning . I love to use a small amount of this product when doing large parties at a BBQ . Moderation is the key to good flavor and success . Infusion of flavors is what being a chef is all about . This stuff is strong but I feel it has a place .
Ive never had a complaint and more thats good BBQs so I can say . Remember to cook to tatse . Course this is just my opinion .
Joined Aug 4, 2000
I agree with Doug. Like rosemary, liquid smoke must be used sparingly for it can overpower all the other flavors in the dish.
Joined May 29, 2002
Harold McGee (The Curious Cook) mentions that liquid smoke "is a potent damager of DNA".............:confused:
Joined May 1, 2001
As it stands, that's a rather meaningless statement. If it were carcinogenic or teratogenic (casuing birth defects) it wouldn't be on the market.

Remember that Coca Cola will also damage DNA, if you immerse the DNA in the Coca Cola.
Joined May 29, 2002
Daveb, are ALL foodfstuff in the U.S.A. tested for carcinogins? I would otherwise be dubious to trust that "if it is being sold, it has to be safe"?
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