There is no reason you can’t enjoy a smokey flavor with your meat or vegetables, just because you do not have a grill.
Liquid smoke is a great product to keep on hand as just a tiny amount can transform plain and bland food into something smokey and delicious!
There are quite a few ways you can use a bottle of liquid smoke, and as it is usually concentrated, a little goes a long way.
Which is the best liquid smoke brand to use? The best liquid smoke brand would be one that has been made with pure ingredients, and which has a strong smoke flavor. It should be concentrated so that only a small amount is needed for a noticeable smoky flavor.
There are a few different options on the market when it comes to liquid smoke brands, so to help you pick the one that would be best for you, we have gone through how to choose one, and our top picks on the market!
What Is Liquid Smoke?
Understanding what liquid smoke is exactly will help you choose one that is authentic and of good quality.
Liquid smoke, simply put, is smoke-flavored water.
To give water this flavor, a wood of choice, such as hickory or applewood, is slowly smoldered at a certain temperature.
The smoke is then caught and processed into a liquid, which is filtered to remove debris or impurities. Sometimes, this liquid is then aged in barrels to give it a very strong, authentic wood-smoked flavor.
Some types of liquid smoke can contain other ingredients such as vinegar or molasses, which helps add some flavor, but they can also just be left as smoke-flavored water.
How Do You Use Liquid Smoke?
Liquid smoke can be used in a variety of ways, and it also depends on what you are using it for and what you are cooking. You can pretty much add it to any food that you want to have a smokey grilled flavor!
Liquid smoke can be brushed onto meat such as steak and chicken, or it can be added to marinades, basting sauces, baked beans, dips, and even more.
The great thing about liquid smoke is that it is not only reserved for meat — vegetables and other vegan food can be given that outdoor-grilled flavor with a small amount of liquid smoke, too!
How To Choose Your Best Liquid Smoke Brand
There are so many different ways to experiment with liquid smoke in the kitchen, add it to different meals, and use it with different proteins to get an outdoor grill taste without having to leave the house (or get an indoor grill).
But how do you choose the right liquid smoke for you?
To help make the choice a little easier for you, we’ll go through everything you need to consider when choosing a liquid smoke to use, then some of our favorite options on the market at the moment.
Here are some ideas on what to consider and how to choose the best liquid smoke brands for you to use to bring new flavor to your meats and vegetables!
When choosing a liquid smoke, make sure that it is made from pure smoke, and not artificial flavoring. Being made from pure smoke means that you will be given the authentic taste of grilling your food, and nothing other than that.
There is a certain way that liquid smoke is made, and a good brand of liquid smoke will follow this process to ensure it has a strong, concentrated, real flavor.
The liquid smoke should be quite concentrated so that a small amount is all that is needed to give a smokey flavor to your food.
You don’t want it to be so strong that a tiny spoonful is too smokey, but you don’t want to have to use half a bottle each time you need some added smokiness.
Having a concentrated liquid smoke also means that you can control how strong the flavor is, and you do not have to worry about altering a sauce or basting too much with the liquid smoke adding too much extra liquid to the recipe.
Type Of Wood
The type of wood burned to make liquid smoke does determine a lot of the liquid smoke’s flavor. Different types of wood bring a certain flavor of smokiness, so it is worth seeing which wood has been used to make a certain type of liquid smoke.
The most popular wood types used are hickory (which is the most popular), applewood, and mesquite. There are some other options you might come across, but these are the most popular.
Almost all types of liquid smoke are vegan or vegetarian, which means it can be suitable for a wide range of diets. Liquid smoke can be used not only on meat, but it works great to give vegetables that smokey-grilled flavor too!
However, make sure to check that the bottle of liquid smoke you are considering is vegan or vegetarian if that is a requirement you have.
As a little goes a long way with a concentrated liquid smoke, the chances are that you will not need a large bottle for the occasional smokey flavor at home.
If you have never used liquid smoke before and are unsure of the taste, then a smaller bottle is best. However, if you plan on using liquid smoke often or have a big event coming up, then it might be worth purchasing a larger bottle.
Liquid smoke can keep for some time, so you will at least have some stashed away in the cupboard for when it is needed.
Many liquid smoke brands are made with just liquid smoke and no other ingredients, but there are some that contain other additives.
Some of the other ingredients that some liquid smoke brands contain include vinegar, molasses, salt, caramel coloring, and sometimes even added flavoring. This is absolutely fine, but it is something that is up to personal preference.
If you just want the basic smokey flavor, then choose a brand that is made only with water and smoke.
If you want something that adds more than a smokey flavor to your food and acts almost as a marinade, then one which contains other flavors could work well.
Other Dietary Requirements
Most types of liquid smoke are also gluten-free and suitable for a range of dietary requirements. If you have a specific need, then make sure to check that the liquid smoke is suitable for this.
Best Liquid Smoke Brands
Not only are there various liquid smoke brands to choose from, but many have flavors that are made using different types of wood, so there are many options to choose from.
Without further ado, here are our favorite liquid smoke brands on the market at the moment!
|1||Colgin Liq Smoke Hckry||No preservatives or additives, made with hickory, pure smokey flavor|
|2||Lazy Kettle Brand All Natural Liquid Smoke||Pure liquid smoke, used for a variety of cooking methods, highly concentrated|
|3||Wright's All Natural Hickory Seasoning Liquid Smoke||Only ingredients are hickory smoke and water, highly concentrated|
|4||Butcher BBQ Gourmet Liquid Smoke Hickory Flavor||Clean smokey flavor, no added ingredients, award-winning|
|5||Stubb's Liquid Smoke Variety Pack||Two flavors: hickory and mesquite, highly concentrated|
|6||Knorr Professional Ultimate Deep Smoke Liquid||Made from various wood types, can be used at any stage of cooking|
|7||Wright's Liquid Smoke Applewood, Hickory & Mesquite||Three flavors: mesquite, hickory, and applewood; free from additives|
|8||Colgin Liq Smoke Pecan||Pecan wood, natural ingredients, highly concentrated|
|9||The Sausage Maker All Natural Concentrated Liquid||All natural, made with hickory wood, very strong and concentrated|
|10||Figaro Hickory Liquid Smoke Sauce||Large bottle, strong flavor, versatile|
|11||Kiawe Liquid Smoke||Made from Kiawe wood; bold, deep flavor|
1. Colgin Liq Smoke Hckry
Colgin Liquid Smoke is one of the most authentic liquid smokes you could use! It is an all-natural liquid smoke that is free from any additives or preservatives, so you can trust that you are only using pure liquid smoke.
It is gluten-free and free from animal by-products, so it is suitable for a range of diets. The liquid smoke contains some vinegar, molasses, and salt, which helps to add amazing flavor to any food you are cooking.
This liquid smoke can be brushed directly onto chicken, steak, and more, plus it can be added to sauces and baked beans for a punch of smokey flavor. Made with hickory smoke, it adds a medium-smokey flavor.
A little bit of Colgin goes a long way, so this one bottle will last a long time, and you will find more ways to use it in your cooking than you thought was possible!
2. Lazy Kettle Brand All Natural Liquid Smoke
The Lazy Kettle Brand All Natural Liquid Smoke is pure smoke in a bottle, just in liquid form! It is highly concentrated, so you get a big flavor with a tiny amount.
The liquid smoke is free from preservatives, MSG, and has no artificial flavors or colors, and it is gluten-free too, so it is suitable for many different needs, and is as pure as it can get.
Made by burning hickory wood, Lazy Kettle has that authentic smoked flavor and is created as naturally as possible. It is ideal to use for meat, vegetables, casseroles, marinades, sauces, smoking salt, and even seafood.
As it is free from sugar, soy sauce and caramel colors, it is great at only adding a smokey flavor to food, and nothing else, so you can use it however you want.
A teaspoon is all you need to unleash the smokey flavor that the Lazy Kettle Liquid Smoke has, and you get to enjoy the 100% pure smoke in liquid form, with no other added ingredients.
3. Wright’s All Natural Hickory Seasoning Liquid Smoke
Wrights is one of the original liquid smoke brands, which should give you some indication of how great the liquid smoke is, having lasted this long and through so many competitors!
This particular liquid smoke is made with freshly burned hickory chips. It is a pure, concentrated liquid smoke that packs a huge amount of flavor in the smallest quantities, so this large bottle will last forever.
The only ingredients in this liquid smoke are water and natural hickory smoke concentrate — nothing else. This makes it a great ingredient to add to marinades, seasonings, and glazes.
All impurities are removed from the smoking process to ensure that it is pure as possible and that as much of the smoky flavor is condensed into the liquid as possible.
4. Butcher BBQ Gourmet Liquid Smoke Hickory Flavor
The Butcher BBQ Gourmet Liquid Smoke has won numerous awards for its recipe, mostly in BBQ championships. This shows how well-loved this liquid smoke is, and how perfect it is to get that authentic grilled flavor!
A unique distilling process ensures that a pure and clean smoke flavor is extracted from a wood fire, without any bitter aftertaste being left behind.
There is no need for added liquid or molasses, as this liquid smoke has a great enough flavor on its own.
It is gluten-free, low carb, low sodium, and it does not contain any artificial flavors or colors, and no preservatives, so it is as pure and simple as you could hope for.
Use this liquid smoke for all types of meat and vegetables, for stewing, smoking, grilling, seasoning, or even for making a great BBQ sauce!
5. Stubb’s Liquid Smoke Variety Pack
If you cannot decide which type of wood-smoke flavor you would prefer, then the Stubb’s Liquid Smoke Variety Pack is a definite must-try!
This pack includes the Hickory Liquid Smoke and the Mesquite Liquid Smoke, both of which have their own distinctive smokey flavor.
Both are all-natural liquid smoke that can be used for chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, and so much more.
Both are gluten-free and do not contain any additives that could take away from the authentic flavor. They are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way, and you get to enjoy the different flavors that each gives.
You could even get creative and use the liquid smoke in crock-pot recipes, and decide whether hickory or mesquite is your favorite wood-smoked flavor!
6. Knorr Professional Ultimate Deep Smoke Liquid
The Knorr Professional Ultimate Deep Smoke Liquid is made with oak and maplewood smoke, and can be described as smoke captured in a bottle.
It is an ideal choice for those who want to bring gourmet smoking into their kitchen and only use 100% authentic ingredients.
Made with natural sugar smoked over hickory, ash, birch, maple, oak, cherry, and beech hardwoods, the liquid smoke has a rich, smokey taste that is deep and complex, but still simple enough to replicate what you get off of the grill.
It is gluten-free and vegan, so it is ideal for many different diets.
It is a versatile liquid smoke that can be added to your food or meal at any point during the cooking process, so you can really experiment with all the ways you can use it!
7. Wright’s Liquid Smoke Applewood, Hickory & Mesquite
Wright’s has more than one liquid smoke option to choose from, and all are really great! When you cannot pick just one, this set includes Hickory, Mesquite, and Applewood liquid smoke so that all your smoking needs will be met.
You only need a small amount of either three to give your food a very smoky flavor, and you can experiment with all three to find which one works better with a certain type of food or meal.
There are no artificial ingredients added into these liquid smokes. They also contain no salt, fat, or artificial flavors, and they’re vegan, too!
These three bottles will last a long time in your kitchen, and only a small amount is needed for that super smokey flavor. You can adjust how much of the concentrated liquid you add to your food to control how mild or robust the smokey flavor is.
8. Colgin Liquid Smoke All Natural Pecan
Colgin has a few different liquid smoke options on the market, and one of the delicious options is the all-natural pecan.
This all-natural pecan liquid smoke is an excellent option for adding a smokey flavor to meat and vegetables, with the pecan taste that no other wood can give.
The liquid smoke is gluten-free and sodium-free, so it fits into many different diets well. You also only need a small amount to add that intense smokey flavor to your food.
You can easily control how much of the liquid smoke you use, as the pouring mechanism is easy to use and easy to control, and with the bottle being a small size, you will really enjoy using it.
It has all the benefits you could want — it’s easy to use indoors, but gives you a great taste of the outdoors!
9. The Sausage Maker All Natural Concentrated Liquid
The Sausage Maker All Natural Concentrated Liquid is a natural product with no synthetic ingredients in sight.
It is made by burning wet hickory wood, and then concentrating the moisture that is produced through the burning process.
Being so concentrated, you only need one teaspoon of the natural liquid smoke for five pounds of meat, so it will last for a really long time.
To use the liquid smoke, you simply need to mix it with some cold water and then leave your meat to soak before cooking it.
It is so easy to use, and it gives such a strong flavor to your meat and vegetables!
10. Figaro Hickory Liquid Smoke Sauce
The Figaro Hickory Liquid Smoke Sauce has a slow-roasted hickory flavor, which is perfectly suited for hamburgers, ribs, chicken, vegetables and more. You can use it straight on food, or use it to make a BBQ sauce or marinade of your own.
A small amount brings a bold smoked flavor to your food, and it really does taste like the real thing. This one-gallon bottle will be all you need for endless meals that taste grilled, but which are cooked indoors.
Keep some of the Figaro Hickory Liquid Smoke Sauce at home for when you are in a pinch and need an easy way to get that grilled flavor!
11. Kiawe Liquid Smoke
The Kiawe Liquid Smoke is a liquid smoke made in Hawaii. It is Kiawe-flavored, so it is different from many of the other liquid smoke options on the market.
Kiawe is similar to mesquite, but it has a deeper and more intense flavor, meaning that the liquid smoke has a deep, rich smoky flavor too. It gives meat and vegetables a Hawaiian flavor that is unlike any other and tastes amazing.
This pack comes included with special Alaea Sea Salt, so you can create a really authentic flavor with the food you are cooking!
Is mesquite or hickory liquid smoke better?
Mesquite liquid smoke has a very strong flavor, and is best when used for cuts of beef, as this holds onto the flavor well.
Hickory liquid smoke is more medium-flavor smokey, which pairs well with pork and chicken, but can also be used for beef. It is more versatile as it is not as strong as mesquite, but this does depend on what you are using the liquid smoke for.
What can you use in place of liquid smoke?
If you do not have liquid smoke, but want a similar flavor, then you can use paprika or chipotle powder in its place. Smoked paprika would be an even better option to use.