Have you ever seen an experienced pit master at work? It’s like watching a parent tenderly caring for their newborn. They wait, they watch, they smell, they sense… they are on full alert to make sure nothing disturbs their baby (“baby” meaning their bundle of brisket, beef, pork, or turkey joy). All the effort, patience, attention, and, yes, love, involved in smoking meat infuses the end product with an authentic – and absolutely mouthwatering – flavor. Plus your taste buds will be doing a dance of joy for hours in anticipation! It’s not easy, and it’s not fast. But it is well worth it.
Why not cut some corners and use liquid smoke flavor? You’ll get a smoky taste without all the fuss and muss… Won’t you?
Smoking Meat: A Labor of Love
You don’t hurry the process of smoking meat. You’re in it for the long haul, and you’ve got your hickory, applewood, maple, cherry, or oak chips ready. Smoking is all about low levels of indirect heat – and lots of hours.
Hot smoking is a method of cooking the food at the same time it’s being flavored with smoke. This is done at a temperature of 150℉ or a bit higher. These are fall-off-the-bone and melt-in-your-mouth temps. Cold smoking is a different story: the goal isn’t to cook the meat but to impart the flavor and seal it in. Sausages are often cold smoked; you’ll need to cook them through, but you’ll get that amazing taste.
The smoking method of preserving meat has been around for centuries… in fact, for millennia. It is one of the oldest, and best, ways to keep all that great protein safe and ready for use. Smoking dehydrates the meat and creates an acidic coating that prevents bacteria from growing. It also imparts that incomparable flavor. Today, we smoke meat mainly as a way to enhance the taste, rather than preserve it. And really… Do you really think you’ll have any leftovers to preserve?!
Does Liquid Smoke Flavor Compare?
What is liquid smoke? It’s smoke that is condensed into a liquid form. But why? Well, if you don’t have a day to devote to smoking meat, some folks think this will give them the flavor they’re looking for.
Liquid smoke got its start back in 1895. Pharmacist Ernest H. Wright realized that smoke condenses when exposed to cold air. He burned hickory wood and ran the smoke through a condenser, collecting the droplets. Wright used this primarily as a preservative (turns out flies like pork bellies and ham too), but the flavor was a nice bonus.
In the late 1960s, the FDA approved liquid smoke, and in the ‘70s, this stuff popped up everywhere. It was on your grocery store shelves and in your barbeque sauce, ketchup, and bacon. The quality wasn’t really comparable to that developed by Wright, and today, it still varies from brand to brand.
For many people, liquid smoke is a quick, easy, cheap way to add some flavor to meats and even other dishes ( For barbeque purists and those to whom smoking meat is just about a religion, it is an abomination.
Think of it like this: a diamond takes millions of years to form. A piece of glass is manufactured in a minute. Smoking meat is, of course, the diamond! It doesn’t take millions of years; it just seems that way because the aroma will drive you crazy! While you may get some hints in liquid smoke, you’re not getting the full depth of flavor you will with the slow smoking technique.
Accept No Imitations!
Sweetwood Smokehouse slow smokes its all-natural meat snacks in small batches with real American hickory wood. We use premium ingredients, and we don’t take shortcuts. No liquid smoke, artificial flavors, or junk sweeteners here!