Liquid Smoke: Cheat or Style?

I want to start by saying that I feel like I am a purist, when I BBQ, I use real wood on my Primo XL Grill and I cook low and slow. When I grill on my gas grills, I use all natural ingredients and never use the smoker box. I am fortunate though, I have a big backyard, a deck, a Weber Kettle, two Weber Summit Gas Grills, and two Weber Smokey Joes. For those people that live in big cities without a deck or outdoor cooking space, the indoor Cameron Stovetop Smoker and the crock pot or broiler are all they have! So is using a BBQ method other than a grill or smoker cheating? I would think not.

A friend of mine opened my eyes to the magic of liquid smoke and although I prefer using a grill, I thought that this information could be useful to those people out there who may not know that liquid smoke is one of the best kept secrets out there. My good friend Jill one time told me that she made incredible pulled pork in her crock pot and I of course thought it would be a cheating in the highest form! I recently smoked pork butts for 16 hours and they were fantastic, how can a crock pot replicate that?

Thank you Heff for sending me this post called The Secret of Liquid Smoke that explains the science of liquid smoke and has a recipe for what they call “Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork“. ¬†After reading the comments and the reviews on the article, it has opened my mind to the fact that BBQ is what you make it, and whether that is in your oven broiler, steamer or crock pot, you stick with it. Here are some of the Q&A from the article on Liquid Smoke, you can file this under “Bet you didn’t know…”

You can be forgiven for wrongfully accusing liquid smoke of nefarious fakey toxic chemicalness. Even chemists have been confused on this one. Back in June, Slashfood interviewed NYU chemistry professorKent Kirshenbaum, who–like you, me, Lynne Rossetto Kasper and everyone we know–had believed the worst about this cheap, sketchy sounding liquid.

Unlike the rest of us, however, Kirshenbaum actually went out and studied liquid smoke. He found that, despite its synthetic 1950′s aura, the stuff is perfectly natural.

What is liquid smoke?
Liquid smoke is very simply smoke in water. Smoke usually comes as a vapor, but there are ways to condense it and turn it into liquid and that liquid can then be carried in water.

How is it different from regular smoke?
Regular smoke is a vapor, and it is difficult to store.

Is one healthier than the other?
It seems that the liquid smoke can be substantially healthier because there are carcinogenic compounds that can be removed. A lot of the carcinogenic compounds [found in direct smoke from charcoal or wood] do not dissolve. But by dissolving the compounds into water, they can be removed.

So, it’s like a water bong?
Correct.

So let me know what your “unorthodox” BBQ secrets are and how they worked. My first taste of “sublime” babybacks came from Jackie Shodo, a wonderful woman who used to stay with us when my parents went out of town. She made some fall off the bone ribs using maple syrup, brown sugar and the oven, so who am I to judge?

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