I fondly remember, as a little girl, sitting with my dad around his Cadac smoker cooker whilst he smoked fresh fish and meat, carefully adding handfuls of fragrant wood chips to the box. It would take most of the day to slowly infuse the fish with the smokey aromas of oak, and when you opened the box a few hours later, you could see the delicate cured colour of the meat starting to show. This was a weekend ritual that took time and patience. My excitement was untamed when I was introduced to a revolutionary new product called liquid smoke.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from Byron Parsons, kindly offering to send me a few of his liquid smoke products to play around with. Being a big fan of smoked foods and flavours, I eagerly accepted his offer, and a few days later, I received a parcel from Smoked Flavours consisting of a bottle of beech and hickory liquid smoke, as well as a smoked sea salt grinder.
Smoked Flavours was established in 2013 by Byron Parsons. Byron, through his own kitchen creations and adventures, soon realised that there is a gap on the South African shelves when it comes to the availability of liquid smoke, a product very often cited in overseas recipes and cook books.
He decided to start distributing it to a few small deli’s and the business has just expanded since.
“One of the main reasons I love this product,” says Byron, “ is that it is all natural. It is literally smoke and water (with a binding agent) so I can rest assured that anyone who uses our Liquid Smoke is getting an all-natural flavour.”
Liquid Smoke is not a new product. It has been used in the US to flavour and preserve food for over 120 years.
In order to ensure the best quality Liquid Smoke, Smoked Flavours sources only the very best liquid from the United States and Europe.
Byron has a treasure trove of recipes on his website, all perfect for the keen amateur cook to dabble in some liquid smoke recipe development. I decided on three dishes: the chorizo and haloumi pasta, lemon, honey and butter steak and these gorgeous crash hot potatoes as a side to the steak.
Chorizo and Haloumi pasta with sun-dried tomatoes
Gosh, I’m simply salivating just looking at the photos of this stunning dish. A few simple ingredients, with the addition of the smokey infusion, and your taste-buds are in absolute heaven. This is a hearty, full dish, packed with punchy flavours and textures.
The new less concentrated formulation of the liquid smoke makes it ideal for home cooking, without running the risk of “spoiling” the food by adding too much. I added the required two teaspoons of beech liquid smoke, and a little bit for luck. I opted for an un-smoked chorizo, so that I could experience the liquid smoke in it’s full range.
The end result was a deliciously more-ish, warming, smokey dish, with just the right amount of flavour for any palate to enjoy. The liquid smoke infusion added a certain depth to the slightly spicy meat and heightened the intense flavour of the sun-dried tomatoes. It also broke through the richness of the pasta without overpowering any of the delicate flavours.
Lemon, honey and butter steak and crash hot potatoes
You had me at classic trinity of lemon, honey and butter. Now add a couple of dashes of hickory liquid smoke, and your steak is elevated to brandnew heights.
The marinade was super easy to make and allowed the liquid smoke to infuse the meat throughout, rather than to just sit on the surface. When I lifted the meat from the marinade into the smoking hot griddle pan, it was tender, soft and incredibly juicy.
The lemon honey butter caramelised in the hot pan, leaving a beautiful crust on the steak. The hickory liquid smoke infused the meat with a robust, moody flavour, perfect for the rib-eyes I selected.
And then the crash hot potatoes (you can get the recipe here!). Wow. It doesn’t get easier or more delicious than this! Boiled baby potatoes, gently crushed with a fork. Brush with olive oil and beech liquid smoke, season to taste and top with roughly chopped rosemary and thyme. Bake in the oven at a high heat.
I couldn’t get enough of these little crispy pockets of pleasure. The combination of the creaminess of the potatoes and the smokey aftertaste of the beech-wood harmoniously resulted in an umami-like eating experience.
And if that’s not enough…
Liquid Smoke is so incredibly versatile. Just in a couple of nights I used the infusions in pasta, meat and vegetables. I can’t wait to bring out the chops for summer, or combine the liquid smoke with a beautiful pork dish.
And if that’s not enough – liquid smoke is Kosher, vegetarian/vegan and banting friendly. It’s incredibly easy to use and doesn’t require any fancy tools or equipment.
I haven’t even touched on the smoked sea salt – the hickory smoked salt is meant to be used as a finishing salt. We added a dash of the smoked sea salt to the potatoes and steak before serving and it was simply beautiful. I’ve since used the salt on a variety of other dishes, too, including fresh bread and olive oil (yes – add a quick grind of salt!), roasted vegetables, whole roasted chicken and grilled fish.
Smoked Flavours also sells smoked olive oil – check out their shop here!
Liquid smoke brought back my childhood memories in every dish. I think my dad would’ve found these liquid smoke products incredibly fascinating, and I know he would’ve come up with some mean recipes for smoked meats. I’ve added my bottles of liquid smoke to my spice rack, where they proudly stand tall between my all-time favourite food additions, exactly in arm’s reach from my stove top. I’m most certainly going to have fun this summer experimenting with different smoked infusions, because let’s face it – I can use those hours saved sitting next to the smoker cooker to lounge next to the pool instead; smokey pulled pork sandwich in hand!
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: This product formed part of a press-drop. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.