Traditional recipes

Mixed Grill With Cherry Cola Barbecue Sauce

Mixed Grill With Cherry Cola Barbecue Sauce


Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika or hot smoked spanish paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mixed Grill

  • 1 13x9x2-inch disposable aluminum pan (to catch drips)
  • 4 to 4 1/2 pounds baby back pork ribs, cut into 4 slabs
  • 2 cups wood chips (cherry, alder, apple, or hickory), soaked in water 1 hour
  • 4 6x3 1/4x2-inch disposable mini loaf pans (for wood chips if using gas grill) Vegetable oil (for brushing)
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, pounded with mallet to 3/4-inch thickness
  • 8 fully cooked smoked sausages (such as chicken-apple), pierced in several places with fork

Recipe Preparation

For Spice Rub

  • Mix all ingredients in small bowl to blend. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight container at cool room temperature.

For Mixed Grill

  • Remove top rack from grill. Place foil drip pan in center of bottom rack: fill halfway with water (if using 2-burner gas grill, place drip pan on 1 unlit burner).

Prepare Barbecue (Medium Heat)

  • Sprinkle ribs with salt and 3 tablespoons spice rub. If using charcoal grill, light briquettes in chimney and pour half onto rack on each side of drip pan (you'll need to light more briquettes in chimney to replenish 1 or more times during grilling). If using 3-burner gas grill, light burners on left and right, leaving center burner off. If using 2-burner gas grill, light burner on side opposite drip pan.

  • Drain wood chips. If using gas grill, stack 2 mini loaf pans and fill with 1 cup drained wood chips. Stack remaining 2 mini pans and fill with 1 cup drained wood chips. Place pans on flame. If using charcoal, scatter 2 cups drained chips over coals. Brush top grill rack with oil, return to barbecue.

  • Place ribs on grill rack over drip pan. Cover barbecue; grill until meat is coming away from bones, turning and repositioning every 30 minutes and adding more wood chips to pans as needed, about 1 1/2 hours. Maintain barbecue temperature at 350°F, opening vents wider for more heat or partially closing for less heat. Transfer ribs to rimmed baking sheet; cool. DO AHEAD Ribs can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Remove drip pan from barbecue. Lightly brush grill racks with oil.

Prepare Barbecue (Medium Heat)

  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and remaining spice rub. Place chicken, sausages, and ribs on grill racks; cover and grill 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush ribs with 1 cup cherry cola sauce; cover and grill until chicken is cooked through and ribs are glazed, turning frequently, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer sausages to platter; transfer ribs and chicken to cutting board. Cut pork between bone; cut chicken crosswise into 3/4 -inch-wide strips. Transfer to platter with sausages. Serve with remaining cherry cola sauce.

What to drink

  • Surprisingly, an off-dry Riesling is excellent with the sweet and spicy flavors in this menu. We like the 2006 Riesling ($14) from Koehler Winery in California's Santa Ynez Valley. Its citrus and green apple flavors are a nice foil for the smoky chiles here. For a more classic pairing, go for beer: Try a hoppy, malty IPA (India Pale Ale), like Norther Califonia's Lagunitas IPA ($9 for a six-pack).

Reviews Section

Coca Cola BBQ Ribs

This is the ONLY rib recipe you will ever need. These Coca Cola BBQ Ribs are sticky and sweet. Absolute perfection in my book!

Grilled ribs and baked beans send up sparks on the Fourth

Like all holidays thus far in 2020, this Fourth of July will be different. Local fireworks displays might be canceled, but we can celebrate American optimism, good friends and better times ahead in the open air in small groups. Naturally, I’m thinking celebration food. Of course, the grills must be lit!

For six to 10 guests, cut-up chicken pieces prove economical and relatively quick to grill, usually less than 30 minutes. Chicken also is my choice when I’m transporting the grilled food to a picnic site or friend’s house. It tastes great at room temperature, especially when slathered with barbecue sauce.

For holiday indulgence with two to six guests on my own patio, I pull out all the stops and grill a couple of slabs of pork ribs coated in a spicy herb mixture. I pass small bowls of warmed barbecue sauce for dunking. To accompany our Fourth of July ribs, we’ll feast on homemade baked beans, warm and crusty cornbread, creamy coleslaw, and a fresh green bean salad. For dessert, lemon popsicles. No last-minute fussing required.

My No. 1 tip: Always, always season ribs (or chicken pieces) well in advance of grilling. I like to generously apply salt and pepper or a grill rub one or two days ahead, then let everything develop flavor in the refrigerator.

The herby rib rub recipe that follows is my riff on a blend from Dai Due Butcher Shop in Austin, Texas. I bought a jar of the rub after enjoying an inspiring midday feast full of Texas goodness. The herbaceous mixture is so good, and just a touch sweet, that we enjoy the ribs without a barbecue sauce glaze. Instead, I set out a bowl of my favorite barbecue sauce (warmed slightly) for diners to drizzle on the ribs as they like.

The rub proves excellent with grilled chicken and pork chops. For meatless meals, rub thick slabs of eggplant or portobella mushroom caps with oil then sprinkle with the rub before grilling.

Baby back pork ribs, cut from the loin, while naturally tender, require about 1 ¼ hours of indirect cooking on a moderately hot (325 degrees) gas or charcoal grill. Cook the ribs in whole slabs, or, for portion control and ease of grilling, cut the slabs into halves or thirds. I serve half a slab of ribs to hearty eaters, one-third works when there are plenty of other side dishes.

Pork spareribs, from below the loin near the belly, have less meat than back ribs, but offer great flavor for less money. Before cooking, use a sharp paring knife to carefully remove the tough membrane that covers the underside of the rack of ribs. Then, cut the slabs in half and place in simmering salted water to cover over very low heat (do not allow the water to boil vigorously) for 20 minutes. Drain the ribs, pat dry and season with salt and pepper or a rib rub. Refrigerate up to two days. Grill the ribs over indirect heat until fork tender, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

A gift of sliced black pepper bacon from New Braunfels Smokehouse in Texas influences this summer’s baked beans. First, the bacon yielded a delicious breakfast treat of crispy rashers. Then, I added the rendered bacon fat to a pot of simmering white beans — spice and flavor that pair perfectly with some brown sugar and barbecue sauce. The beans can be made several days ahead and reheated. Serve them with a ladle into individual bowls.

Skillet cornbread looks fantastic served straight from the pan. Add cheese, green onions, corn kernels as desired. Be sure to serve it with plenty of softened butter. It’s a holiday after all.

How to Make BBQ Pulled Pork

The beauty of this Crockpot bbq pulled pork recipe is that the slow cooker does all the work for you!

  1. Spray slow cooker insert with non-stick spray. Place pork in slow cooker.
  2. Add rest of ingredients to slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, or until the pork is very tender.
  4. Remove pork to a cutting board and shred. Drain slow cooker of any liquid if there is any.
  5. Return pork to slow cooker and stir in barbecue sauce until evenly coated, adding more or less as desired.


Some pitmasters go to the grave protecting their signature spice rub recipes. I’m not that kind of person. I’m all about the love and want to share this complete deliciousness with all of you! I seriously love making my own rubs and spice mixtures for the grill and this sweet BBQ rub for grilled pork and chicken is my all time go-to favorite.

This sweet rub is good on everything, I swear. (And believe me, I’ve tried it on just about everything!) From pork ribs to simple grilled chicken breasts, this sweet rub will enhance whatever you sprinkle it on.

Crockpot Coca Cola Roast Beef

This roast beef made with good ole Coca-Cola, came about thanks to the great folks behind the Deep South Dish Facebook family who have given me encouragement to maybe step outside of the oven a bit and make use of this handy appliance. While I do have a scattered few slow cooker recipes up here, I have just never been a big user of one.

I put up a request for favorite crockpot recipes over on the Fan Page, bought myself a newer, slightly larger crockpot, blew the dust off of some old slow cooker cookbooks, and started getting some ideas. The first thing I made was a Carolina style barbecue pork that turned out fantastic - a South Carolina mustard sauce type of Carolina barbecue I am told. I must some day soon venture into those others versions as well don't you know - Eastern Carolina and Piedmont style Carolina sauce specifically - but at least I have a good pork recipe to use with them!

Next on the crockpot ventures was bound to be a roast. I happened upon a sale eye of round on my last trip to the market and it's the same kind of roast I use for my roast beef po'boys - one of the posts that generated this whole crockpot conversation to begin with. I figured it would be a fitting roast for the resuscitation of Slow Cooker Cooking in my home.

Cooking with all forms of soft drinks, and most especially coke, is definitely a popular southern thing - Coca Cola is an Atlanta based product after all - and cola products in general make their way into a lot of southern cooking and definitely on ham. What better way to have a roast? Feel free to substitute root beer or Dr Pepper also. Both make an equally delicious roast.

Though you can use any kind of roast with this, with the eye of round, the roast was not only flavorful, but tender and sliceable, without being chilled. Because I used a leaner roast this time, the pan drippings had virtually no fat, and made a great, spicy, sweet gravy The Cajun gave a big thumbs up.

By the way, you can use this same method on chicken, and it also makes a beautiful and tasty pork roast. Just substitute a similar sized pork loin and be careful not to take it too long, or else you'll end up with pulled pork. Somewhere between 2 to 4 hours, depending on your size roast, is usually all it will take.

Coca Cola Pork Roast
Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Coca Cola Roast Beef with Gravy

  • 1 (3- 4 pound ) beef roast (I used eye of round)
  • 1 envelope of onion soup mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme , crushed
  • 2 cans of Coca Cola Classic
  • 1/4 cup self rising or all purpose flour and water to make a slurry for thickening

Add roast to crockpot, sprinkle with onion soup mix and thyme pour coke all around. Cover and cook on LOW for about 7 or 8 hours. Remove, and let stand before slicing.

While roast is resting, carefully transfer the hot pan drippings to a skillet. If you're using a higher fat content roast, you'll probably want to use a fat separator to skim off some of the fat first. Make a slurry by combing 1/4 cup of flour with just enough water to dissolve it. Mix the slurry completely so that there are no lumps. Whisk into the pan drippings and transfer to a hot burner, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, whisking regularly.

Slice the meat and place on a platter drizzle gravy on top of the meat and put the remaining gravy in a gravy boat for the table.

Cook's Notes: Add a can of cream of mushroom soup for a creamy gravy.

Variation: Stud the roast all over with slivers of raw garlic, if desired. Simply cut small slits into the roast in multiple spots, slipping a sliver of garlic into each. This roast is equally good with Dr Pepper or root beer. Can also use a similar sized pork loin, shoulder or butt and mixed, bone-in chicken. Substitute a 12-ounce bottle of chili sauce (like Heinz) for one of the cans of Coke.

Homemade Substitute for Onion Soup Mix: Use 1-1/2 tablespoons of dried onion flakes, 1/2 tablespoon of beef base (like Better than Bouillon) or 1 tablespoon of granular beef bouillon, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/8 teaspoon of some type of seasoned salt (like Lawry's).

For the Oven: Prepare as above in a baking or roasting pan, wrapping pan tightly with several layers of foil. For a 3 to 4 pound roast, bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven for about 3-1/2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F for rare, 160 degrees F for medium or 170 degrees F for well done.

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Cherry Dr Pepper Pulled Pork for Game Day

In this special football newsletter recipe I will show you how to make my cherry Dr Pepper injected pulled pork in all of it's complete and utter, fall-apart deliciousness.

  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Cook Time: 14 hours*
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 205°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory + Cherry (50/50 mix)

*In a time crunch and need to get this done in a hurry? Check out my 5 hour pork butt instructions

  • (1+) 6-8 lb. Pork Butt(s) (Boston Butt)
  • (2) 12 oz. cans of Cherry Dr Pepper (1.5 cans per butt*)
  • Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)
  • (1) 9×13 Disposable cake pan (about 2 inches deep)

*I used about 9-12 ounces as an injection then I used about 1/2 can in each pan per my instructions below.

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

I highly recommend using the pork butt instead of the picnic when making pulled pork. The picnic will work fine but it does have a thick skin that needs to be removed and in my opinion it is not as flavorful as the butt.

The butts are usually called a “Boston butt” and range anywhere between 6-8 lbs and may have a fat cap on the top side.

I have seen these lately being sold as 3 and 4 pounders as well but upon closer inspection you will notice that they are actually just halves.

Tip: The pork butt normally shrinks by 40% during cooking which is great information if you are calculating how much meat to cook. i.e. an 8 lb. butt will yield just under 5 lbs of meat.

I decided to inject my pork butts this time which is something I rarely do. My original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) is amazing and adds a lot of flavor to the meat. Injecting with the cherry Dr Pepper adds flavor to the inside of the pork butt and increases the juiciness of the finished product.

I put an ounce or so of cherry Dr Pepper about every 2 inches across the top of the butt. There are various methods for injecting meat but I usually go in at a 45 degree angle and once I push the needle in.. I back up about 1/2 inch before pushing in the plunger.. seems to work well for me. It is ok if some of the fluid runs out the top of the hole you made.

After creating this recipe several years ago, I found the Cajun Bayou injector and I've never looked back. The needles are larger than most others allowing for larger ingredients if you so desire.

I normally use yellow mustard or some olive oil to help the rub to stick but in staying with the theme, I used more cherry Dr Pepper to simply wet the outside of the meat and help the rub to stick better.

Once I moistened the outside of the meat, I poured about 1/2 cup of Jeff’s original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on top and proceeded to massage it into the meat. As the rub mixed with the beautiful deep red color of the soda, it turned into a paste and made the pork butt look good enough to eat right then and there. I added more rub for the sides and bottom of the pork until it was well coated on all sides.

Leave the pork butt(s) on the counter to warm up a little and go get the smoker ready to go. If this takes you more than about 25-30 minutes then you might want to do this before prepping the meat so it does not sit out too long.

I highly recommend setting the smoker up for cooking at about 225-240°F. I tend to keep mine at about 225°F or so most of the time. This does take a little more time but then my rub does not burn so it’s worth it to me.

If you have a water pan, be sure to use it. It does seem to help keep the air more moist and while I don’t subscribe to the idea that the moisture actually gets into the meat, I do think that moist air has less of a drying effect than completely dry air so it does help.

If you like you can add some juice, more Dr Pepper or even an onion or garlic bulb to the water pan if you’re feeling it.. I threw in an onion and garlic bulb for good measure-)

Once the smoker is setup and ready to go, place the pork butt directly on the grate and let it smoke away for a while. If your pork butt has a fat cap like mine did, place it fat side down.

What Type of Wood for Pork Butt? : I use heavier flavors for the larger cuts such as mesquite, hickory or pecan. In this session, I used a 50/50 mix of Hickory and Cherry to stay with our “cherry” theme a little bit.

If you are using a charcoal, electric or gas smoker, keep the smoke going by replacing the chips/chunks as needed for at least 4-6 hours.

Be sure to insert a digital probe meat thermometer either in the beginning or sometime in the first 4-5 hours so you can monitor the internal temperature.

Note: you can also use a thermapen to check the temperature once the pork butt gets close to being done. The new Mk4 reads in about 3 seconds or less and I always keep mine close by anytime I am cooking.

Once the pork butt reaches about 160°F, you may opt to place it in a pan and/or wrap it in foil to finish it off. At this point the butt has been exposed to plenty of smoke and some time in the foil will not only super tenderize it, it will help it to get done a little faster in some cases. You can always just leave it on the grate until it’s done if you wish.. your call.

Here’s one of my pork butts.. at 3 hours in.

At around 6 hours, I checked and they had reached 160 degrees so I placed them in a foil pan, added some cherry Dr Pepper to the bottom and covered the top with foil before placing them back into the smoker to finish.

Let the pork butts cook until they reach at least 200°F with about 205°F being about perfect. At this point they are very tender and will practically fall apart with very little effort.

Here is one of the butts once it reached 205°F. As you can see the pan is full of liquid which is part cherry Dr Pepper and mostly rendered fat and juices from the meat. The juice will be saved and used later.

Beautiful smoke ring and it is absolutely delicious.. albeit very hot!

If you follow my cooking instructions and let it cook to an internal temperature of 205°F, this process will be very easy. After letting it rest on the counter for an hour or two, I usually pull the bone out (unless, of course, it's boneless) then start pulling the meat into large pieces and discard any fat that I find.

I then stir the meat around in a bowl and it just sort of falls apart. If you have any trouble with this, just use 2 forks and pull the meat in opposite directions to shred it.

As I stir it around, I am still looking for any pieces of fat that can be removed. I do not like clumps of fat in the meat so I am very careful to remove as much as possible. This is a little tedious but I think it is worth it.

Add more of my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) if it needs it. I usually add several tablespoons more and stir it around to coat. Do a taste test to make sure you added enough.

The pulled pork is now finished and can be used in special game day appetizers or whatever way you wish.

Coca Cola Brisket

  • Quick Glance
  • (18)
  • 15 M
  • 3 H, 25 M
  • Serves 8 to 12

Special Equipment: Faith and a slow cooker

Ingredients US Metric

  • 4 to 6 pounds beef brisket, visible fat untrimmed
  • One (12-ounce) can Coca Cola*
  • 1 envelope dried onion soup mix (yes, seriously)
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce, such as Heinz (may substitute ketchup or as as reader Ryan suggests: ketchup mixed with hot sauce)


To make the Coca Cola Brisket in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

To make the Coca Cola Brisket on the stovetop, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).

Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Place the brisket in a nonreactive roasting pan or a glass baking dish just large enough to snugly fit the brisket.

Mix the Coke, chili sauce, and dried onion soup mix in a bowl and pour it over the brisket. Cover the baking dish or roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the brisket until tender, about 30 minutes per pound (so figure 2 to 3 hours total, depending on the size of your brisket).

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the surface of the pan juices and discard. Pour the defatted pan juices into a gravy boat or, if a thicker consistency is desired, pour the juices into a saucepan and simmer until reduced slightly.

Trim any visible fat from the brisket, then thinly slice it against the grain. Pile the slices of brisket on a platter and pass the warm pan juices on the side.

Slow Cooker Variation

This four-ingredient braised brisket recipe just got even simpler. Place the brisket in the slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the brisket. Cook on low for 9 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board to rest. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. If a thicker sauce is desired, pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to the desired consistency. Slice or shred the brisket and serve with the sauce.

[Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Until I bought the ingredients for this Coca Cola brisket recipe, I'd never bought a packet of onion soup mix in my entire life. This recipe seemed so improbable. It's one of those things I just never would have made if it hadn’t been sent to me to test. But there it was, and it seemed like it would be easy, if nothing else. I was really surprised that this turned out to be a solid brisket recipe. In the finished dish, I could not discern the Coke, the chili sauce, or the soup mix. Thank goodness. I ended up with a tender brisket in a mysterious, savory sauce. When I took the brisket out, I let it rest for a few minutes, and I put all the liquid into a gravy separator. I used the degreased liquid as a sauce to spoon over the brisket. It was thin, but tasty. This is one of those recipes that challenges all your assumptions about what can make good food. We’re told to avoid processed food, eat with the seasons, and so on, and that is, for the most part, what I do. Coke and soup mix are season-less and as processed as you can get. But don’t let that scare you away. Your guests will never know.

This Coca Cola brisket is an easy, delicious summer or winter dish that will end up as a great do-over in sandwiches or cold off the plate. One bowl to mix it all up, then into the oven it goes. I did line the baking dish with the foil so there was no clean-up. After it was done, I ran the brisket under the broiler to crisp up the fat layer that I hadn't trimmed off, per the instructions. I put it in the pan fat side up with a scattering of chopped green onion that a friendly neighbor had delivered fresh from her garden. I reduced the liquid by half and passed it at the table for those who wanted some sauce. I found that it added a dimension that’s different from the usual brisket marinades I’m accustomed to eating.

This Coca Cola brisket recipe really could not be any simpler—unless you make it in a slow cooker. After placing the brisket in my 6-quart slow cooker, I poured the sauce over the meat and set the cooker to low. Nine hours later, I had fork-tender, pull-apart brisket complete with sauce. While the meat rested, I skimmed the fat from the surface of the pan juice and poured the sauce into a saucepan. I then simmered it for 15 minutes, and it reduced nicely. I pulled the beef apart and added it to the sauce. It was slightly sweet with a savory depth that was amazingly delicious. We ate the leftovers in sandwiches the next day, and they were marvelous. This is perfect for dinner after a long workday, a game day party, or any occasion. Truly a spectacular and simple dish!


#LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Do I have to use this size of brisket? And would I half the ingredients for a smaller joint?

Good question, christine. Our readers have had success using smaller pieces of brisket, and with halving the ingredients. Just make sure that the meat is snugly contained in its baking dish so that the sauce isn’t spread too thin.

I would be doing it in the slow cooker, so just wondering if I should keep the ingredients the same? I have a smaller slow cooker and a large one, don’t want to make a mistake in trying this, my meat would be roughly 1kg in weight, thank you,

christine, if you’ve got a slow cooker that’s somewhere between 4 and 6 quarts in size, it should be fine with half the marinade ingredients.

This recipe looks fantastic and I want to try it as soon as possible! Am I correct when I say that the Coca Cola that should be used is regular Coke and not diet or sugar-free soda? It appears that the sugar is needed here. Thank you.

Camille, you are correct! You’ll definitely want to use the regular Coca Cola here.

How would I use this recipe if I was using my smoker. Would injection be the way to go?

Carl, we didn’t try it that way, so we can’t say for sure. If you try it, please let us know how it turned out.

Soda Pop

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Everything You Need to Know About Liquid Smoke

“Liquid smoke” sounds like a semi-magical substance, and to some, even a little scary, but it’s actually a simple and totally natural product that can be a useful addition to your pantry—as long as you know how to use it (sparingly). Let’s take a look at how liquid smoke is made, whether it poses any health concerns, and how it can add flavor to your food.

How is liquid smoke made?

When wood is burned, it produces vapor (i.e. smoke), which can be trapped so that it condenses and turns into a liquid. This liquid is then concentrated to intensify the smoky flavor filtered to remove bitter, undesired compounds and impurities (like ash) and bottled up for distribution. Some brands do add other ingredients like salt, sugar, molasses, vinegar, or artificial coloring, but liquid smoke always starts as burning wood (often, the chips and sawdust produced by cutting hardwood into lumber).

Lazy Kettle All Natural Liquid Smoke, $6.99 on Amazon

This brand touts itself as being 100 percent pure smoke in an aqueous base.

Who invented liquid smoke?

The product has been around for quite a while. The first brand of liquid smoke sold in America—Wright’s, which is still a top seller today—dates back to 1895. Pharmacist Ernest H. Wright was inspired to experiment with the substance by a drop of black liquid he observed trickling down the side of a stove-pipe, which admittedly doesn’t sound terribly appetizing. At the time, smoke was valued more as a preservative than a flavor-enhancer, although it had the added benefit of tasting good too.

Wright’s liquid smoke was marketed as a quicker and cheaper alternative to the painstaking process of actually smoking meat—which is both an art and a science—in order to make it last longer. It still serves the same basic purpose as a shortcut ingredient, although it’s the sought-after smoky flavor that people want these days, with little thought to its preservative properties. While barbecue purists will fight you (hard) on its legitimacy as an ingredient, most people are perfectly happy with the iconic “barbecued” flavor liquid smoke imparts to meats cooked indoors.

Can you make your own liquid smoke?

If you’re an inveterate DIY-er, you can make your own liquid smoke, but if you’re willing to go to that much trouble, you’re probably already prepared to smoke-cure your own meat anyway. (If so, see our tips on how to smoke meat like the pros, more advice from BBQ guru Aaron Franklin, and an in-depth guide to how to smoke brisket for the best BBQ ever.)

Western BBQ Smoking Wood Chips Variety Pack, 4 bags for $22 on Amazon

If you like to experiment, try different types of wood, like apple, mesquite, hickory, and cherry.

Where can you find liquid smoke?

For the rest of us, small bottles of liquid smoke are usually stocked near the barbecue sauce in most supermarkets. You can find various flavors, including hickory, mesquite, applewood, and pecan. Since they’re generally used in such small quantities, it doesn’t make a huge difference which flavor you buy, although, of course, additives will change the individual flavors more, so you may want to stick to brands with fewer ingredients—and taste a bunch to find your personal preference. You can also buy liquid smoke online Lazy Kettle is one of the more popular brands without additives, but all the old standbys like Colgin and Wright’s are there too.

Is liquid smoke dangerous?

Not any more dangerous than grilled food, which most of us eat with relative abandon, especially in the summer months. That char that makes food taste so good does contain chemicals that have been linked to cancer, yet that’s a risk many are fine with taking. (There are some things you can to do to mitigate the danger, like marinating meat.)

Ingesting liquid smoke is probably safer than eating actual smoke-cured (or grilled) meat, because the process of distilling the liquid captures flavor compounds while leaving most of the carcinogenic compounds behind. But even if that wasn’t the case, you use such a tiny amount of liquid smoke at a time, it would be incredibly low on the list of concerns (potentially even lower than coffee and bottled water).

How can you use liquid smoke?

In small quantities—we’re talking well under 1/2 teaspoon, usually, although you can certainly add more to taste—liquid smoke is great for adding a smoky nuance to just about anything. It’s a common addition to barbecue sauce, slow cooker kalua pig, and various forms of vegan bacon. Indeed, since liquid smoke itself is vegan, it’s often used to add a smoky, “meaty” savor to meatless dishes of all kinds (consider adding some to your next vegetarian BBQ menu). But you can add a few drops to anything that would be good with a bit of hazy depth, including cocktails (in particular, Bloody Marys or anything with bourbon), cheese balls, sweet caramel candies and sauce, and of course chili.

Big companies use it all the time to add flavor to their products, from barbecue-seasoned chips and smoked almonds to processed cheese and bacon (most of it, even when it says “hickory smoked” or “applewood smoked” on the package, is actually treated with liquid smoke rather than being traditionally smoked over smoldering wood—so if you love mass-produced bacon but say you don’t like liquid smoke…you’re technically incorrect).

Does liquid smoke taste fake?

A popular complaint about liquid smoke is that is tastes fake, harsh, or “like chemicals,” but that’s almost always because using too much of it is overpowering. Start with a few dashes, taste, and add more a little at a time until you get the level you like. Also, check the label to see if there any added ingredients, which could make the taste more (or less) objectionable to you, depending on your preferences.

Liquid Smoke Recipes

Here are some specific recipes that use liquid smoke, from the comfortingly conventional to the more unexpected try them out and find your own new ways to add a little smoky flavor to your favorite foods.

Slow Cooker Party Mix

Liquid smoke joins forces with hot smoked paprika, soy sauce, and butter in this crisp, savory, spicy, and addictive homemade snack mix. It’s perfect for pepping up parties, warding off weekday hanger attacks, fueling road trips, or munching on movie night. Get our Slow Cooker Party Mix recipe.

Slow Cooker Hot Wings

These spicy, succulent hot wings could hardly be easier. Just toss them in a slow cooker with tomato paste, hot sauce, liquid smoke, spices, and a little sugar, then let them cook for a few hours before finishing them in the oven to crisp them up. Get our Slow Cooker Hot Wings recipe.

Big-Time Barbecue Sauce

One of the most common and best uses of liquid smoke is in barbecue sauce, like this complex blend of ketchup, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and about a dozen other ingredients. Although the ingredient list is long, the actual preparation is really easy, and the resulting sauce is great on pretty much anything: ribs, chicken, burgers, tofu… Get our Big-Time Barbecue Sauce recipe.

BBQ Shortribs

Liquid smoke gives beef short ribs cooked in the oven an outdoorsy barbecue flavor, and can be used to the same effect for pretty much any protein if you don’t have a grill (or don’t feel like using it). Get the BBQ Shortribs recipe.

Watch the video: Σάλτσα μπάρμπεκιου -The Best BBQ Sauce - Live Kitchen (January 2022).