In the era in which the ozone layer is so badly damaged, and severe climate changes such as global warming are taking place as a direct consequence of that; we should all give our contribution to preserving the environment we live in. Even the smallest contribution or effort can mean a lot, especially if we all do out part. You can start by little things, use a roll-on instead of aerosol deodorant, use bio-degradable shopping bags, recycle, stop using your fireplace or your barbecue.
You might wonder how can avoid using your fireplace or barbecue help the environment? Well, any smoke has a bad effect on air quality. The small particles in the smoke are the most harmful. We will discuss that later on. We will also teach you a safe fave to enjoy your meat without actually grilling it on the barbecue. You will probably say that nothing can replace that combination of meat and smoke, but you will be wrong.
In fact, our main topic today is how to make liquid smoke that will allow you to enjoy the full taste of BBQ without lighting the fire every time you feel like eating it. There is a saying that where there is smoke, there is fire- well, hold on to your site we are about to prove that there is smoke without the fire too!
Why Is Smoke Bad For The Environment?
As preserving the environment is such an important thing we have decided to tackle that issue a bit before we move on to our main topic. Smoke impacts to air quality in a bad way. Being the rather complex combination of gasses and small particles, smoke can irritate some people or even cause allergic reactions. Some people experience a runny nose and itchy eyes, but common reactions include a sore throat and coughing as well.
Although for most of the people these symptoms last short and quickly disappear, persons who have chronic respiratory disease, children, pregnant women and elderly people are much more sensitive and can suffer worse consequences. In fact, no one should breathe smoke voluntarily.
If you are still determined to enjoy the smoky flavor of your favorite steak and do not believe that there is another way to do it your without charcoal and your backyard barbecue, you should read the following section carefully. Charcoal briquettes you are most likely to buy at your local store and use for your BBQ adventures are made from lighter fluid, wood by-products, and additives. The thing that holds them together is starch.
Burning these charcoal briquettes creates 105 times more carbon dioxide than when you use propane. The worst thing is that the bad does not end there. It actually gets worse. Namely, volatile organic compounds that also occur as a by-product when you light up your barbecue are also cancerogenic and can cause rather serious diseases. The carbon footprint is also a serious issue.
So, why not go greener if there is a way? We will show you that there is. You can use a liquid smoke to spice up your meat, and it will taste the same as being grilled, without you or your family having to inhale any actual smoke! You will not hurt the environment either!
How To Make Liquid Smoke At Your Home
As we have already mentioned, liquid smoke is an unusual spice that serves to provide that smoke flavor we all learned to love without actually having to start a fire. You usually add it to meat, although it can also give an interesting taste to some other food as well, such as the cheese or beans for example.
You can buy this spice in almost every store in America, but there is a lot of debate going over how healthy these commercial versions of liquid smoke are. The main concern are the additives that are deemed cancerogenic. For this reason, people started looking for a way to make liquid smoke at home, and of course, ingenious as people are, they soon came up with it.
Nowadays, you can follow a simple, but rather time-consuming, procedure and make your own bottle of liquid smoke which you can then use to add the smoky barbecue flavor to your food.
The problem is that you will have to have quite a bit of equipment as well, including a smoker or chimney (a grill with a chimney will also do the job, but that is also not common). We guess that everyone can at least borrow all the things they need from neighbors or relatives. After all, you only have to do it twice a year at most, as liquid smoke can last and be used safely for up to six months after it has been made.
The Things You Will Need
In order to make liquid smoke, you will need:
1. A smoker ( we will explain the procedure assuming that you will use a smoker if you use chimnea or a grill with a chimney you will have to make some slight modifications)
2. A gas grill
3. Charcoal (opt for all natural one, that might be harder to find but has no toxic additives)
4. Wood: both twigs and logs/ Wood chips (if you prefer woody smoke flavor)
6. Matches or a lighter
7. The Bundt pan
8. A heatproof, metal mixing bowl
9. Food of your choice (meat, vegetables)
10. Frozen ice packs or A bag of ice
11. A funnel
12. A small glass bottle or jar
The goal of the whole procedure is to capture smoke. In order to do that you have to create a smoky condensation. Here is how to make liquid smoke:
1. Set up the smoker
You will have to light up the gas grill first to burn the charcoal and then transfer it to the smoker. In case you are not familiar with the procedure, you need to push the knob on your grill inwards, turn it to ignite and press the starter. The temperature needs to be set on high. Wait until the grill heats to 500 °F and then put the charcoal in. When it burns out, and the coals are red hot, transfer them to the smoker.
Spread them onto the charcoal pan and allow the smoker to heat to approximately 300 °F. Plase the wood twig (or wood chips) onto it. When the fire is established, add a couple of larger logs, and let the wood smoke.
2. Cook the food in your smoker
As we have already suggested when listing the things you need, you can use meat or vegetables to enhance the taste and smell of your liquid smoke. To do this, you simply cook that food on the smoker as you usually do. You can cook meat, vegetables, or other food on the smoker while you’re capturing the liquid smoke.
3. Set up the Bundt pan and a mixing bowl structure on top of the smoker chimney
When your smoker is set up, and your food is safely cooking, you need to move on to the final and most important step of the setup procedure. In order to create liquid smoke, you have to make condensation that will turn the actual smoke into a liquid form. The Bundt pan is an ideal choice due to the hole it has which will allow the heat to rise in the middle.
To do this, use a Bundt pan and position it onto the chimney (carefully slide it on). Next, use the heat-proof mixing bowl to cover it (position the bowl upside-down). The two need to be the same size so that no smoke can escape!
The smoke and heat will remain trapped inside this structure allowing you to collect the liquid smoke in the pan.
4. Place the ice on top of the structure
Finally, you put the ice pack or a bag of ice on top of the mixing bowl. The difference in temperature will bring about the condensation we are eager to achieve. Tiny drops will drip into the Bundt pan- that is the liquid smoke we want!
Leave the smoker closed until the end of the process, preferably until the food you have placed in it is cooked or all the coal has burnt down. It will take at least an hour to get a few teaspoons of liquid smoke.
5. Bottle up your precious liquid smoke
The process is done (and we hope that it will be a success), you now need to collect the liquid that has accumulated in the Bundt pan. To do that, you need to remove the ice and the mixing bowl and then carefully take off the Bundt pan from the chimney. Be careful not to burn your hands, preferably use protective gloves.
Take a clean, glass bottle or a small jar and position the funnel into it. Now, carefully pour the liquid that has collected in the Bundt pan out into the bottle/jar. Close the bottle/jar tightly. It is best to choose a container with an airtight lid. Keep the liquid smoke at room temperature and use it within six months. Most importantly enjoy the great smoky flavor whenever you feel like it!