The Paleo List Answers:Is LIQUID SMOKE Paleo?
Once you start making your own Paleo food from scratch, it’s easy to become enticed by every Paleo recipe you find – from snacks and treats to condiments and sauces. We’ll take a look at one recipe often found in things like jerky and barbecue sauce. Is Liquid Smoke Paleo?
What is Liquid Smoke?
Liquid smoke does exactly what it’s supposed to do – it flavors food to taste a little like smoke, which gives off the impression that the food (often meat) has been smoked or grilled. This liquid concoction was formulated in the late 19th century, according to Serious Eats, as a way to get the flavor and preservation benefits of smoke, without going through the actual smoke-curing process.
Basically, when smoke rises, it can be captured by a hood or cover. Once it hits cold air, it is no longer warm enough to stay in gas form, and is transferred back to a liquid, but with a dark hue and obviously smoky flavor. To get the most from this smoky liquid, it is then condensed to the point where just a couple of drops can provide the smoky flavor desired. It sounds pretty harmless, right?
Well, not so fast. Commercially produced liquid smoke is made by burning sawdust, often from hickory or apple wood, and then capturing the rising smoke in either water or vegetable oil. Some companies strain out any oil, while other companies add additional ingredients such as molasses, caramel color, and vinegar. Therein lies the problem. Leave it to commercial manufacturers to mess up an otherwise innocuous ingredient.
Is Liquid Smoke Paleo?
The verdict: sort of. There are some brands, such as Wright’s and Lazy Kettle, that don’t add anything to their naturally flavored liquid smoke, but others, such as Colgin, seem keen on adding sweeteners and artificial ingredients. It’s important to read the ingredients label before settling on a brand of liquid smoke!
Finally, remember that something being Paleo doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy. We know that cooking and smoking meats over wood-burning logs goes back thousands of years, but recent research shows that this concentrated liquid smoke is potentially carcinogenic. This video also shows that smoked meats and fish might actually be more carcinogenic than the concentrated liquid smoke!
Either way, it is recommended that you use only a dash of liquid smoke at a time, or replace it with other smoky ingredients such as smoked paprika!
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo? Do you need help planning some Paleo meals? Check out this great Paleo cookbook: