How is liquid smoke produced

Make your own liquid smoke

Liquid smoke has now become an integral part of modern kitchens. Adding a smoky aroma to food without smoking is immensely important, especially with BBQ sauces. With this hack you can make liquid smoke anywhere, all you need is a grill.

What is liquid smoke?

If you take a closer look at the additives on a liquid smoke bottle, you will often see a wide variety of additives. But actually Liquid Smoke is nothing more than condensed smoke. The evaporated water that rises inside a grill or smoker absorbs the smoky taste. If you manage to catch this and let it condense, you will get water with a natural smoky taste.

Is Liquid Smoke Carcinogenic?

Smoke basically contains carcinogenic, i.e. carcinogenic, substances. We differentiate here between PAHs and HAAs.

  • PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are substances that are found naturally in petroleum, tobacco, wood and coal. They arise, for example, when fat or marinades drip onto the charcoal and the resulting smoke, after incomplete combustion of animal or vegetable fats, is deposited on the meat and is also consumed. When grilling directly over an open flame, about 10 micrograms of these PAHs are produced - a food product must fall below the value of 1 microgram per kg in order to be freely available
  • HAA (Heterocyclic aromatic amides) are formed during the Maillard reaction. It is responsible for the development of the toasted aromas of browned foods and their crispy surface. If you permanently expose proteins to a temperature of over 160 degrees, the so-called maltol is created, which causes this taste.

All in all, however, it has been proven that the consumption of grilled and smoked food is harmless in moderation. Liquid smoke is even less of a concern than foods that have been exposed to persistent smoke.

Is Liquid Smoke Harmful?

The consumption of liquid smoke is harmless in normal proportions. However, Liquid Smoke should never be consumed pure as it is highly concentrated.

Is Liquid Smoke Better Than Smoking?

While smoking and barbecuing are close to the heart, the use of liquid smoke is less harmful. The smoke aroma can also be dosed with liquid smoke, which is difficult to do when smoking.

Mix liquid smoke yourself?

We have created our recipe with video for you.

Is Liquid Smoke vegan and allergen-free?

Yes, Liquid Smoke is just water that has evaporated, bound the smoke flavor and cooled down again. Liquid Smoke is therefore vegan and free from the most common allergens.

What do I need - make smoke aroma myself?

The equipment

The grill: In principle, all smoke-generating devices that run on charcoal are suitable for production. It is only important that it has a smoke outlet (chimney / chimney). You also need a metal ring, a pot that has the same diameter as the ring, and a second pot that you place on top of the first pot. This is filled with ice and cools the smoke so that it condenses and drips back into the Guglhupf pan.

The smoke taste

For the perfect smoky taste you need good, high-quality coal to fire and so-called woodchunks of your choice (see picture). You should make sure that it is charcoal with a proportion of uncarburized pieces of wood, it has a nicer aroma.

The temperature

The perfect temperature of your coal is 260-300 degrees, on which you place the woodchunks. It is important to let the woodchunks soak in water for 30 minutes beforehand so that they do not burn directly, but smoke constantly. To get more liquid smoke, you can also place an ice container on the grate. The liquid inside will evaporate over time, creating more liquid. When you have done all the preparations and construction, it is time to wait. Liquid smoke production takes at least 1.5 hours. The longer you wait, the more liquid you can make, the taste doesn't get weaker.

The Finale - Important Notes Before Eating

When you have poured the liquid smoke from the Guglhupf pan, there is one more important step necessary: ​​Filtration, which you can do with an ordinary coffee filter and a glass. The filter pulls dirt particles like small pieces of charcoal out of the liquid.

Most liquid smokes are heavily diluted! Most liquid smoke products consist of 30% liquid smoke and 70% water. I would also advise you to dilute your smoke. If you get a sour taste, you can add a little sugar to soften it.

NEVER CONSUME ONLY! Please consume your Liquid Smoke only diluted and processed in your food. Liquid smoke cannot be consumed in large quantities and should be used sparingly.



    • Use charcoal with a non-charred portion, as the natural smoky taste comes into its own here. (e.g. Big Green Egg)
    • Put your woodchunks in water for 30 minutes so that they soak up
    • Heat up your grill / smoker / chimney and put the ice in a fire-proof container in your grill so that it can slowly evaporate.
    • Place the Guglhupfform on the fireplace of your grill and on top of this Guglhupfform another metal bowl to catch the condensed smoke water.
    • Tip: place another bowl with ice on the metal bowl to cool the smoke condensate even faster (this way, less is lost)