In Praise of Liquid Smoke – and Ernest Wright, KC Rotarian

Liquid smoke may be the most under-rated food product in the modern supermarket. In a do-it-yourself, hands-on preparation world, liquid smoke seems like a cheap, processed short-cut unworthy of the attention of serious food enthusiasts. Most people view liquid smoke with the same disdain as they would tub margarine.

In truth, liquid smoke is a natural product, produced by running smoke through condensers and producing a liquid. It’s the same smoke that might adhere to a slab of Bryant’s ribs, but it comes in a convenient bottle. Right now, I’m enjoying a nice bourbon enhanced by an ice cube infused with liquid smoke. It enhances the bourbon without over-powering it – one teaspoon of liquid smoke in two cups of water makes a nice, smokey ice cube.

Liquid smoke also figures in the best crock pot recipe of all time. Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork as described on the best cooking podcast ever is the soul of simplicity and frugal high-living. Trust me on this, you will love it. And here’s a tip just for Gone Mild readers – put those leftovers into a very hot skillet and scorch them a bit – then toss in some diced green chilies and serve it with a bit of salsa verde on tortillas, and you will have a combination of crispy texture and decadent flavor that will change your world.

Now, here’s a funny twist. Until I started working on this post (about the same time that I poured the above-pictured cocktail), I had never realized that Wright’s Liquid Smoke – the main player in the world of liquid smoke flavoring – originated in Kansas City. On top of that, Ernest Wright was a member of the local Rotary Club, and he was a pioneer in sharing his wealth with his employees. I read all about it right here in the April, 1923 issue of the Rotarian.

Cheers to Ernie, liquid smoke, Rotary Clubs, bourbon and pork.

4 Responses to “In Praise of Liquid Smoke – and Ernest Wright, KC Rotarian”

  1. Robin says:

    Nice combinations all!

  2. Nick says:

    I grew up down the road a piece from the old Smokestack restaurant on 71; we ate there at least twice a week. One of the ’secrets’ to their bean recipe -besides finishing them off under the meat to catch their drippings – was Louie’s liquid smoke.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Indeed, Wright’s liquid smoke is the best brand. Use it in baked beans, ham & bean soup, or try smoky sharp cheddar mac’s & cheese! Goes good with any recipe where you use bacon, ham, or cheese! Start small and add more if needed. This brand is strong and can over power foods quickly.

  4. Jim says:

    I’ve been using Wright’s for a long time. My only complaint is that it pours out too easily. My remedy was to buy a bottle of Colgin’s liquid smoke. Pour it down the drain. (I don’t like Colgin’s, because it adds a bitter taste.) And put the Wright’s in that bottle. -The Colgin’s bottle has a restricted plastic top that really helps to control the amount of product being applied.

    Thanks for the tip on the smoked cubes. I’ll give it a try.

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