Using Liquid Smoke in Sous Vide – Your Complete Guide!

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Sous Vide – with a french name like this, you already know that this will give you some mouth-watering food. However, can it help you get the delicious smoky BBQ flavor in your meat or fish? Well, you can achieve this using a wonder item – liquid smoke.

However, what is liquid smoke, and how does Sous Vide liquid smoke work?

Liquid smoke is an excellent way to add smoky flavor to your dish. Usually,  a spoonful of liquid is added to a saucepan or oven dish, so it’s perfect for sous vide cooking. You can do the job in 2 simple ways – put the liquid in the bag directly or add it after fully cooking the meat.

Using liquid smoke with sous vide is simple, giving your food a smokey taste with the fine texture of the sous vide.

This article delves deep into the question of doing Sous Vide with Liquid Smoke. You will know how to use liquid smoke in Sous Vide properly. So, pay attention!

The ABC of Liquid Smoke

The ABC of Liquid Smoke

I don’t know about you, but the best thing about BBQ is the smell of smoke in the meat for me. I think meat instantly becomes tastier when there is a subtle smell and taste of smoke. You can add this flavor by using liquid smoke even when you are not burning wood.

So what is liquid smoke? Is liquid smoke actually smoke?

No, it is actually smoke in liquid form. By condensing the natural smoke we get by burning wood, we get the liquid form. So, it is a completely natural ingredient.

In addition, the filtering process involved in bottling this liquid smoke often removes any harmful element from the smoke.

There are many flavors of liquid smoke available in the market. For example, there are Applewood, Hickory, Mesquite, etc.

Here is our 5 favorite liquid smoke that you can use to give your dish a delectable and desirable smoky flavor.

Liquid SmokeFlavor
Wrights Liquid SmokeHickory
Colgin Liquid SmokeNatural Mesquite
Wright’s Liquid SmokeApplewood
Stubbs Liquid SmokeHickory
Epicureal All Natural Liquid SmokeHickory

Sous Vide Liquid Smoke

Sous Vide Liquid Smoke

So, liquid smoke is good and all. But can you Sous Vide Liquid Smoke? Definitely.

In fact, there are two approaches you can follow to get the job done. One of the approaches is applying liquid smoke before you put it up for sous vide, and another is adding it after cooking.

Procedure 1: Applying Liquid Smoke Before The Cooking

The process involves regular sous vide cooking.

  • Marinate the meat with your favored seasoning.
  • Put the meat in the vacuum-sealed bag, leaving no gap.
  • Add around a half tablespoon of liquid smoke and seal the bag.
  • Fix the temperature and place the bag in the pot.
  • Now set the timer and wait.
  • When the timer says DONE, bring out the food from the bag.
  • Finally, enjoy the perfectly cooked tender meat with a pleasing smoky flavor.

You can also add the liquid during marination. It will let the smokey flavor mix and get into the food properly.

Procedure 2: Applying Liquid Smoke After The Cooking

Let’s say you forget to mix the liquid smoke before starting the process. What then? Can you add liquid smoke after cooking?

Yes! Here comes our method number 2 – adding liquid smoke after the meat is cooked.

  • Cook the meat as regular sous vide cooking.
  • After the cooking, add the liquid smoke with the juice. Remember, don’t add it to the meat directly; it will overpower the taste and flavor of your dish.
  • Let the liquid mix with the juice in the bag, adding the smoky flavor.
  • Now, bring out the meat and relish it.
  • If you drain the juice without adding the liquid, take a brush and spread the liquid over the meat evenly.

However, remember that the liquid smoke will not mix as well as if you had marinated the meat.

How Much Liquid Smoke Should You Add?

How much liquid smoke you add is a really critical component. Remember that this substance is highly concentrated. So, using only half a teaspoon is enough for cooking at home.

Be extra careful not to add too much unless you want to destroy everyone’s dinner.

Best Practices of Sous Vide Liquid Smoke

Best Practices of Sous Vide Liquid Smoke

There is a common complaint that sous vide, in reality, doesn’t really provide the promised restaurant-like exquisite result. People also have a negative perception of using liquid smoke in sous vide.

But often these complaints stem from the fact that small mistakes ruin the taste. To save you from these mistakes, here are some best practices that will give you the mouth-watering taste you have been looking for.

  • Don’t go overboard with the liquid smoke. The liquid smoke is extremely condensed. So, for BBQing, a chicken, about half a teaspoon of liquid smoke will be enough. Adding too much will ruin the taste.
  • Check for the brand and flavor types. Often people complain that liquid smoke tastes artificial. The only reason this happens is that some liquid smokes add extra flavor and preservatives. So, choose one without flavor if you want the raw smoke vibe.
  • Airtight the plastic bag before you put in the water solution of the sous vide container. There is a risk that steam will open up the seal. To prevent this, fold the plastic bag’s upper body so that the steam cannot go up to the seal.

Follow these best practices, and you are almost guaranteed to get a tasty dish!

What Can You Use Instead Of Liquid Smoke?

Now, if you don’t feel comfortable using the liquid, you can also use smoked salt. It will more or less give you the same result. But instead of using normal salts to marinate the meat, you will use smoked salts.

Technically, you can make smoked salts by adding liquid smoke to salts. But a much better alternative is just to order a Smoked Salt online. They are pretty available almost everywhere.

You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: What Part Of The Cow Is Brisket? Explained!


  • Do Chefs Use Liquid Smoke?

There is a stigma in the general community about using liquid smoke. People think it is cheating. While many chefs subscribe to this line of thinking, many others believe there is nothing wrong with this.

In fact, many chefs regularly use liquid smoke as they feel like there is no viable alternative to using liquid smoke if we want that delicious smoky flavor in our food.

  • Is Liquid Smoke Safe?

Yes. Smoke, in general, can cause cancer. So, the smoke might create health complications if you BBQ over burning wood. But as liquid smoke is thoroughly filtered, there are no such risks here. So, this is safer than food prepared in contact with natural smoke.

  • Can You Marinate Meat in Liquid Smoke?

Yes, you can even use liquid smoke in the juice you use to marinate the meat. In fact, it will give you an even richer flavor. But be careful. Don’t go overboard. Using too much liquid smoke will ruin the taste. 

Final Words

So, do sous vide liquid smoke really makes your meat smoky? Yes, it definitely does.

Using liquid smoke while sous vide is an excellent way to add smoky fkavor to your tender home-cooked meat. You can have all the fun and flavor of BBQ meat without going outside and burning a single wood.

Trust me; you’re not cheating the BBQ stove and woods.

So my advice, instead of thinking about liquid smoke as cheating, just think about how tasty your BBQ will become!