Trust us when we say that if the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans or homemade bread could be bottled as a fragrance then we would buy it wholesale!
We might even be tempted to add smoke to that list because it is so intoxicatingly delicious, but lets keep a grip on sanity for a minute because no one reading JoziStyle wants to smell like the Ultimate Braaimaster. JoziStyle knows that every foodie has a kitchen cupboard filled with gourmet treats that soon outlive their expiry date but we have discovered a gourmet treat that will tickle the taste buds of every foodie, fashionista & firestarter in the land. It’s literally called Liquid Smoke.
JoziStyle got some flack recently for expressing disdain for anything artificial because we asked why people should settle for commercial vanilla essence instead of authentic vanilla extract? Sometimes one has to acquiesce that we don’t live in a perfect world; food is no longer organic unless it can be sold at a premium, flavours are almost always artificial, and most bacon is almost certainly spray-painted with potentially carcinogenic chemicals to give it that smokey flavour that makes it officially “bacon”. Call us pretentious, opinionated, purist, bitchy, foodie snobs; in fact, call us anything, because we don’t care, we like what we like, and we don’t mind if we call a spade a shovel. [BTW: Legal Disclaimer: JoziStyle likes bacon, so we don’t want no trouble with bacon makers or the pigs!]
Imagine our surprise when JoziStyle’s own radio show producer and presenter, Edward Chamberlain-Bell, started raving about a product he’d just purchased at TasteofJoburg called Liquid Smoke. Just weeks ago he had expressed his disdain for anybody who used anything even vaguely artificial in their cooking, yet he was waxing lyrical about Liquid Smoke. According to him, it was a marinade, flavour enhancer, and even a cocktail mixer (that bit did make sense!), but was Liquid Smoke really up to scratch for Jozistyle?
According to ECB: Liquid Smoke is the culinary equivalent of essential oil for fine cuisine. We were sceptical. Liquid Smoke retails for less than R50 / 100ml, so we had to ask ourselves, “How could any product at that price be of superior quality? Things that make you hmmm…”
JoziStyle was even more impressed with Liquid Smoke when we discovered it has more applications than what we anticipated. For sure, we got that it could be used to marinade steaks, chops, chicken, fish and a Christmas turkey, while a more inventive foodie boldly suggested that Liquid Smoke could be added to a cream cheese dip (So original!), but for the best advice about how to use Liquid Smoke you need to speak to Byron Parson, the purveyor of this gastronomic delight, because his recipes for Liquid Smoke make imported balsamic vinegar look just a tad passe.
Liquid Smoke contains no artificial flavours or carcinogenic materials. It is 100% natural considering that the ingredients are the exact same ingredients one would get from the natural smoking process. An interesting analogy that describes how Liquid Smoke is made would be to compare it to the distillation process to extract essential oils used for aromatherapy. A more convenient truth about using Liquid Smoke is that no one has the time, space or energy to setup their own smoker in their backyard.
Imagine a meal that starts with a smoked mozzarella Caprese salad, followed by a smoked salmon entree, interjected with a citrus sorbet made with smoked honey before a hearty smoked fillet (or ribs!), and rounded off with a traditional South African malva pudding drenched in Liquid Smoke syrup?
And to drink? Who could ever say no to a Liquid Smoke martini? Now that’s going to be a really dirty martini- and we like that!
Interestingly, we met Byron on two separate occasions and he never even vaguely smelt like smoke.
JoziStyle: We love Liquid Smoke because there are no artificial ingredients. How is it made?
Damp wood chips from your selected wood type are heated to smouldering point in a large retort, this generates more smoke than actually setting the wood alight. This smoke is funnelled into a compression chamber where this rapidly cools the smoke, causing condensation. This condensation is filtered purified and aged for anything from a few months to a year.
JoziStyle: What is the best way to use Liquid Smoke to get the most benefit?
Byron Parsons: The golden rule is to use sparingly. It is extremely concentrated, so always start off with a few drops and increase amount as you go along.
JoziStyle: Do you have a “secret recipe” for using your products?
Byron Parsons: I don’t have any gems locked away. I add any great new recipes I try to my website so that everyone can enjoy the full scope of Liquid Smoke.
JoziStyle: Trick question: Can you use it in desserts?
Byron Parsons: Actually, yes! The European beech is great for this, I have a customer who recently made smoked cardamom ice cream. Smoked toffee apples are also a good one. Basically, if you can imagine it, you can incorporate Liquid Smoke into most things.
JoziStyle: What is a common misconception that people have about Liquid Smoke?
Byron Parsons: The most common misconception is that it is an artificial flavouring. As you can see from the process above, it is all natural.
JoziStyle: What are the different variants- and what are they best used for?
Byron Parsons: We have three different variants; Hickory, mixed hardwood and European beech. Hickory is most popular wood used for smoking and so is the one most people are familiar with. It works well with meat and sauces/marinades for pork, chicken & beef. Mixed hardwood is a combination of hickory and oak, both are hard woods so this works on the same things as the hickory. Finally the European beech is a softer wood and so is a good all-round smoke that can be used on meat, sauces, marinades as well as seafood, fish and cheeses & dips.
JoziStyle: Where is it available?
Byron Parsons: We are in stores around the country and have a list of stockist on our website, www.liquid-smoke.co.za
JoziStyle: How easy is it to use?
It is extremely easy to use, add a few drops to pasta sauce, store bought dips or cheeses. Smoked chicken breasts can be prepared in 20 mins by adding some liquid smoke to some olive oil and marinating it for 15 mins. We also have a list of recipes to give you an idea on how to use it as well as how much to use.
JoziStyle: Is it suitable for vegetarians & vegans?
Byron Parsons: Two of our products are, the Hickory and the Mixed Hardwood are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. I have had a lot of interest from people who are wanting to make fake bacon from either tofu or coconut flakes, I will be adding a recipe for Portobello Mushroom Burger to our site soon.
JoziStyle: Biggest learning curve & tips to entrepreneurs?
Byron Parsons: It is difficult to sell a little known product to busy people who don’t have time to listen to a whole story. Find a concise way to explain your product in one sentence, do demonstrations if possible and be willing to give it on consignment in order to get it on the shelves.
JoziStyle: What do you do when you’re not working?
Byron Parsons: I play club cricket and go to gym regularly. I also have two beautiful daughters and I try my best to spend a few hours of quality time with them every day.
JoziStyle: What’s your favourite thing to do in Jozi?
Byron Parsons: I am really enjoying the craft beer revolution that is taking SA by storm right now.. There are so many new places popping up and my mates and I enjoy trying them out. Another great way for me to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is to watch cricket at the Wanderers.
JoziStyle: Favourite movie / TV show / book?
Byron Parsons: The Count of Monte Christo / The Good Wife / The Power of One.
JoziStyle: Favourite food combination you love??
Byron Parsons: Parmesan infused olive oil and Liquid Smoke (haha) Beverages: 2 Okes craft beer.
JoziStyle: How would you spend R1,000,000 (if not on debt or the poor)?
Byron Parsons: I would take my family on a first class trip around the United States (I went there in my early 20’s and my wife has always wanted to go) and Argentina. I would also spoil myself with a nice IWC timepiece.
JoziStyle: What inspires you?
Byron Parsons: Always be grateful for everything you have as there are others who are less fortunate than you.
JoziStyle: Famous last words:
Byron Parsons: Don’t always wish for the weekend, live your life every day.
For more inspiration about using Liquid Smoke, or buy online, please visit liquid-smoke.co.za.
Liquid Smoke is also offering all JoziStylers an opportunity to win one of three Liquid Smoke Promotion Packs. All you have to do is share your most creative uses for using Liquid Smoke on JoziStyle!