The origins of liquid smoke date back to the end of the 19th century, when the experience of cooking food over an open flame was perhaps less limited to campfires and summer barbecues, and smoke curing was done out of necessity rather than for the flavor. Smoke has natural bacteria killing properties that kept food edible for longer.
Liquid smoke does have some of the same bactericidal properties as real smoke, inventor intended it at least as much as a flavor enhancer, and it's a safe bet that it's mostly used to that end today, now that much more effective food preservation methods are available.
Reported in the Rotarian, Wright, a chemist in Missouri, conceived of the idea of liquid smoke after recalling that aforementioned trickle of black liquid down a stovepipe. Smoke rising from a stove would hit the cold air and collect in droplets that ran back down the pipe. Wright experimented with a way to replicate the process, and tested his new "condensed smoke" by coating a ham and serving it to his unsuspecting friends.
The product was a hit, and Wright soon went from distributing his product to rural farms to setting up business in Kansas City and shipping the product across the country. In the beginning he was the only manufacturer of liquid smoke, and he refused to patent the product for fear that writing his secret formula down would allow others to copy him.
Liquid smoke is widely used in commercial food production wherever a smoky flavor is expected, for example, smoky bacon generally hasn't been smoked at all; it's just had liquid smoke added. The same is true for a lot of smoked cheeses, smoked tofu, and even jerky.
Research Source: Serious Eats
We like to make our own barbecue sauce, and now you can too.
Debo’s BBQ Sauce
Copyrighted 2014, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
6 ounces beer (I used shiner bock beer)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced onions
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon tajin seasoning
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons steak seasoning blend
In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in airtight container. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Enjoy!