How to make liquid smoke

Updated February 21, 2017

Liquid smoke has become wildly popular amongst barbecue aficionados. It gives an "outdoorsy" flavour to food cooked on a grill without mess and fuss. If you can't find liquid smoke in supermarkets near you, you can make it with the following steps, your grill and some supplies available at any hardware or DIY shop.

Position the grilling rack in the center of the grill. Put the steel cylinder on top to serve as the chimney. Turn the steel funnel upside down and tape it to the top of the grill. Place charcoal inside the cylinder. Ignite the coals and allow them to burn.

Fill a a large 15 litre (16 quart) bucket with ice water. Tape a glass coiled condenser to one side of the bucket.

Push the other side of the coiled condenser through the top of a 1 litre (1 quart) plastic container. The liquid smoke drips into this container.

Tape one piece of plastic tubing approximately 50 cm (20 inches) long to the outside end of the bucket. Make sure the tubing rests on the bucket since the smoke coming through the tubing later on must come in contact with a cold surface. Attach a second piece of similar sized tubing to the top of the steel funnel. Place hickory wood chips on top of the burning coals.

Cover the grill with the lid and seal around it with aluminum foil. The hickory wood flavours the smoke produced by the burning charcoal. The smoke then passes through the tubing in the bucket, is condensed by the ice water and the condensed liquid flows into the plastic container.

Things You'll Need

  • Charcoal grill and lid
  • Grilling rack
  • 20 cm (8 inch) cylinder
  • 20 cm (8 inch) steel funnel
  • Duct tape
  • 2.2 kg (5 lb) charcoal
  • Large bucket
  • Glass coil condenser
  • Plastic container
  • Plastic tubing
  • 2.2 kg (5 lb) hickory wood chips
  • Aluminum foil
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