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Smoked Everything

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Q. I really enjoy smoked meats and fish, and am wondering if other things like vegetables or liquids can be smoked with a delicious result? — Brandy, Menasha

A. Almost any food can be smoked. The question is if you want to or not. It really all comes down to personal preference. Smoke is an ingredient, not unlike salt, pepper or sugar. So what does smoke enhance and what does it not enhance? For centuries, meats like ham, bacon, sausage and jerked beef have been smoked to both improve the taste and to help preserve the meat for longer periods of time. Smoked beef, chicken and fish are also enjoyed by many people. I’ve had the opportunity to try many different smoked foods and I’m not convinced that some of them improved with the addition of smoke. Smoked cheese, for example, is enjoyed by many people, but I am not among them. I’ve also tried most vegetables enhanced with smoke at one time or another and I don’t think the smoke made any of them better. I’m not sure how much smoke a liquid will pick up as a result of smoking it, but it will pick up some.  Some people like to use liquid smoke, but if given the choice, I prefer to add smoke naturally. And don’t get me started about smoked ice cream – yes, I’ve had it.

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