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Liquid smoke to regular smoke?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I've joined this site to hopefully get some answers, as asking my books aloud never seems to work too well. Earlier today, I made some really good hot dogs. It was so good my mouth is still watering just thinking about them. The thing is, my smoker was out of wood chips (bad planning on my part, I admit), and I was forced to add liquid smoke to achieve the smoky flavor. I know, its heresy, but it was actually pretty good.


I am determined, however, to actually smoke them next time. The question I had, however, was how long should I smoke them for to achieve the same flavor as two-three teaspoons of liquid smoke? Is there some sort of conversion factor? I know liquid smoke is just condensed smoke vapor, but even so I wonder how much I should leave it in the smoker for to get the same flavor, as the balance between the smoke and spices was perfect.

Edited by Koshaal072 - 5/8/13 at 6:33am
post #2 of 12

Welcome aboard Koshaal072.

To start off with, there is a difference between NITRATES and NITRITES.

For hot dogs, you will want to use Nitrites, as found in Cure #1. It is a rapid cure.

Nitrates require a period of time to cure. As in weeks or months.

They are NOT interchangeable.

I make my dogs with Cure #1, refrigerate overnight and stuff.

I cold smoke for about 4 hours the kick the heat to 120. Bump 10 degrees per hour, not to exceed 180. You are looking for an internal temp of 152 in the dogs. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.

Good luck and take some pics, cause we love em.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you, Jarhead. I know how hard it is to keep the two of them straight, and I am very thankful that you were able to clear that bit up.


What about the smoke, though? Do you know if there is a conversion factor between liquid smoke and regular smoke? How much smoke would you suggest I submit the hot dogs to in order to get the same flavor from two or three teaspoons of liquid smoke?

post #4 of 12

It is the Nitrite that actually does the job and Nitrates change to Nitrites over time. Nitrates are used more in the USA as they provide a source of Nitrite over a longer period of time however in Europe it is much more common to only use Nitrites.


As Jarhead says, they are NOT interchangeable and you will need to regulate the amounts differently depending on which you use. Just remember that in fairly small quantities they can both be deadly if not used in the right concentrations. I suggest that, until you are confident, use a commercial mix and follow the manufacturers instructions.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I appreciate your inputs about nitrates vs nitrates, but what I am asking about is actually not about nitrates or nitrites. I know the role that these play, and how they break down chemically. What I am looking for, however, is how to convert the amount of liquid smoke into time in a smokehouse.


How long do I smoke the meat if I only want the intensity of 2 or 3 teaspoons of liquid smoke?

post #6 of 12

2-3 teaspoon in 500# of meat or 1# ...


2-3 teaspoons is a LOT of liquid smoke.  I usually add 1/8 teaspoon in 3#


There is no conversion ... trial and error.  You can also use the liquid and still smoke them.

post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by Koshaal072 View Post

I appreciate your inputs about nitrates vs nitrates, but what I am asking about is actually not about nitrates or nitrites. I know the role that these play, and how they break down chemically. What I am looking for, however, is how to convert the amount of liquid smoke into time in a smokehouse.


How long do I smoke the meat if I only want the intensity of 2 or 3 teaspoons of liquid smoke?

My friend,


I seriously doubt you will find an answer to that question.  If you want them real smokey, then keep them in thin blue smoke for the entire cook - about an hour to an hour and a half.  If you want less smoke use less chips, chunks, whatever it is you use to get the smoke flavor.


I don't use liquid smoke and never will.  If a recipe calls for liquid smoke I take the finished product and put it in the smoker for about an hour or so.


Good luck,



post #8 of 12

Trial and error on your smoke vs. liquid smoke question. Probably will be error the first time or two until you get it....liquid smoke is just what the name implies: smoke in liquid form. Smoke is passed through water so that the flavor is imparted to the liquid. The smoke is produced by burning wood chips or sawdust. The smoke-infused water may be concentrated and additional chemicals may be added to enhance the flavor of the product.

Here is an interesting fun fact about liquid smoke: Liquid smoke products demonstrate anti-bacterial properties, according to research conducted by Kansas State University and published in 2008 in the Journal of Food Science. Scientists believe that the addition of liquid smoke flavoring might offer some protection from E. coli and other food-borne contaminants.

Read more: How do they make liquid smoke flavoring? | Answerbag http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1961978#ixzz2SlDI04G7


Just thought I would share my smoke studies with you all.......RTB................words.gif

post #9 of 12

Unfortunately, as others pointed out, there is no conversion table from Liquid to actual Smoke. I am one that feels Liquid Smoke in a recipe is no different than adding Wine or any other Seasoning. It has it's usefulness a frankly if you hit upon a Hot Dog Recipe, using Liquid Smoke, that has your mouth watering Hours or Days later...DON'T CHANGE A THING! When you feel like playing you will need to use Hickory to smoke your Dogs unless you are using Liquid Mesquite. Anyway, as Hickory is pretty strong, you might start with 4 hours of smoke and go from there. I would suggest small batches of 1 Lb and then let them Rest 24 hours for the smoke flavor to balance out. 


I noticed you are in NY, what Brand of Hot Dogs would you compare yours to? I am from NJ and would give anything to be able to match the flavor of Schickhaus or Best Hot Dogs. They make the greatest Texas Wiener Chili Dogs...JJ

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys.


@rexlan: I know I said 2-3 tsp, but I actually misspoke. It was like 2-3 caps (whatever that amounts to).


@RTBBQ2: I had no idea that liquid smoke was healthy!!! Now I'll just have to add it to everything for health reasons :D.


@Chef Jimmy: I suppose there's no real harm in keeping it the way it is. I was just thinking that I wanted to justify the addition of nitrites. I'm one of those people that doesn't want to add anything to their concoctions unless it is absolutely necessary. Adding nitrite to a fresh sausage (which is what my recipe essentially is) just for flavoring purposes doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. I can justify the addition (in my mind, of course) by actually smoking it in a smoker because the exposure to the temperature danger zone would make the addition necessary.

post #11 of 12

The addition of Nitrite to Cold/Cool Smoked sausage does contribute to flavor and of course the pink color of Hot Dogs and Kielbasa. But the main and most critical reason for Nitrite addition is Safety and avoiding the very real possibility of getting Botulism from the bacterial growth during the long low temp smoking of the sausage. There have been multiple studies that show you eat more Nitrites in a Salad, as they are naturally occurring in many Green Vegetables especially Celery, than you get in a Hot Dog or a breakfast of Bacon and Eggs. So unless there is an Allergy issue then it is in you and your families best interest to add Cure #1 to the mix. The other option is to leave the Cure out and Hot Smoke the Hot Dogs at 225*F until they hit 165*F but they will not look or taste the same...JJ

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

While it is important to add for safety reasons, I was under the impression that the addition of nitrate are only necessary if the sausages are cured or smoked for extended periods of time inside the temperature danger zone. I will keep adding it as a safety precaution, but I don't think it is absolutely 100% necessary for the safe consumption of the hot dogs.

Also, in reference to your previous question about my favorite brand: I unfortunately do not have one. I have resorted to making my own because I keep kosher, and the quality and taste of the vast majority of kosher sausages are exceptionally sub-par. I also live in Upstate New York (in Rochester, about 1.5hrs east of Buffalo), where the selection of kosher foods is much more limited than in NYC.

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