Is liquid smoke gluten free?

Is liquid smoke gluten free?

Liquid smoke adds a smoky flavor to foods without the smoker. It’s often called ‘wood vinegar’ in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, China, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia. Liquid smoke is a common ingredient in barbeque sauces and marinades, baked beans, smoked cheeses, and sausages. It’s also found in snack foods and s’mores-flavored sweets. Liquid smoke is usually gluten free. We’ll get into specific ingredients below and let you know which brands are gluten free.

liquid smoke

The original Wright's liquid smoke from Tasting Table

What is Liquid Smoke?

Liquid smoke was first commercially produced in 1895 by Ernest H. Wright. It’s made when wood smoke comes into contact with cold air and condenses into a liquid. Modern methods of obtaining liquid smoke filter out the soot and ash and distill the vapor into what you’ll find in the store. This filtering process actually makes liquid smoke less carcinogenic than actual wood smoke, although you still don’t want to go too crazy with it.

liquid smoke

The best liquid smoke brands include only one ingredient: liquid smoke. But there are filler ingredients added to many varieties of liquid smoke. These include vinegar, sweetener, caramel coloring, and salt. In the US, caramel coloring is made from corn, so it’s safely gluten free. As long as a gluten free vinegar is used, and there aren’t any other unidentified flavorings, it’s most likely gluten free. Many liquid smoke manufacturers specifically label their products gluten free, so you can just stick to those.

There are some powdered versions of smoke flavoring available, and many of these use maltodextrin. Maltodextrin sourced from wheat is safe for most people with celiac disease, but you can always stick with a certified GF liquid version if you’re concerned.

Liquid smoke doesn’t contain any animal products, so it’s a good option when you want to add a smoky flavor to vegan meat substitutes and stews. In general, it’s a great ingredient to have around to easily add some smoky depth to a variety of dishes. As long as you use it in moderation and stick to gluten free varieties, it’s totally safe to consume as a celiac.

Gluten Free Liquid Smoke

There are a variety of woods used to make liquid smoke, so choose what’s appropriate for your recipe or your personal taste. Liquid smoke doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can last for up to two years in proper pantry storage.

liquid smoke

Stubb's hickory liquid smoke from Food Fire Friends

Gluten Free Liquid Smoke Recipes

liquid smoke

Smoked tea caramels from Food 52

* Title image courtesy of Kenny Eliason via Unsplash.

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