Definition, Applications, and Frequently Asked Questions

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HOW Does Liquid Smoke Read on a Food LABEL?

You've probably already seen it on a label. Some of the common ways it appears on a label are “Natural Flavor,” “Liquid Hickory Smoke,” and “Liquid Mesquite Smoke.”

smoke ingredient list

Dry & Liquid Smoke Are FDA APPROVED.

Yes! It is safe to eat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has evaluated information on the products and concluded that the there is no evidence demonstrating that the products are harmful to the public. The products are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) under section 161.190.


It comes from real smoke concentrate. Products are created from the destructive distillation of wood, and there are no standards of identity or prescribed production methods for smoke flavors. Chips or sawdust from hardwoods such as hickory or mesquite are burned at high temperatures and particles of the smoke are collected in condensers.

Read more here: Ten Things You Should Know About Smoke Flavors

Common issues manufactures Have With Smoke

Some of the common frustrations in the food ingredient supply chain are long lead times, a poor customer service experience, and pricing inconsistency. Managing risks in these categories ensures business continuity and a baseline for company growth, but this peace of mind does not just happen, and it is one of the reasons distributions is needed in the supply chain: ensuring reliability.

Read more here: How Distribution Creates Reliability in the Supply Chain

What is the difference between traditional smoking and using liquid smoke flavors and products?

Smoking any food takes time. Certain temperatures and cooking conditions have to be met in order for production to be consistent. It can be a time and resource consuming venture. However, when using dry and liquid smoke ingredients, there is an increase in throughput compared to traditional smoking. Additionally, there can be more consistent flavor and even coloring throughout processing. That is why smoke flavors aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Not only are they more popular than ever, they are also easier to produce than ever before.

Another benefit of dry and liquid smoke ingredients is that it removes 98-99.5% of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons tied to traditional smoking. This can be seen as a value-add to today’s well-informed and health conscience consumer. Their expectation of clean and natural can still be met through the use of dry and liquid smoke ingredients.

Whether you are in the meat and poultry industry, processing smoked sausage or in the dressing, soups, and sauce industry producing barbecue sauce, dry and liquid smoke can play a vital role in keeping up with today’s consumer trends.

QST Smokehouse tips

#1 Use the Right Smoke

The best tip to ensure uniform smoke color of atomized liquid smoke is to use the correct product. Liquid smoke is usually designed for only one application method. Using the wrong smoke product for atomization can hinder the ability to get the correct product color and flavor. Using a highly concentrated smoke for atomization will help minimize the time spent in the atomization step in your smoke cycle.

Read more here: QST Smokehouse Series - Tip #1

#2 Keep Your Atomization Nozzles Clean

Noticing small black spots on your product surface after atomizing in your smokehouse? Unfortunately, this could be a result of inadequate cleaning of the atomization nozzles. Remove the nozzles and soak them in a dilute solution of a caustic cleaner. This will loosen any dried smoke in the nozzle that could restrict liquid or air flow. In order to maintain product consistency a routine procedure of atomization system cleaning is recommended.

Read more here: QST Smokehouse Series - Tip #2

#3 Minimize Your Smoke Cost

Every meat processor wants a competitive advantage. They strive to cut costs in every department. Even an ingredient as vital as smoke is taken into consideration when cutting costs. The components in smoke are crucial to the taste, appearance, and texture of your finished products. The easiest way to cut costs is to use a highly concentrated smoke. Smoke with a higher proportion of crucial components is more cost effective than less concentrated products.

Read more here: QST Smokehouse Series - Tip #3

#4 How Long Should My Atomization Step Be?

The right smokehouse schedule is crucial to the throughput in your smokehouse, as well as obtaining optimum color for any meat product. If the atomization step is too short, the product color will be compromised. If it is too long, product consistency can be affected. Around 20-30 minutes is the maximum for a medium sized house (6-8 racks). If a second smoke application is needed, consider using a high concentration smoke instead.

Read more here: QST Smokehouse Series - Tip #4

#5 Double Smoking

Many processors have found that a dual smoke application works best to utilize the benefits of both naturally generated smoke and liquid smoke, while also maintaining a “Naturally Smoked” designation on their label since liquid smoke is a natural product. Double smoking can lead to improved color and consistency, as well as increased throughput and lower total cost.

Read more here: QST Smokehouse Series - Tip #5

#6 Maintaining Your Drench Solution

A vital step in product consistency when using liquid smoke drench is to maintain the solution strength. A fluctuating solution can result in inconsistent color, decreasing flavor, and peeling difficulties. In order to minimize these affects it is necessary to maintain the acid level of the smoke solution at a predetermined concentration. Test the acid every hour or two to keep your smoke solution in the proper range to produce the best, most consistent product.

#7 Keep a Clean Drench Solution

One common area of concern when using a liquid smoke drench system is keeping the drench solution free from foreign material. A recirculating drench solution has a tendency to wash off loose particles of meat, casing, or fat from the outside of the product as it enters the smokehouse. This foreign material can be more than a nuisance, it can become a potential food safety hazard.

Curious about how to use liquid smoke to better your current smokehouse processing? Learn more about QST Smoke Flavors and their exclusive JRW offerings by calling JRW at (205) 595-8381.










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