The Food Smoking Process
Are you a big fan of smoked flavours and want to know a little more about what goes into creating the tastiest smoked flavours? Well keep reading because we’re giving you a behind the scenes look into how we create the authentic smokey taste in our products.
There are several components to the process that we’ll talk about, including the use of traditional wood smoking vs the use of liquid smoke, as well as the use of different types of wood that is used to add to the flavour.
Traditional process vs liquid smoke
When creating flavours and sauces with a smoked flavour, there are two main options you can use depending on your resources. Firstly, there is the traditional way of getting smokey flavours – actually smoke the ingredients in some form of a “smoker”. This is how we create the deep flavour in the tomatoes used in our smoked products (e.g. Smoked Tomato Sauce, Smoked BBQ Chilli Sauce), the chicken for the MGK Tasting Room and Café Chicken BLT Burger, and the chillies in our hot sauces. The smokey flavours are amazing to taste and when you compare them to liquid smoke you can really tell the difference.
However not all companies can produce smoked products in such large quantities, and therefore use liquid smoke. The liquid smoke is exactly what it sounds like, bottled smoked flavouring – similar to vanilla essence – tastes pretty close but still not comparable to the real thing, except for a slight chemical taste. There isn’t really anything wrong with using liquid smoke (unless it’s mislabelled on the bottle), some just have a preference for authentic and quality flavours.
At MGK, as we manufacture all the products ourselves and produce on a smaller scale, we’re able to keep it traditional – just as we like it.
^ Our delicious Chicken BLT Burger available at our Tasting Room (9 Queen St Williamstown, South Australia). Succulent Barossa chicken is soaked for 24 hours in MGK’s own brine, smoked and slow-cooked for 4 hours over South Australian Mallee leaving the chicken juicy and full of flavour. YUM!
The wood used in the process
Different woods that are used in the smoker can give off different flavours which can enhance the ingredients natural flavours. Here at MGK we use South Australian Mallee as we want to keep as many ingredients as possible local. Mallee is a strong favoured wood that gives off a heavy smoke. It is important to get the amount of smoke introduced to the ingredients correct. Otherwise it can overpower.
Mallee is a group of Eucalyptus endemic to Southern parts of Australia. Dense and durable, the Mallee suited the dry terrains of the South Australian land, able to grow consistently and even sprout new shoots after fires.
During European settlement, a lot of the mallee root was cleared to make way for vegetation and farming purposes. Despite this, European settlers were shocked to discover “the roots of such mallees were seen to provide abundant quantities of clear, usually tasteless, drinking water shortly after being dug up by [Aboriginal Peoples]”1.
^ Dave smoking Pork Ribs at home!
Noble, J. C., Kimber, R. G., 1997. On the ethno-ecology of mallee root-water. Aboriginal History Journal. Australian National University Press. DOI: http://doi.org/10.22459/AH.21.2011
More info about the Mallee: https://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/education/programs/mallee.pdf