I love the smell and taste of hardwood smoke. A couple of years ago, my wife and I found an organic pig farmer who also had a smokehouse and would smoke any part of the pig for you. We bought half a pig and he asked me which parts I’d like smoked. I said, “Smoke the whole damned thing!”. Big mistake. Not that it wasn’t good, but that’s a Helluva lot of smoked pig! We got a little sick of it.
Liquid smoke is an acceptable substitute but, although it’s all natural, i.e. it’s just hardwood smoke that’s passed through water to flavor it, it’s somewhat difficult to control the intensity of the flavor because it is so highly concentrated.
Last year I came across a wonderful locally-made line of hardwood smoked products under the brand, Smoke. I knew I was on to something when I noticed my wife liberally grinding the smoked pepper on almost all her food. A notorious hyper-taster, she would only ever use the slightest hint of pepper, and that on just a few things like eggs. And here she was emptying the small pepper-grinder every couple of days!
Alas, the only retailer where we had found the product no longer carries it, and I was forced to do some detective work to find the company. Fortunately, they have a terrific web site (although very slow to load, due I suspect to the very rich graphics), and they do accept on-line orders. I loaded up on everything I could find. The piece-de-resistance was the smoked basmati rice, which I can only describe as out of this world. They also have a smoked couscous that I have yet to try.
Some people don’t care for the taste of smoke, so of course it’s entirely a case of YMMV.
Super-nice people too. The web site doesn’t allow you to pay for the order on-line, so someone from the company calls you to complete the payment details. Not a problem, although it does add a day or so to completing the order. On the positive side, they don’t rape you on the shipping charges.