Flavors of the Season: Smoky Flavor Applications

On Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, people all over the country are planning recreational time with their family and friends – and firing up their grills while they’re at it. From the most basic (but still delicious) burgers and dogs to the more complex grilled meals, Memorial Day is a wonderful day for food.


There are lots of reasons that people cook out. First of all, cooking on the grill is fun. In the backyard, by the pool, on the deck, or in the park, anyplace is the right place for a BBQ grill. People gather with their friends, enjoy a day off, and indulge in the tempting delights that come off the coals. Another – arguably more important – reason to grill is the sheer deliciousness of meat and veggies fired to perfection over the screaming-hot grate.


When it comes to what to cook on the grill, it’s all about flavor. Marinades and rubs are easy ways to add tons of taste with minimal effort – even when cooking inside. A marinade or rub with a smoky flavor will provide that grilled taste even when the food is cooked indoors, or when cooking on a gas grill, which doesn’t impart the same charred flavor as cooking over charcoal or wood chips.


Rib rubs are popular this year and are being used on more than just ribs. Everything from chicken to cauliflower can benefit from flavors such as garlic, onion, pepper, red chili flakes, allspice, and liquid smoke. Bacon is another way to add irresistible smoky flavor to many different dishes, as are dark, smoky beers. Smoked salt is a newer product that’s growing in popularity and being added as a finishing touch to dishes such as burgers and even pasta.


Another one of the trends heating up this year is smokeless smoke – environmentally-friendly flavors developed without combustion. These smoke flavors make great alternatives to traditional wood-fire smoking. They can be added to a wide variety of foods to impart a delectable smoky flavor – both traditionally “smoky” foods and those that aren’t, such as sauces, soups, and confections. Smokeless smoke flavors are sort of a natural alternative to liquid smoke, reduce smoking time while retaining the flavor, and can be customized into endless variations.


Memorial Day kicks off the summer season, and with it, months of outdoor grilling and delicious, sweet, smoky flavors. Products containing these elements are perfect this time of year, and there’s plenty of time to experiment with a signature smoky marinade, rub, or other product as people clamor for the bold, intense flavor of smoke in their summertime meals.