Barbecue sauce is a staple in many kitchens, adding a smoky and tangy flavor to various dishes. But what if you want to take that smokiness to the next level? Can you add liquid smoke to BBQ sauce?

The answer is yes! Adding liquid smoke can enhance the flavor of your BBQ sauce and give it that authentic smoky taste. In this article, we will explore how to incorporate liquid smoke into your homemade BBQ sauce for a delicious and flavorful result.

What is Liquid Smoke?

Liquid smoke is a concentrated form of smoke that is captured by passing natural smoke through a cooling chamber, condensing the vapors into a liquid. It is often made from various hardwoods, such as hickory or mesquite, and provides a rich and intense smoky flavor without the need for an actual smoker or grill.

Choosing the Right BBQ Sauce

Before adding liquid smoke to your BBQ sauce, it’s essential to start with a good base. You can either use store-bought barbecue sauce or make your own from scratch using your favorite recipe. Opt for a mild or neutral-flavored base so that the added smokiness doesn’t overpower other flavors in the sauce.

Making Your Own BBQ Sauce

If you decide to make your own BBQ sauce, here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

  1. Ingredients:
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  2. Instructions:
    1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
    2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Remove from heat and let it cool before using.

Adding Liquid Smoke to BBQ Sauce

Once you have your base BBQ sauce ready, it’s time to add the liquid smoke. The amount of liquid smoke you add will depend on your personal preference and the intensity of smokiness you desire. Start with a small amount, such as half a teaspoon, and gradually increase until you achieve the desired smoky flavor.

Note: Liquid smoke is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. It’s always better to start with less and add more if needed.

To incorporate liquid smoke into your sauce:

  1. Pour your desired amount of BBQ sauce into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the liquid smoke gradually while stirring continuously.
  3. Taste the sauce after each addition to ensure you don’t overpower it with smokiness.
  4. Once you’ve reached your desired level of smokiness, give the sauce a final stir to ensure it’s well blended.

Tips for Using Liquid Smoke in BBQ Sauce

Balancing Flavors

Bold flavors: If you prefer a bolder flavor, you can add additional ingredients such as hot sauce, chili powder, or cayenne pepper to your BBQ sauce. These additions will complement the smokiness and add an extra kick.

Sweetness: Adjust the sweetness of your BBQ sauce by adding more brown sugar or honey. This will help balance out the smokiness and create a well-rounded flavor profile.

Marinating Meat

Aside from using BBQ sauce as a finishing glaze, you can also use it as a marinade. The addition of liquid smoke will infuse the smoky flavor into the meat while it marinates, resulting in a deliciously flavorful dish.


Incorporating liquid smoke into your BBQ sauce is a fantastic way to elevate its flavor and give it that irresistible smoky taste. Whether you’re using store-bought sauce or making your own from scratch, adding liquid smoke allows you to enjoy that authentic barbecue experience without needing a smoker or grill.

Remember to start with small amounts of liquid smoke and gradually increase until you achieve your desired level of smokiness. With some experimentation and fine-tuning, you’ll be able to create a BBQ sauce that perfectly balances sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors for all your grilling adventures.