How To Get That Smoky BBQ Flavor Without Firing Up The Grill

Now that the summer’s here, it’s time to fire up the BBQ, invite around your friends, and generally party on down. Oh, wait a second: it’s 2020, and parties are banned. No smokey BBQ flavors for you, then. 

Not so fast. While BBQ parties might be off the menu, BBQ flavors aren’t. It turns out that there are all sorts of ways that you can recreate them indoors. Some of them are common sense – other methods are total voodoo. Let’s take a look. 

Add Smoky Spices

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Smoky spices are critical for recreating that coveted BBQ flavor. When cooking ribs in the oven, for instance, you can add them to recreate that taste you’d get on the griddle quite realistically. 

The reason for this is pretty straightforward. These spices come pre-packaged with the same compounds that produce the smokey flavor you love. So when you smoke spices, like paprika, the actual flavor molecules are the same as when you char-grill meat. 

When it comes to smoky spices, you have a range of options. Top of the list, of course, is smoked paprika. If you’re cooking a Mexican dish, you can try chipotle, another type of smoke chili that tastes delicious. Other ideas include rubbing your meat with smoked salts, like bacon salt. 

Try Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke is available from a range of brands. This unique concoction seems to distill all the smoky flavor you crave into a single, dense shot you can then apply to meat. 

Again, the principle here is similar to smoky spices. You’re not just simulating BBQ compounds. You’re actually adding them. Most liquid smokes add a kind of hazy tang to your oven-cooked foods. It’s not quite the same as actual meat on the BBQ, but it does give you that same buzz. 

If you don’t like the idea of commercial liquid smoke, you can try things like smoked beer or even blackstrap molasses for that stickiness. If you go with one of these methods, we suggest marinating your food first. The more you can infuse the flavors, the more it will remind you of the BBQ. 

Add Bacon To Whatever You’re Making

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Bacon goes with everything – even sweet stuff. But, interestingly, it has the ability to improve the flavors of your regular recipes dramatically. Smoked bacon, for instance, automatically adds an extra salty BBQ edge to your dishes. Combine it with a bit of soy sauce and sweetness, and you have the perfect accompaniment to your oven-cooked meats. 

Use The Grill Pan

You don’t always need an open flame to sear meat. A grill pan on high heat will do the same job. These days you can get manual ones that sit on the hob or self-contained electric units that sit on your sideboard. It is something you want in your kitchen anyway, just in case you have a rainy day. 

So, which of these methods do you find the most enticing? Remember, you can always use them together to get even more BBQ flavors out of your food.