Fanning the Flames of the Smoke Revolution

Smoke Condensation Technology and Trends in Smoke Flavoring

Smoky Ribs. Smoked salt. Even smoked milk ice cream. The technique of using smoke to prepare our food dates back to when cavemen first discovered fire and has never been more popular than it is today. TV shows sing its praises and BBQ restaurants are all the rage. With the recent naming of Franklin’s Barbecue here in Austin, Texas, as one of the top 15 restaurants in the country, smoked food has proven its staying power and its ability to cross economic barriers.

Through the ages little thought was paid attention to the health aspects of utilizing smoke for food preparation. In today’s changing culinary landscape, we are at a crossroads, where consumers are demanding more flavor and complexity for less money. Many consumers are also asking for healthier options.


I recently attended an educational session at the Research Chefs Association annual conference, presented by Red Arrow, a company that provides flavors to the food industry.  Through the use of advanced smoke filtering technology, Red Arrow is able to offer smoke flavor profiles without the addition of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), which have been determined to be carcinogenic.  With the controlled pyrolysis of hardwood sawdust, they are able to offer a great smoke profile without PAH.  Because PAHs are found in the particulate phase of smoke, Red Arrow is able to filter them out, creating Condensed Natural SmokeTM.  Other benefits of this process are that the fly ash and oil tar resins, which are natural by-products, can be recycled as well, allowing for a very green business model.

One very innovative product based solution that Red Arrow showcased at the RCA show was the ability to combine different smoke flavor profiles which can be customized to the customer’s specific needs. Condensed Natural SmokeTM products provide the added benefit to foodservice establishments to create a great smoked product without the long wait times that traditional smoking techniques typically require. Since the flavor profiles are customizable, this translates to consistent quality flavoring each and every time.  A customized flavor profile also allows the customer to add smoke where it previously was impossible. 

So, anyone up for a smoked coconut snow cone?


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