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Feb 27, 2012 10:35 PM

What would be a good, smoky tasting vegetarian substitute for ham hocks in split pea soup?

Would like to try the slow cooker recipe here on the site, but how to make it vegetarian by not using a ham hock? Liquid smoke?

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  1. I wonder if one could smoke miso they way one does cheese? Liquid Smoke is so full of chemicals that health-wise I'd bet you're probably better off using the meat.

    but then again baco-bits have no real meat in them and neither does bacon salt or Andy Capp's bacon fries.

    8 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      The ingredient label on Liquid Smoke: water, natural Mesquite smoke flavor, vinegar, molasses, caramel color, natural flavoring.
      All natural, vegan.
      Not sure where you get the idea that it "is so full of chemicals..."

      1. re: wyogal

        I dunno anytime the words 'natural flavoring' (what does that mean? all sorts of bad stuff is natural) is used my spidey sense tingles. I want to control what goes in so maybe I'm ocd, it just sounds wrong to try to get good smoke flavor out of a bottle. there I said it. I have a distinct and intractable prejudice. but I believe it is no safer than physically smoking the stuff with real wood. but that's fodder for elsewhere.


        1. re: hill food

          I saw a program on how they make liquid smoke. Believe it or not, it IS made from real smoke over real wood. I am a recent convert to the stuff since then. And yes, no safer. But, it is the real deal.

          1. re: wyogal

            I hear tell that Wrights is the brand that tastes most authentic.

            1. re: coll

              I've been using Wright's for YEARS. Just don't use a heavy hand.

            2. re: wyogal

              +1 on the liquid smoke. I'm really obnoxious when it comes to what's truly "natural," and even I eat the stuff. Plus a quick web search will show you that it is in fact less hazardous than smoking your food.

        2. re: hill food

          I purchased a cheap soldering iron I use only for smoking cheese, fish, and small pieces of meat and sausage. Put food on a grate, place your iron and favorite wood chips in a small metal container, plug it in, cover with a cardboard box and wait till the smoke subsides. .... and I think the words "natural flavors" sounds more appetizing than ..."we get a piece of charred wood and pour water over it" or "you are eating ashes"

          1. re: hill food

            Actually Hill Food, I can tell you how they make it easily. The wood is set to a smoking smolder in one chamber connected by tubing to a chamber. That chamber is purified or distilled water. The smoke enters that in the lower part of the chamber, filters through the water, and exits through a chimney at the top of the chamber of liquid. The smoke flavor remains in the water, and that is Liquid Smoke. The term Natural Ingredients simply means that man didn't make the water, and he didn't make the wood burnt to create this incredible flavor. I think your "spidey sense" is leading you astray on this one in every possible way known to man.

          2. I've used smoked mozzarella in Hoppin' John as substitute for bacon.

            Don't know if you do dairy. Wonder if the texture would work in your soup...

              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                I second the smoked sea salt. It's awesome and really imparts a depth without tasting artificial.

                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                  Yep, smoked salt is the answer. Spanish pimenton adds smokiness as well, but brings other flavors with it.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Pimenton add a slightly meaty flavor, at least to my palate, that I think works well in recipes like this. It's my typical sub when I don't want to use smoked meat in a recipe.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      That's exactly the point. Pimenton, or paprika, is a common response to these inquiries (see below) and a good choice. On the other hand, only the smoked salt is (other than the smoke) flavor neutral. I find each is good to have around and to know how to use.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        So... if one wants to combine a green pea and a red paprika spice....
                        Red and green do make 'brown' usually. (Yes, I realize this is not a painting class :-))

                      2. re: JungMann

                        pimenton is awesome stuff, but to a new user I would say a little can go a mighty long way. go slow.

                  2. Lapsang souchong tea works great! Put some in an infuser or cheese cloth and drop it in the pot. Or add as a brewed liquid.