Elevate Turkey Burger Lettuce Wraps With A Bit Of Liquid Smoke

Turkey burger lettuce wraps can be a delicious, healthy substitute for your traditional burgers. Plus you don't need to fire up the grill for these patties since the turkey burgers are baked. However, if you're someone who loves the charred smokey flavor that grilled meat offers, the prospect of a baked burger may seem lackluster. This is where liquid smoke comes in. This ingredient offers a hint of umami, smokiness and captures that addictive charred flavor from the grill. Tasting Table recipe developer Chanel Murphy-Lowe uses liquid smoke as the secret ingredient in her recipe for turkey burger lettuce wraps to give her burgers a greater depth of flavor. "It adds a smoky flavor to the burgers, mimicking the taste of grilling. It's not a common ingredient in all turkey burger recipes, so it gives this one a distinct flavor profile," Murphy-Lowe explains.

Liquid smoke is a unique ingredient that is made by burning wood chips you'd typically use in a grill. The smoke from these wood chips is then condensed into a liquid that captures that smoky flavor and aroma. You can even get specific flavors from the type of liquid smoke you use. Just like in grilling, different wood chips produce different aromas and tasting notes. You could have a sweeter, fruity-tasting note by using applewood liquid smoke or a more robust, spiced flavor by using mesquite wood liquid smoke. This lets you experiment and customize the recipe to your liking.

Where to find liquid smoke and what to do if you can't

If you don't have liquid smoke already you should seriously consider making it a pantry staple. You can purchase liquid smoke at most larger grocery store chains or through Amazon. You can typically find it in stores either in the seasoning aisle or the condiment aisle. However, if you can't get your hands on liquid smoke there are plenty of ways you can substitute the flavor with things you already have in your kitchen. If you are new to using liquid smoke, take caution when using it because it can quickly overpower a dish. Murphy-Lowe uses 1 teaspoon per four wraps in her recipe; since it's such a concentrated flavor you don't need to use much. 

Murphy-Lowe recommends Worcestershire as a simple substitute. "Worcestershire sauce is a great substitute for liquid smoke if it's not available. It adds a savory and umami flavor to the burgers, which can be a wonderful complement to the other ingredients," says Murphy-Lowe. Another easy substitute for liquid smoke is to swap out one of the spices you use for a smoked version. You can easily opt for smoked paprika or smoked salt to bring in that smoky flavor without liquid salt. Chipotle powder is another common substitute, since it is made by roasting peppers it captures that charred flavor excellently.