Did you know you can enhance soy sauce’s flavor profile by injecting smoke into it? The smoky essence enriches the condiment with a layer of savory depth and complexity. Here, I’ll show you 4 simple methods on how you can make smoked soy sauce at home.
We were introduced to smoked soy sauce many years ago and although we were instantly wowed by the flavor, it can be hard to justify spending $20 on a bottle. It was until recently when we had the opportunity to collaborate with Kemuri Baru on making the chef’s signature steak garlic rice, we were inspired to attempt smoked soy sauce at home.
Why bother smoking soy sauce? For the simplest reason, it makes everything taste better!
Soy sauce itself is amazing, so you can imagine its heightened awesomeness when it’s infused with smoke. The extra dimension of taste elevates various dishes like sashimi, meats, and other protein-based delicacies. The same reasons why we smoke meat, fish, or marshmallows: more savory depth and more complexity.
Today, I’ll show you 4 different methods on how to make smoked soy sauce at home. You’ll be surprised by the ease of it and the fun of producing your own fancy bottles.
Table of Contents
What is Smoked Soy Sauce?
Smoked soy sauce is pretty straightforward as it’s basically injecting smoke flavor into soy sauce. Smoke adds a dimension of flavor all its own, something rich and tantalizing to the all-mighty soy sauce. We would use it like regular soy sauce on dishes that are paired with savory applications.
Why You’ll Love This Smoked Soy Sauce Recipe
- A fun and simple cooking project to undertake. You can experiment with different kinds of wood chips yielding different flavors. Got a budding food explorer at home? Turn it into a science cum entrepreneur day with your kid(s). Make a few batches, design the labels, and create your own brand of smoked soy sauce.
- Use it like regular soy sauce to enhance a variety of recipes!
- You can save a lot of money with homemade smoked soy sauce vs. purchase. A tiny bottle usually sells for over $20 on Amazon.
- Perfect gift for any foodies!
4 Ways to Make Smoked Soy Sauce
The Ingredients You’ll Need
- Japanese soy sauce – You’ll need regular Japanese soy sauce. Take note that it is not the same as Chinese, Korean, or Thai soy sauce.
- Smoking ingredients: Wood chips (I used hickory) or liquid smoke
We included four methods below. Each method yields distinct levels of smokiness, so don’t hesitate to explore and find the one that suits your preferences.
Method 1: Use a Smoker
Use a pellet smoker that can hold its temperature steadily, and smoke the soy sauce at a low temp for 2 hours.
- Preheat smoker to 185ºF (85ºC).
- Pour 1 cup of soy sauce into a large oven-safe pan.
- Once the smoker reaches 185ºF, place the pan inside the smoker and smoke for 2 hours.
- Remove pan from smoker and let cool.
- Pour soy sauce into a bottle and store it in the refrigerator.
Method 2: Use a Smoking Gun
Have a smoking gun you use for cocktails? Use it to smoke soy sauce by sealing the cold smoke in a tightly sealed pot.
- Pour ½ cup of soy sauce into a flat non-reactive pan like ceramic or glass.
- Place the pan inside a tight-sealing pot.
- Add the wood chips and turn on the smoking gun according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Inject smoke inside the pot until filled and close the lid.
- Leave soy sauce inside the pot for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove the pan and pour soy sauce inside the bottle, and store in the refrigerator.
Method 4: Use a Wok
Economical method and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Heat up wood chips inside aluminum foil and place inside a wok, continue to heat until smoke comes out and infuse the soy sauce.
- Pour ½ cup of soy sauce into a non-reactive bowl.
- Cut an 8 x 12 sheet of aluminum foil and place it in a pan that has a tight sealing lid.
- Place ½ cup of wood chips on one side of the aluminum foil.
- Light the wood chip on fire with a culinary torch and fold the aluminum foil in half.
- Place a steam rack on top of the aluminum foil and the soy sauce pan on top.
- Close the lid and heat the pan on medium heat until smoke starts to fill up the wok.
- Turn off the heat and continue to smoke soy sauce for 20 minutes.
Method 4: Use Liquid Smoke
The easiest method is simply to mix liquid smoke and soy sauce. You are only limited by the variety of liquid smoke available.
- ¼ tsp liquid smoke, 1 Tbsp soy sauce.
- Mix liquid smoke and soy sauce, and adjust more or less liquid smoke to personal preference.
Recipe Tips and Techniques
- Different methods result in different intensities. Surprisingly, smoking the soy sauce in the Traeger pellet smoker for 2 hours had the lowest smoke intensity. The strongest intensity is by using liquid smoke.
- There are no wrong or right methods. Try different smoke intensities depending on how delicate the dish is. For a white fish sashimi, we would recommend just a hint of smokiness whereas for Asian pulled pork, the intense smoke flavor makes it taste like cooked over a wood fire.
- It’s really important to use a tight-fitting pot when infusing smoke, otherwise the smoke flavor does not penetrate soy sauce as well.
- Try different types of wood for different food, such as apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, and oak.
- If you do the wok method, don’t over-burnt the wood chips as it can introduce a bitter taste to the soy sauce.
Keep smoked soy sauce in an airtight bottle (I love this Hario dressing bottle) or mason jar. Refrigerate it for up to a month.
How to Use Smoked Soy Sauce
This is your soy sauce whenever you want your smoky flavor on!
- Rice – Steak Garlic Rice (coming soon)
- Stew – Instant Pot Short Ribs
- Salads – Smoked shoyu with extra virgin olive oil and honey makes a simple yet delish dressing for your salads.
- All sorts of vegetables, mushrooms, or tofu when you crave the extra smoky taste.
- Meats, seafood, and sashimi – Instant Pot Asian Pulled Pork, Saikoro Steak
- Desserts – Soy Sauce Caramel Ice Cream or on fruits such as mango, kiwi, and pineapple.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I smoke more than you specified?
Yes, test at our recommended time and if you desire a more intense smoke flavor, continue for another 10-20 minutes. Make sure to refill the pot or pan with more smoke for the extra duration.
What kind of wood chips do you recommend?
We like cherry and hickory as they work with many kinds of protein and don’t overpower the food.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Smoker – Any temperature control smoker such as Traeger
- Smoking gun – Amazon has many choices and we use the Smoking Gun® Pro
- 5.5 QT STAUB cast iron Dutch oven – Compared to other brands, Staub’s lid seals extremely well so the smoke does not escape.
- A wok with a tight sealing lid
Smoked Soy Sauce
- soy sauce (amount specified in the instructions)
The Smoker Method
- Preheat your smoker to 185ºF (85ºC). Pour 1 cup soy sauce into a large oven-safe baking dish. I used a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) glass oven baking dish. Tip: A baking dish with a large surface area helps to infuse smoke into the soy sauce.
- Once the smoker reaches 185ºF (85ºC), place the baking dish inside the smoker and smoke for 2 hours.
- Remove the baking dish from the smoker and let it cool. Pour the soy sauce into an airtight bottle or container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
The Smoking Gun Method
- Pour ½ cup soy sauce into a flat, non-reactive pan like ceramic or glass. I used a 5 x 5-inch (13 x 13-cm) ceramic oven baking dish.
- Place the pan inside a tight-sealing pot. I used a 5.5-QT Staub Dutch oven with a heavy lid. Next, add the wood chips and turn on the smoking gun according to the manufacturer‘s instructions.
- Inject smoke inside the pot until filled and close the lid tightly. Leave the soy sauce inside the pot for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove the pan and pour the soy sauce into a bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
The Wok Method
- Cut an 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30-cm) sheet of aluminum foil and place ½ cup wood chips on one side of the aluminum foil. Add ½ cup soy sauce to a non-reactive bowl.
- Place the aluminum foil in a wok that has a tight-sealing lid. Light the wood chip on fire with a culinary torch. Let the wood chips burn for 30 seconds.
- Fold the aluminum foil in half and press down. Place a steam rack on top of the aluminum foil and the soy sauce bowl on top.
- Close the lid and heat the pan on medium heat until smoke starts to fill up the wok. Turn off the heat and continue to smoke soy sauce for 20 minutes.
- Removed the lid and transfer the soy sauce to an airtight bottle or jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
The Liquid Smoke Method
- In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ tsp liquid smoke and 1 Tbsp soy sauce. Taste it and adjust more or less liquid smoke to your personal preference. You can use this ratio to make more. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.