Sugars provide energy, meat amino acids, spices a variety of antioxidants, but smoke has no nutritional value at all. So why have humans evolved to love its taste in food?
Many have prophesied our love of smoke comes from a primal yearning. The theory goes that we gravitate towards smoke and fire because smoking was a way of curing food to stop it going off. Is it ingrained in us that smoked food is good food?
Most of the flavour of smoke is actually smell - a trigger some believe awakens our inner cave man. But if all this sounds a bit airy-fairy and you're not a believer in ancestral memories - maybe the reason we love smokey food isn't even important.
Our pantries are full of smoked salt, olive oil, brown sugar, paprika and all sorts of goodies. More and more we're hearing about the art of smoking meat - low and slow, American style. This has been a wonderful trend that has made a hero of lesser cuts like briskets and ribs.
If you're not ready to splash out on a backyard smoker, we'd suggest taking baby steps with a hooded charcoal grill like a good old trusty Weber. There's some tips on getting started here or checkout our friends at Misty Gully - we stock some of their wood chips at our Rosanna butcher shop.
An easier option is the tried and tested backyard spit - you can easily add a smoker tray to your gas burner.
It doesn't need to be over complicated, just have a go - it's a fantastic thing to do with your family on the weekend and a great way to develop a love of cooking in young people. Check out this simple but effective method our managing director Steven Castle and his family enjoyed on the weekend.