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The Secret Ingredient For Sweet And Smoky Caramelized Onions

A bottle of honey whiskey
A bottle of honey whiskey - mmpixel91/Shutterstock

Caramelized onions are arguably one of the most mouth-watering toppings for a burger or sandwich. Pile them onto a delicious Philly cheesesteak or layer them between a burger patty and sesame bun, and you've just elevated your meal by 1000%. One big bonus of caramelized onions is that they're easy to make, and it doesn't take much. Still, when you want to impress some dinner guests, it never hurts to take your caramelized onions up a notch. If you're in the market for a secret ingredient to make the sweetest and smokiest batch of caramelized onions, pick up a bottle of honey whiskey.Here's how you can use it.

An essential part of cooking caramelized onions is the deglazing process. This is when you add liquid to the pan to help lift all the little bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan and move them into the dish. The deglazing step in caramelizing is what sets this cooking process apart from sautéing, as deglazing gives the dish a jam-like texture it otherwise wouldn't have. You also definitely want these bits in your meal because they are packed with extra flavor. While most recipes call for you to deglaze with wine, broth, or vinegar, you can experiment with other liquids. Honey whiskey is one choice that elevates this dish with a sweet, smoky flavor. Here's what else it can do.

Read more: Unexpected Ingredients You Never Thought To Use With Bacon

The Power Of Honey Whiskey

A pan filled with caramelized onions
A pan filled with caramelized onions - Mindstyle/Getty Images

As with many things, there is more than one way to deglaze caramelized onions, but here's why a honey whiskey will lend the best flavor. When you add in a splash of whiskey to your pan, the alcoholic bits will burn off, leaving nothing but the smoky notes of the alcohol and the sweet punch of honey. These complex flavors give a simple onion mixture a huge step up when compared with other common deglazers. Take your pick from all the different whiskey brands out there, as most seem to use real honey. But of course, always do some research first to be sure.

Now if you're not into the idea of honey whiskey or simply have other alcohol on hand at home, there's no need to stop your search for a better deglazer there. Get creative with the deglazing process and branch out. Consider trying out similar options like a smoky maple bourbon, or if you're into the idea of honey, why not give mead a try? Alcohols can especially lend a full-bodied, smoky edge to caramelized onions, but other non-alcoholic options are out there too. The choice is up to you.

What Else To Use To Smoke Up Your Caramelized Onions

A burger topped with caramelized onions
A burger topped with caramelized onions - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Now if you're wondering what else you can use to elevate honey whiskey caramelized onions, that's a trick question in our book. You can add virtually anything into caramelized onions. Here are a few common picks.

If you like your onions on the sweeter side, throw in some brown sugar. This sweet addition deepens the flavor and makes for an even thicker caramelization process. For fans of the smoky flavors, try adding some smoked paprika or smoked pepper for some more edge. These spices bring out the woodsy flavors in caramelized onions and will turn this topping into the main star of the meal. Another surefire way to elevate your onions is to use multiple deglazers. On top of the honey whiskey you could add something like homemade beef stock into the mix to make for an even more complex taste.

When in doubt, why not just try it out? You might just invent a new flavor combination, or even discover a new favorite meal.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.