If you love BBQ, there is an equal chance that you are a fan of smoking your meals as well.
With the tremendous rise in the popularity of smoked meats, it’s quite shocking that not so many people use or even know much about Smoked salts.
You don’t have to smoke all your dishes conventionally to create the savoury flavor that you so much cherish. Using smoked salt is an easier yet effective method of achieving the same effect, if not better.
What is smoked salt?
Smoked salts, in simple terms, are sea salt flakes that have smoke from real, untreated wood added to them. Such salt does not use any artificial colors or flavors at all.
To create a rich flavor, commercially smoked salts are subjected to smoke from bark-free woods for up to 14 hours depending on the desired flavor strength and the method used.
The main reason for smoking salt for such a long period is to ensure that there is sufficient time for the wood to create add a unique flavor profile to the salt. Smoked salt flavor can either be subtle, bold, or sweet. As a complete product, smoked salt is supposed to not only add salinity to your dishes but also introduce the smokiness that is intrinsic to burnt wood.
Smoked salt has versatile applications, which is one of the main reasons why it’s perfect for anyone from meat-lovers to vegans and vegetarians. Besides, some smoked recipes simply can’t be prepared using the typical smoking process. Recipes that require hot and fast cooking may not produce enough smoke to create the desired flavor requiring the use of smokes salts, instead.
Which salt should I smoke?
If you would love to smoke salt by yourself rather than have to purchase it from the store, you would have to pay attention to a number of different factors. One of the main factors is the best salt to smoke. You may not have thought about it, but different types of salts would create a different flavor, even if they were smoked the same way.
The type of salt that has the best flavor as far as smoked salts are concerned is Sea salt. If you can get your hands on flakier and chunkier sea salt, the better.
That’s, however, not to mean that you can’t use fine salt too. If you are keen enough, you may notice a tiny taste difference between flakier and fine smoked salt, but not that much as to be a deal-breaker.
If you’re in a hurry, and want readymade salt for your meals. Do check these options:
- Hickory Smoked Sea Salt
- Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
- Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt
- Cherrywood Smoked Sea Salt
Best woods to Smoke Salt
Just like using a specific salt type would create a unique smoky flavor, so does smoking with a particular type of wood. There are endless types of wood that you can use, depending on how creative you are, what your preferences are, and probably the types of wood pellets that you have access to.
If you want to create bold wood flavors, you might want to use Hickory or Mesquite. If that does not work for you because you prefer a nuttier taste, you won’t go wrong with Pecan. And finally, for a sweeter flavor, a good fruitwood like maple hardwood or applewood should get the job done.
If you like exploring new ideas and trying new things, you might want to consider specialty wood chips that are available on Amazon such as Bourbon oak and Rum barrel. Keep in mind, however, that the ideal choice, just like anything that has to do with wood, is dependent on your personal preferences.
Since smoking salt is not that hard, your best bet would be to try different types of wood to see the one that works best for you. But if you don’t have enough time to try the different options available, go with applewood.
Applewood is widely preferred, mainly because it imparts a ‘clean’ smoke flavor that goes well with almost every dish. Remember, however, that what’s best for you may not be the best for someone else, so if you can, we insist on trying different types of wood and choosing the one that goes well with your taste buds.
What is the temperature needed to smoke salt and how long should it take?
When cold smoking, you should set the temperature to a value below 80°F, and let the process run for approximately 4 hours for the first time. If the smoky flavor is not as rich as you would have loved it to be after the 4 hours, increase the amount of time to end up with a richer flavor.
For hot smoking, the temperature should be over 250°F, with the smoking process taking approximately one hour. If you are after a stronger flavor, you can go with 5-6 hours of smoking. It is, however, possible to get faster smoking results with an increase in temperature, as long as the temperature does not go beyond 400°F. When smoking at a temperature between 350-400°F, the optimal smoking time should be 2-3 hours.
Is smoked salt healthy?
When using any spices or additives, the main question that may keep ringing in your mind is whether what you are using is healthy. Since sea salt is the main ingredient required when making smoked salt, you will enjoy the same health benefits of consuming regular sea or table salt.
As such, smoked salt does not affect your health any differently from regular sea salt. With that in mind, it is important that you consume smoked salt in moderation, just like you would with sea salt. Avoid getting tempted by the exciting and unusual flavors of smoked salt.
So, how do you make smoked salt?
Now that we know quite a lot about smoked salt, let’s delve into the process of making it from home.
To make smoked salt, you will need the following ingredients:
- A BBQ grill or smoker
- Flaky sea salt (coarse salt)
- Splatter screen
- Smoking chips or pellets from your preferred type of wood
- Enough time
Instructions for smoking salt
Once your grill or smoker is fired up and running, pour the sea salt into the splatter screen, and bend the handle up and sideways to make the screen fit better into tiny spaces. The main benefit of using a splatter screen is that the smoke can penetrate at the bottom, sides, and top.
After every hour, turn the salt and add new smoke chips or pellets as required.
Once two hours have elapsed, check the salt to determine whether the flavor is rich enough for you. If not, smoke for a few more minutes or hours, until you achieve the desired flavor strength.
After the smoked salt is ready, store it in a labeled mason jar. If you smoked salt using different types of wood, remember to label the containers correctly to avoid confusion later, when the time comes to use the salts. It’s crucial to use airtight containers if you are planning to store the salt for a lengthier amount of time.
Smoked salts will, without a doubt, add a magical touch to recipes in unique ways, and they will always come in handy if you can’t smoke your dishes using regular methods. Since the ingredients used are all-natural, smoked salt will not affect your health adversely, unless if used in excess amounts. In truth, smoked salts have more benefits as opposed to drawbacks as long as you use them rightly.
So, what are you waiting for? Prepare your smoked salt from home today, to give your grilled meals an extra touch of flavor.