Salt has been a staple in cooking for as far back as humans have been cooking. The oldest known town in Europe, Solnitsata, flourished thousands of years ago around its salt production. From salting meats for preservation to adding salt to nearly every dish, this mineral has become a vital part of human life.
Salt’s binding, stabilizing, and flavor-enhancing properties make it perfect for every dish. But did you know that plain salt isn’t the only kind there is? For even more flavor and a hint of the unique, say hello to smoked salt.
Among all the flavored salts and organic spices in the world, smoked salt takes its place at the top. Let’s explore smoked salt, what it is, the types that exist, how it’s made, what it’s good on, and how you can use it to boost your next delicious recipe. Read on!
What is Smoked Salt?
First of all, what exactly is smoked salt? We’re glad you asked. While you might be surprised by this, the definition is in the title! Smoked salt is simply any kind of salt that has been smoked. To elaborate, it is a type of seasoning used mainly in savory dishes that adds a natural, smoky flavor to the food.
Smoked salt is not the same as flavored salt. The first is made with natural smoking processes, while the latter is flavored using liquid or artificial additives. Additionally, in most cases, smoked salt is made from either kosher salt, coarse sea salt, or Himalayan pink salt, all of which capture the flavor and aroma of smoke very well.
If you were to pick up a bottle of smoked salt and smell it, you’d instantly be transported to a beach or a log cabin. Smoked salt traps that scent and flavor of wood smoke in every grain, meaning whatever you add it to will taste like it came straight out of the smokehouse.
Like flavored salts and other organic spices, smoked salt comes in different varieties. Every variety is made from one of two processes and with a specific type of wood. Each type of wood used will impart a unique smoke flavor to the salt. Here are some of the most popular smoked salt varieties:
Applewood: This smoked salt is made from the smoke of burnt wood from apple trees. It is a soft, delicate salt with a woody, fruity, and slightly sweet aroma. Most use it in veggie, fish, and poultry dishes.
Hickory: Smoked salt made with hickory smoke is an intense, sweet-savory smoked salt. The aroma and flavor are thick, as it were, with smoke, making it perfect for red meat dishes, like burgers, steaks, ribs, or anything that could use a lot of smoke.
Cherrywood: Cherrywood smoked salt packs that ideal beach-front flavor. The smoke is just right, with a robust, woody flavor that makes any dish taste like it was made on an open fire. Cherrywood smoked salt is delicious on everything from poultry, potatoes, fish, steak, and more.
Alderwood: This smoked salt is made from red alder wood smoke, which is a traditional smoking wood used by several Native American tribes. It is a balanced smoked salt that can be used on just about anything.
Mesquite: Mesquite smoked salt is probably the most unique of the flavors, as it imparts a smoky, sweet, salty taste that is the icon of Texas BBQ. It’s exquisite on anything grilled. It is an integral part of our fan-favorite Mesquite Lime Sea Salt Rub.
How Is It Smoked?
Now that you know what smoked salt is and the varieties you can find, you’re probably wondering how it’s made. It turns out that there are only two processes for smoking salt–hot smoked and cold smoked. For either method, the salt is allowed to capture all of that smoky flavor for anywhere from a few hours to up to two weeks while the wood burns slowly.
The hot-smoked method uses a grill heated to 275℉. The salt then sits in the wood-burning, smoky grill for as many hours as needed. The longer it sits, the more intense the smoky flavor.
Cold-smoked salts are made with a grill and cold smoker. The heat reaches no more than 80℉. Under this method, since it is on low heat, the wood burns very slowly, and even more of the wood-bark flavors are captured in the salt.
What is Smoked Salt Good On?
Like any salt, smoked salt can be used in a huge variety of dishes. Most commonly, it is used for grilled meats. A New York steak with some Hickory smoked salt could be a recipe that changes your viewpoint on steak altogether. You know those rather plain-tasting pork chops? Try adding a dash of Cherrywood smoked salt. You might just find a new favorite meal.
Smoked salts are also delicious on roasted vegetables, in stews and soups, and even as a garnish on a grilled cheese sandwich.
The next time you make a margarita or a cocktail, try adding some smoked salt to the rim of the glass.
If you like non-traditional desserts, smoked salts are delicious in a salted caramel sauce, a roasted balsamic-strawberry cake, or in a smoky maple syrup.
How Do I Use Smoked Salt?
The biggest thing to keep in mind about smoked salts before using them in a dish is that they are salts. This means that they should only be used where you might use salt. Additionally, because of the intensity of the smoke and the saltiness, you only need to use a small amount to get a big flavor boost.
Smoked salts can be used as a rub for meats before grilling, or you can make a rub for meats that will be roasted, slow-cooked, pan-fried, or boiled to impart that smoky, grilled flavor without the hassle of actually grilling it first.
Wherever you use smoked salts, use them sparingly, and be sure to rub or mix them into the meat or dish so you don’t get any overly salty bites. Smoked salts can be used before cooking or as a finishing garnish, and you’ll get the same intense flavor either way.
Looking for the Very Best Smoked Salt for Your Next Dish?
If you’re searching for some smoked salts to try in your next recipe, check out our line of organic spices and flavored and smoked salts at FreshJax. We offer organic, natural, chef-quality spices and salts for your kitchen. Find your new favorite smoked salt today!
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