This post is from contributing writer, Kendrick Cotter, of Furiousgrill.
In ancient times, salt was one of the most precious minerals because it could preserve foods and impart tasty flavors. Trade routes were established and wars were fought because of salt.
Salt is still important in modern times because it is the most effective way of flavoring foods. With the right type of salt, you do not even need to add other herbs or spices to create a delicious meal. Smoked salt is one of the newest foodie trends because it adds more depth of flavor to any food.
Though many people are in love with the subtle smokiness of this type of salt, many do not appreciate having to hunt it down and pay a premium price at specialty gourmet food stores.
However, you do not have to spend a lot of time and money to get some tasty smoked salt. It turns out that you can make it very easily from home!
Methods for Making Smoked Salt at Home
There are plenty of different ways of smoking your own salt at home. Though you do not need anything besides a pan and a stove, you can get more flavor with a grill. All you need is salt, and some wood chips or sawdust. Read all these different methods and see which one you like best.
Using a Charcoal Grill
This is the most basic method, and it works well with even a simple grill.
Step 1. Soak two cups of wood chips in cold water for at least an hour. Hickory chips work well, but you can experiment with other types of wood.
Step 2. Fill your grill with charcoal and light the coals.
Step 3. Allow the charcoal to burn for about five minutes to bring up the heat.
Step 4. While the charcoal is heating up, fill an aluminum foil pan with 2 cups of coarse kosher or sea salt. Shake the pan to distribute the salt into a thin layer across the bottom.
Step 5. Put all of the hot coals to one side of the grill and toss the wood chips over the hot coals.
Step 6. Put the grate on the grill and set the pan on the side without any coals beneath it.
Step 7. Cover your grill and adjust your venting so that it maintains an even, medium heat.
Step 8. Smoke the salt for one hour and then remove it from the grill.
Using a Gas Grill
If you have a grill smoker combo grill or your gas grill has a smoker box, this method is very easy.
Otherwise you can buy your own smoker box or make a makeshift one by placing wood chips in a foil pan covered with aluminum foil that has a few holes poked in it.
Either way, here’s how to make smoked salt at home using a gas smoker grill.
Step 1. Soak wood chips for at least an hour in cold water.
Step 2. Preheat your gas grill until it reaches medium heat.
Step 3. Put two cups of coarse salt in a thin layer across the bottom of an aluminum pan.
Step 4. Add the wood chips to your smoker box and wait until you see some smoke appearing.
Step 5. Place the pan with salt in the grill, making sure that it is not in contact with the fire.
Step 6. Cover your grill and let it smoke for one hour.
Step 7: After one hour, check your salt and it will be ready.
Using a Stovetop
This method helps you to create a makeshift smoker with nothing more than a deep pan, a wire rack for baking, and an aluminum pie dish.
If you have an actual stovetop smoker, you can substitute it for the pot and pie dish contraption and follow the rest of these steps.
Keep in mind that this can set off your smoke detector if you are not in a well ventilated kitchen!
Step 1. Line the bottom of a wok or dutch oven with aluminum foil and put an inch of sawdust in the bottom. You can easily get hickory sawdust for smoking food, but any type of smoking-grade sawdust will work.
Step 2. Put a wire baking rack on top of the sawdust in the pan.
Step 3. Place the pie dish on the baking rack and spread a thin layer of salt on the bottom of the dish.
Step 4. Cover the wok or pot and place it over high heat.
Step 5. Wait until you see bits of smoke and then smoke the salt for about twenty minutes.
Tips for Cooking With Smoked Salt
When you are finished smoking your salt, you should let it cool to room temperature. It can then be put in an airtight container or mason jar. Store it in dark place that is not subjected to moisture or extreme heat, and your smoked salt will last for a very long time.
After making all of the tasty smoked salt, all you have left to do is enjoy it. Of course it can be substituted in any recipe that calls for salt, but the smoky flavor makes it particularly suitable for certain uses.
Dry rub meats before searing: Salt helps to create a nice crust while searing meats because it interacts with the liquids within meats. Steak, pork chops, and chicken thighs all benefit from a bit of additional smokiness because they have such a strong flavor.
Add it to desserts: Mixing savory and sweet flavors together can create an amazing flavor explosion. Next time you are trying out a recipe for salted caramel brownies or toffee fudge, consider adding a tiny pinch of smoked salt.
Garnish your cocktails: The strong flavors of alcohol can really compliment the taste of smoked salt. It works particularly well with strong, salty cocktails like a Bloody Mary or a Mezcal Margarita.
Flavor vegetable side dishes: When you have really fresh, flavor-packed produce, all you need to season it is usually a sprinkle of smoked salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It works equally well on raw items like tomato slices or cooked items like roasted broccoli.
So, making smoked salt at your home is very easy and everyone with basic grilling knowledge can do it.
There is no reason to spend your hard-earned money on expensive smoked salt with fancy packages.
Just pick your preferred smoking/cooking method, some salt and follow the upper-mentioned instructions. You should be able to make a delicious and very useful smoked salt in just 1-2 hours, which will give a special taste your meals.
Kendrick C. Kotter is a part-time barbecue blogger who loves sharing his knowledge and passion about grilling and smoking food. He tries to provide only the most useful tips, tricks, guides and reviews on FuriousGrill. You can also follow him on twitter and pinterest @furiousgrill.