When the seasons change and you want to fondly remember those soft summer nights with the comforting flavor of food fresh off the grill, smoked salts are a great answer.
HICKORY SMOKED SEA SALT
- 2 cups coarse sea salt
- A classic charcoal grill at least 20 inches wide by 10 inches deep
- Charcoal I like natural lump charcoal
- 1 cup hickory wood chips
- 1 aluminum pan
- 9×13 inch glass baking dish a Pyrex thrift store find would work perfectly
- Remove the top grate of the grill, then pile up the charcoal on one side of the grill. (You’ll be smoking the salt over indirect heat on the side of the grill without the coals.) Light the coals and let them burn for 20 to 30 minutes until they turn white. Then place the wood chips on top of the coals. Place the aluminum pan next to the hot coals and fill to about 1 inch with water. Replace the top grate.
- Spread the salt evenly in the 9×13-inch baking dish. The thinner the layer of salt you create, the more surface area you will have to absorb the smoky hickory-chip flavor. Set the baking dish above the pan of water, opposite the coals. Cover the grill and allow the salt to smoke for about an hour, until a golden, smoky crust covers the top. Give the salts a good stir, then smooth them out and allow the salt to smoke for about 8 hours, or overnight. And that’s it!
- Smoked salts make a delicious homemade, gourmet gift. Try using different types of wood— anything from cherry to apple to bourbon soaked wood will give your salts wonderfully different flavor profiles.
- After your salts have been smoked, you can add other flavors to them to pump up the yum-factor.
- If you lay garlic or rosemary, for example, on top of your smoked salts, and cook them for a few hours in a 200°F oven. You’ll dry out the herbs and infuse your salt with additional delicious flavor.
- For an umami-packed enhancement to winter soups, roasted fish, or stewed meats, try pulsing dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms in a food processor and add to your smoked salt (1 part mushroom powder to 3 parts salt is a good ratio).
- Try mixing in a little chili powder or other spices; the options are really as endless as the salt in the sea.
Jen Harrison is the founder of Piper & Sloan, a blog and online shop where she has been “Celebrating the Art of Good Living” since 2015. She hosts creative workshops and international retreats, coaches women on how to better market their businesses online, and, sometimes, she digs out her old chef coat and caters dinners, women’s retreats, and gatherings. She lives with her three children, two chickens, and a few too many cats in Martinez, California.