It’s summer, so our BBQ is in full tilt. We leaped to charcoal a few years ago and never looked back, that smokey goodness is just too incredible to skip. We’ve been busy smoking anything we can fit in that BBQ, including a 20 pounds turkey – but that’s a post for another day. Today we’re all about how to smoke salt – and the 100 reasons why you should. (ok 3 reasons why you should)
How to Smoke Salt and Why You Should
First, the stuff tastes fantastic. It’s a perfect finishing salt to add to tomato soup, or on top of an avocado – or anything you want to impart a smokey kick. It’s as good, if not better than some of the gourmet smoked salts you buy in the grocery store.
Second, it’s far cheaper to make this at home. Some of the fancy finishing salts are super expensive. Get as fancy as you want to be with this and still save a load of money.
And if you need one more reason, these make great gifts! It’s the perfect host/hostess gift, especially if you are going to a BBQ this summer. A great gift for any BBQ lover or foodie on your holiday gift list!
I’ve even included the labels so you can print them off and make your own fancy bottles to give away. You can find the download toward the bottom of the post.
But honestly – I don’t think you will give them away. I think you’re going to hoard your smoked salt in your cupboards.
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So what is the best salt to smoke?
Sea salt – the flakier and chunkier the better.
My go-to choice is Maldon because that is my favorite salt by far and it is thin and flaky, perfect for smoking.
But you don’t have to buy expensive Maldon salt either, we did smoke up some coarse sea salt, and it worked just as well.
Maldon makes a smoked salt, but I find the smokey flavor is very dull, very non-existent hence the DIY BBQ adventure.
You can smoke fine sea salt too, but honestly, I find smoked salt is more a finishing salt. Fine salt doesn’t add that crunch, and I find it doesn’t add that punch of fire roasted smokey flavor.
What’s the best wood to make smoked salt?
Applewood – by far our favorite.
After trying several different kinds of wood on several different salts, we both agreed that the applewood smoked salt was the best.
Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the woods made fine tasting salt too, but the applewood was superior. I found applewood to be the most versatile of all the smoked salts we’ve tried. It imparted the best clean smoke flavor that paired well with everything.
With that said, I also have to say that never made a smoked salt that I didn’t like. Hickory, cherry, rum barrel, maple bourbon barrel, all worked perfectly well.
Like anything that has to do with food, this is a just a personal preference. Honestly, smoking a batch of salt is super easy, so I recommend trying a few different kinds of wood to find what you like the best.
But if you don’t want the fuss of experimenting, go with applewood. It does make a tasty smoked salt – you can’t go wrong if you start out with applewood.
What temperatures are needed to make smoked salt?
We’ve smoked salts at 250F and 400F, and I have found that the only thing that changes is how long you have to smoke your salt. At 250F we smoke for 5-6 hours – at 350-400F we smoke for 2-3 hours and end up with the same result.
I did read a recommendation that you should cold smoke your salt for 12 hours. Tried that, what I ended up with was an incredibly powerful – over the top – acrid smokey salt. I did not like it at all, but if you want something stronger, add a few hours to your smoke.
My advice – smoke it at 350F for 2-3 hours.
Ok, so what do I need?
You need flakey sea salt, or coarse salt, your favorite wood for smoking, a BBQ or smoker, and time.
When I was trying to figure out how to smoke salt, I used a lot of different woods, a lot of different methods, and went through a lot of salt!
Here is a list of what we used to make our favorite applewood smoked salt.
- Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes – Pack of 2
- 13″ Splatter Screen
- Apple Wood Chips
We have a Char-griller Akorn Kamado grill/smoker. We wouldn’t replace it with anything because it’s the best BBQ we’ve ever had. It’s fantastic, we love it, I highly recommend it.
After three summers of hard wear and tear this thing is still going strong without any issues. My husband smokes everything in that thing – turkeys, cheese, salt, pizza, grilled cheese- honestly if it is food I am sure at some point we tried to BBQ it or smoke it.
I also bought a frying pan splatter screen, stainless steel, and bent the handle up so I could put it inside our BBQ.
The screen is perfect for coarse salt. It allows the smoke to penetrate at the top and the bottom at the same time. I find this speeds up the process and makes it easy work.
How to smoke salt.
How to smoke salt is as easy as pie. Wait, no that’s wrong, it’s way easier.
I smoke 2 cups of salt on 300-350 f for 2-3 hours. I stir my salt and add new smoke chips every hour, and I do not soak them.
All that soaking will do is delay your smoke and reduce the temperature of your coals.
If you want an excellent BBQ book that delves into the science of heat, smoke and flame buy Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling. The best damn BBQ book ever. It’s where I learned all about why you shouldn’t bother soaking wood and many other unusual tidbits that will take your BBQ game to the next level.
How to smoke salt was not a topic in the cookbook, but you can find some of the best recipes for your summer BBQ in that book.
Can I smoke salt in a gas BBQ?
How to smoke salt in a gas BBQ? Buy an A-MAZE-N 12” Pellet Tube Smoker.
I am going to recommend that you invest in this beautiful little device. The A-MAZE-N pellet tube smoker allows you to cold smoke in your gas BBQ.
I’ve used it in the past, and it works great. It takes pellets, and not wood chips or wood chunks, so that’s an extra investment, but it does turn your gas BBQ into a cold smoker.
Storing your smoked salt
The salt improves over time. It mellows, gets a bit smokier, and the taste keeps getting better and better.
I store my salt in mason jars, and it lasts indefinitely. I have some kicking around from last summer, and it still tastes terrific. Use airtight storage containers if you are storing for long periods of time.
I made these adorable labels that you can print off and add to your jars. You can print them on sticky label paper, but you will need to cut them. A paper trimmer makes quick work of the job.
I printed mine on card stock and used a glue stick to slap them on the front of a 500ml (2 cups) mason jar. A bit of craft paper added to the lid and a twist of twine add a nice touch.
You seriously need to make a batch! In the middle of winter, when it’s cold outside, you can add a pinch of fire-roasted goodness to your dishes and pretend that it’s still summer.
I mean think about the possibilities! Smokey mac N Cheese, sprinkle on mashed potatoes, rim a Bloody Mary, add to homemade mozzarella, make smokey rubs to use in the oven………..