How to Smoke Sea Salt
Apparently Rob has always been the type to eat fancy food. It’s just the way they ate when he was a kid. Last year we visited his family in New Orleans and we went to an oyster bar. It was my first experience and I think it wasn’t quite for me. I couldn’t have the raw oysters but I tried a charbroiled oyster and I thought it was so much ew. The waitress suggested I try the barbecued shrimp instead and when they came out they had eyeballs and legs and the whole bit. Erm, okay. To be fair the shrimp were quite tasty once I got over my supper looking at me.
And then the other night Rob cooked Persian food and I was put off by the look of it, but I tried it and when Rob told me it wouldn’t hurt his feelings if I ate a bowl of Fruity Pebbles for supper so I wound up doing just that.I’m just not much of a fancy food gal, I suppose. I was raised on chicken and dumplings, chicken fried steak and a regular diet of meat and potatoes.
But I’m learning. I had never had Thai food before my Mr. Rob and now I’m a huge fan. And Vietnamese pho? It’s one of my favorite things in the world since he took me to try it 2 years ago. We had French food and I thought it was okay. It was a bit too rich for me but it was tasty. See? I’m getting out there.
Since Rob is doing the majority of the cooking these days because he has found he really enjoys it we have a pantry door FULL of different herbs and seasonings. It seems like every time we go to the store he’s tossing something in the cart and often he has no clue what it will taste like. Then he throws a whole bunch of business in a pan and sometimes it works and sometimes, well I can always have a bowl of cereal for dinner :)
Since we had purchased and loved smoked sea salt but couldn’t find it again I decided to make us a whole bunch of it. And I bought a bunch of little glass jars with grinding lids so we can also give it as gifts. It’s super easy and can add really interesting flavor to the most humble of foods!
For this project you will need:
- Smoker – I used this Nordic Ware indoor/outdoor kettle smoker
- Coarse ea salt
- Tin foil
- Grinding bottles
First thing’s first I’m going to show you my new indoor indoor/outdoor Nordic Ware kettle smoker. It’s this big pot system that you heat with a stove burner, oven or grill. Inside is a small pan, that looks like a round cake pan that you can put water in to smoke things that need moisture, like seafood. It can be left out to grill things in a very dry environment like our salt, here. Above that is a perforated tray that rests on a lip of the bottom piece of the smoker that you put your food onto. Then the lid goes on top of that and a thermometer goes into the hole as seen above so that you can keep track of the temperature. On the other side is a vent just like you see on outdoor grills that look much like this guy that you use to keep in or let out the smoke inside.
The awesome thing about this sucker is you can use it inside. It gets so freaking hot here and it’s nice to be able to enjoy smoked foods without sweating over a hot something or another every time you need to check on your food. If you have a good vent hood I would totally suggest one of these. As it turns out our venthood really sucks. In fact, we don’t know if it actually vents outside. From our experience we think it actually goes up into the attic and stops. Whomp, whomp. While we are renting we have decided to use it with my hot plate either in the garage with the door slightly open or on the back porch. But I truly still love this thing.
These are grinder jars I snagged on Amazon because they were cheap-ish and were enough that we could gift the salt, but it looks like I got in on the tail end of this thing as they are sold out. You can purchase any others you can find, or you can call around the restaurant supply stores. Now if you’re making this just for yourself you need only purchase a single and there are tons of grinders that would work for that.
Inside of the bottom of your smoker place 1-2 tablespoons of wood chips. These came with my smoker and are tiny, little shreds.
Place the food tray onto the lip and make a makeshift bowl out of aluminum foil and place it on this grate. Heavy duty works best but you can double layer with the thinner stuff. Pour coarse sea salt into your bowl and use your hand to level it out. A thin layer works best but if you need to make a lot, as I did, you can stir the stuff up every 15 minutes or so to make sure every piece gets smoked. Smoke for about an hour.
Tah dah! Allow the salt the fully cool and then grab a spoon with a spout or a larger funnel.
Pour the salt into your jar(s) and place the grinder lid on top.
And that is quite seriously that! :) Grid some on top of a baked potato for an interesting new taste or add to macaroni and cheese for a super savory flavor. Be sure to experiment. There’s no telling what will be made even better with smoked sea salt!