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How to Use Smoked Salt

April 12, 2014

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Take the time to get to know it -- you might just find that smoked salt is one of the most versatile spices in your pantry.

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Some condiments have all the fun. Vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, and lemon juice are the cool kids of Flavortown, and don't get us wrong -- their popularity is well deserved. But while they're in the spotlight, other punchy flavor-bringers meet with more controversy. Cilantro never meant to be so polarizing. Mayonnaise can't sleep at night when it thinks about all its dissenters. Olives just say "haters gonna hate," and keep doing their thing.

So it's a cruel irony that sea salt gets all the glory while smoked salt, its edgy cousin, is a bit more of a handful. But don't let that scare you: Take the time to get to know it and it'll open up -- it might just be one of the most versatile spices in your pantry. This week, @allheartpr wrote to the Hotline in search of some tips, and the community made a good case for the stuff:

  • Use the salt for grilling, like Pegeen, who uses it for "meat, pork, or poultry, or in a grilling spice rub." Trena prefers it with grilled fish, and aargersi adds that it's "also a good addition to homemade BBQ sauce."
  • Or, use it in lieu of grilling: The Lard of Avon suggests using it "when you can't grill and still want that smoky quality real flames impart, or roast anything in the oven and still get that grilled flavor. The possibilities are endless."
  • Akrainey puts it in brine for turkey: "It adds a great layer of flavor. I'm sure it would be equally good in brines for other meats."
  • Good news: It works like a charm on vegetables, too. Emilie Puttrich uses it "to season sautéed edamame in their shells," and Julie combines it with lemon juice for steamed kale. HalfPint "likes to sprinkle a few grains onto fresh tomato slices...or over roasted vegetables."
  • Try adding it to your drinks -- Dave on the grill makes Bloody Mary seasoning with a mix of smoked salt and sea salt or celery salt, and suggests embellishing sriracha lime salt with a pinch of smoked salt.
  • You know you love salted sweets, so why not branch out from fleur de sel? Arcane54 sprinkles it on caramel, and suggests trying it "on vanilla ice cream that's been drizzled with dulce de leche."
  • And, a quick note on technique: QueenSashy points out that "you can always use half smoked and half 'traditional' salt to dampen the flavor a bit." 

What's your favorite way to use smoked salt? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Donna Reidy
    Donna Reidy
  • Alanna
  • e
  • Sekkyo
  • Nico Scheidemantel
    Nico Scheidemantel
Fond of large dogs, tiny houses, pungent cheese, and dessert for dinner (or breakfast).


Donna R. November 21, 2014
Just saw this post and found it interesting. As a seller of finishing salts, I enjoy good sea salt and really love smoked salts. I've found smoked salt to be good on so many foods, but particularly enjoy Hickory Smoked salt on fish or beefsteak tomatoes. I see that Sekkyo also like smoked salt on tomatoes. Good article, Remy.
Alanna April 14, 2014
Always looking for new ways to use smoked salt, and loving all these suggestions - thanks for this thread. I've used smoked salt in a rosemary peach maple leaf cocktail to play up the smokiness of the rye ( and I love putting it on padron peppers in the summer, esp. padron tacos ( I've been meaning to try it on popcorn or caramel corn, too.
e April 13, 2014
Since we are heading into the "outdoor cooking season" make use of all those grilling and smoking sessions to create your own uniquely flavored smoked salts.
Sekkyo April 13, 2014
There's few things it is better on than ripe juicy tomato slices.
Nico S. April 12, 2014
I have tried a few different varieties of smoked salt, and I think it's important to recognize the diverse flavor profiles that can be present depending on the "smoke" used. My favorite is hickory smoked salt, which I think has the best balance of sweetness and power. Baking a side of salmon rubbed with nothing but hickory smoked salt will blow your mind. The fish takes on a meaty, super umami like flavor from just 20 minutes or so in the oven. I also like to keep apple wood smoked salt around for sweet applications. As one might guess, it has a lighter, fruity smoke flavor that gives a little something extra to salted caramel or chocolate (or both!); I would recommend topping a rich devil's food cake with caramel frosting tinged with a bit of apple wood smoked salt. Then there's mesquite smoked salt, which I keep around during the summer months when tomatoes are in season. Thick slices of tomatoes sprinkled with the potent smoky flavor of mesquite make me feel like I'm having bacon with my eggs every morning! Just imagine all the calories I'm saving this way...
Motti April 12, 2014
I just made a baba-ganouj with pomegranate syrup, black nigella, roasted garlic, and meyer lemon, and alder smoked salt.
I rosted the eggplant in the oven, forgoing burning the skin on the range top because I wanted to try a new lazy technique for roasting an eggplant. It exploded out one side when tone, and the skin came right off, super simple.
To replace the smokey campfire flavor of the burnt skin i used a fair amount of alder smoked salt. It worked like charm.