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I was standing in the grocery store the other day, sniffing jars of smoked sea salts. They all smelled very good, but I couldn't get past their prices.
"Why," I thought to myself, "are these sea salts SOOO expensive?"
Of course, if I didn't have a recipe already at home telling me how to do it myself. I would naturally assume it took some special processing and special ingredients to get them this way. BUT, IT DOESN'T. It can be much easier and cheaper to get these Himalayan salt products, but I like having fun.
Smoking salts at home is super easy and you can make enough to share with your neighbors. And it won't cost you an arm, a leg and your first born.
There are four methods to making smoked salt: Stovetop, Wok, Charcoal Grill and Gas Grill (see bottom of post for direction of other methods). I chose the Charcoal Grill method to make Mesquite Smoked Sea Salt. I already had a bag of Mesquite chips on hand, so I said, "why not start here?"
HERE'S ALL IT TAKES TO CREATE SMOKED SALTS
- 2 cups wood chips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, then drained
- 2 cups coarse salt (kosher or sea)
Set up the grill for indirect grilling (putting all your hot coals to one side and leaving a cool side to work from). Toss the wood chips on the coals. Spread the salt in a thin layer in an aluminum foil pie pan and place it on the grate away from the fire. Cover the grill and adjust the vent holes to medium heat (350F deg.).
Smoke the salt for 1 hour. Cool the salt to room temperature, then move it to a jar and cover.
Set tin foil pan on the cool side of grill, away from coals.
One hour later.
Allow to cool completely before storing.
$1.29 and one hour of my time for 1/2 pound of smoked sea salt.
HERE'S THOSE OTHER SMOKING METHODS
Stovetop Smoker Method: Place the sawdust in the bottom of the smoker. Spread the salt in a thin layer in an aluminum foil pie pan and place it in the top of the smoker. Place the smoker over high heat. When you start to see wisps of smoke, reduce the heat to medium, tightly cover the smoker, and smoke the salt for 20 minutes. Cool the salt to room terperature, then transfer it to a jar, cover, and store away from heat and light.
Wok Method: Line the bottom of the wok with aluminum foil (a 6 inch square will do) and place the sawdust on top. Set a round wire cake rack in the wok. Spread the salt in a thin layer in an aluminum foil pie pan and place on the wire rack. Place the wok over igh heat. When you start to see wisps of smoke, reduce the salt for 20 minutes. Cool the salt to room temperature, then transfer it to a jar, cover, and store away from heat and light.
Gas Grill Method: Preheat the grill to medium. PLace the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat until you see smoke. Spread the salt in a thin layer in an aluminum foil pan and place it on the grate away from the fire. Cover the grill ans smoke the salt for 1 hour. Cool the salt to room temperature, then transfer it to a jar, cover, and store away.