Smoked salt is an aromatic edible salt product with smoke flavoring. It is a seasoning and is used as a shortcut to add smoked flavor to foods. Smoked salt consists mainly of sea salt and smoke volatiles condensed on the salt. An ingredient typically listed on smoked salt is sawdust.
Smoked salt lends a strong smoke flavor and aroma to meats and vegetables and is suitable for vegetarians. "Smoked salt" differs from "smoke-flavored salt" in that the latter contains a smoke flavored additive and is therefore not classified as a pure salt product. Smoked salt is typically made from evaporated "sea salt" as opposed to "mined salt". Both types of salt are sodium chloride (NaCl), but mined salt often has a more pronounced "salty" taste due to the iodine added for health reasons; therefore mined salt is typically not suitable for use in the manufacture of smoked salt.
Smoked salt is a manufactured product. There are several ways to manufacture it:
- place salt in a wood smoker
- coat salt with smoke-flavored oil (typically referred to as liquid smoke) (this would be 'smoke flavored' salt)
- mix salt with smoke-flavored maltodextrin
Natural smoked salt (consisting of only evaporated sea salt and wood smoke, although it is the sea water that is evaporated and not the salt) is much more costly to manufacture and purchase than smoke flavored salt (as in the oil and maltodextrin method reference above). This is due primarily to the cost of the specialized smokers needed and the time required to properly smoke the salt (5-10 days). Since salt is hygroscopic (attracts water), the smoking process typically results in a water waste byproduct and will ruin the batches if not done properly. Sea salt, though a dry product, contains water, which is naturally attracted to sodium chloride from the humidity in the air. This characteristic of salt has led to the development of often proprietary methods and machinery used in the processing and manufacturing of smoked salt for consumption.
There are three main U.S. sources for natural smoked salt: Saltworks, a Washington manufacturer of hickory, alderwood, and applewood smoked sea salt; Smokehouse Salt Company, a Texas manufacturer of hickory and mesquite smoked sea salt; and Smokehouse Spices, a New York based manufacturer of assorted smoked spices, including mesquite, hickory, and fruit wood smoked salts. Each company distributes retail product via websites and physical distribution channels.
- How to Make Smoked Salt
- Salish Alderwood Smoked Salt
- Smokehouse Salt Co.
- Smokehouse Spices
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