By smoking salt, you can give food a smoky flavor without doing any actual smoking. It’s pure smoke in a jar.
Game plan: This recipe makes 1/3 cup smoked sea salt, but you can smoke larger quantities. Just use a larger pan and make sure the salt sits in a thin layer in the pan.
Special equipment: We recommend using a charcoal grill or a smoker for this recipe. You will also need long heatproof tongs, matches or a lighter, newspaper, 2 buckets of water (one to soak the wood chips and the other to refill the aluminum loaf pan), 2 oven mitts, 1 disposable aluminum 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, 1 disposable aluminum 8-inch square pan, and an oven thermometer.
A chimney starter, which looks like a large beer stein, is handy for lighting charcoal. They can be purchased at hardware stores or online.
Lump charcoal is preferred because the charred pieces of wood burn hotter and cleaner than briquettes, the uniform black pillows made from carbonized wood and a starchy binder. If you do buy briquettes, avoid the self-lighting ones, which are laden with chemicals.
Buy pure, resin-free, bark-free wood chips. Choose your wood chips based on the origin of the ingredient you are smoking. For example, use cedar chips for Pacific salmon and hickory chips for Southern catfish. For this recipe, we recommend hickory chips, but any wood will do. Wood chips can be purchased at most hardware stores and grocery stores during the summer months, or online.
This recipe was featured as part of our smoking project.