Hickory smoked salt: uses & recipes

Hickory smoked salt
Hickory smoked salt is a type of seasoning created by smoking salt crystals over hickory wood chips, infusing the salt with a smoky, woodsy flavor, similar to mesquite smoked salt. The salt takes on a dark brown color and has a slightly coarse texture. This salt works incredibly well with grilled meats (BBQ grilled steak), vegetables, and soups.

What is hickory smoked sea salt?

Hickory smoked salt
Hickory smoked salt

Hickory smoked salt is a type of salt flavored with hickory wood smoke. It is common as a seasoning in various cuisines.

OriginLikely from the southern US
CuisinesMouthern and southwestern US cuisine
AppearanceDark brown
Flavor profileSweet, nutty, somewhat bitter

Origin

The process of smoking salt has been used for centuries by various cultures worldwide. However, the specific use of hickory wood smoke to flavor salt is believed to have originated in the southern United States, where hickory wood is abundant and used in traditional barbecue.

Cuisines

Hickory smoked salt is present in southern and southwestern US cuisine, particularly barbecue, grilled vegetables, or red meats such as jerky, brisket, and ribs. It also adds a smoky flavor to other cuisines, such as Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine.

Use it in marinades, stews, or with other spice blends as a finishing salt.

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Appearance

Hickory salt typically has a dark brown or black color, with visible specks of the smoked hickory wood throughout the salt crystals.

Flavor profile

The hickory smoke flavor is characterized by a bold, smokey taste that enhances the food. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor with a hint of bitterness. The intensity of the smoky flavor can vary depending on the amount of hickory wood used in the smoking process.

Nutritional Benefits of hickory smoked salt

Besides its flavor-enhancing properties, smoked sea salt may also benefit your digestive system and help prevent dehydration by regulating your body’s fluids. Smoked sea salt contains minerals like zinc, potassium, and iron. Sodium also helps in reducing blood pressure and managing nerve impulses.

As a chemical-free alternative to artificial smoke, smoked sea salt allows you to enjoy the delicious taste of smoke without worrying about harmful chemicals. Any natural sea salt, like Himalayan pink salt, is also a gluten-free spice and a great alternative to MSG.

What is the difference between smoked salt and regular salt?

Smoked saltSmoky flavor, brown, seems less salty
Regular saltNo particular flavor, white

Smoked salt is a type of salt that is smoked over wood or charcoal, giving it a distinct smoky flavor. The smoking process can also alter the texture and color of the salt.

The smoky flavor of smoked salt can make it seem less salty than regular salt, even though the sodium content is the same.

Regarding flavor, regular salt has a specific salty taste, while smoked salt has a complex flavor profile that includes smokiness, earthiness, and sometimes a hint of sweetness. Smoked salt adds depth and complexity to dishes, particularly those grilled, roasted, or smoked.

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What recipes call for smoked salt?

Smoked salt is a great ingredient that adds a smoky flavor to any dish, and hickory smoked salt is particularly popular. Here are some exciting uses of smoke salt:

  • Smoky Guacamole: Hickory smoked salt is a perfect addition to guacamole. It adds a smoky flavor that complements the creamy avocado perfectly.
  • Smoked Salted Caramel Sauce: Adding hickory smoked salt to caramel sauce can take it to a new level. The smokiness balances out the sweetness of the caramel, creating a deliciously complex flavor.
  • Smoky Sweet Potato Fries: Hickory smoked salt is an excellent addition to sweet potato fries. It adds a smoky flavor depth that complements the potatoes’ sweetness.
  • Smoky Deviled Eggs: Hickory smoked salt is a great ingredient to add to deviled eggs. It adds a smoky flavor that enhances the richness of the egg yolks.
  • Smoky Margaritas: Enhance the presentation of your cocktail by using it to coat the rim of the glass. 
  • Smoky Meats: Smoke salt gives your dishes a delicious, smoky, and earthy flavor that enriches a variety of meats, including beef, tuna, chicken, burgers, steak, and more.

How to make hickory smoked salt?

Making hickory smoked salt at home is a straightforward process requiring some essential ingredients and kitchen equipment. Here are the steps to make hickory smoked salt:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of hickory wood chips
  • A baking sheet
  • A smoker or a grill
  • A glass jar with a tight-fitting lid

Steps:

  1. Preheat your smoker or grill to a low temperature of about 200°F.
  2. Spread the coarse sea salt evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Add the hickory wood chips to the smoker or grill.
  4. Place the baking sheet of salt on the smoker or grill grate, and close the lid.
  5. Smoke the salt for about 2 hours or until it has absorbed the desired amount of smoke flavor.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the smoker or grill, and let the salt cool to room temperature.
  7. Transfer the smoked salt to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and store it in a cool, dry place.
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Your homemade hickory smoked salt is now ready to use! 

What is the best way to store smoked salt?

The best way to store smoked salt is in an airtight container, jar, or directly in a shaker or grinder, in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. This preserves the flavor and prevents moisture from affecting the salt crystals.

Alexandra

Alexandra is a passionate writer with a deep appreciation for food - not just as nourishment but as an expression of culture, a reflection of history, and a celebration of life. She knows that everything in life requires a little spice - and gets a kick (get it?) every time she achieves the perfect combination of heat and depth.

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