What is smoked sea salt?

smoked sea salt
Smoked sea salt is regular sea salt smoked over a wood fire for a long time to produce flavored salt. It adds a smoky flavor to grilled dishes or flame-grilled saltiness and smokiness to non-grilled dishes. Smoked sea salt is coarse-grained and golden, light brown, or dark colored and is a staple spice in Texan barbecue, especially if smoked over mesquite wood.

What is smoked sea salt?

Smoked sea salt is rock salt or sea salt flakes that have been hot or cold-smoked slowly over untreated, bark-free burning hardwoods for up to two weeks. Some may be smoked over juniper, even though it’s a softwood that produces less heat than hardwoods.

TypesVarious types such as maple smoked, mesquite smoked, oak-smoked sea salt, and more
OriginHas been around for centuries, common in North American cuisine
AppearanceLight brown, golden, or dark colored
Flavor profileCan be mild, intense, or sweet

What are some types of smoked sea salt?

Smoked sea salt types
Smoked sea salt types

Smoked pure sea salt falls under different types, depending on the type of wood used to smoke it:


The history of smoked sea salt is almost as old as salt itself. People have been using salt to flavor food since 6050 BC, but smoked sea salt came later and has been around for centuries.

Smoked sea salt is a common spice in North American cuisine, where it is used on nearly every grill-cooked dish to boost the smoky flavor.


Smoked sea salt is light brown, golden, or dark colored, depending on the type of wood and how long it is smoked. For example, pecan smoked sea salt is golden, while hickory smoked sea salt is dark brown.

Sea salt is usually minimally refined or unrefined and has coarse grains. It’s sold in glass jars.

Flavor profile

While smoked sea salt retains its salt flavor, the smoky flavor and aroma stand out with its mildness, intensity, or sweetness.

All types of smoked salt have a smoke flavor, but each takes on the flavor and aroma of the wood used to smoke it. Sea salt smoked with applewood has the most delicate flavor. It is sweet, woodsy, fruity, and earthy.

Sea salt smoked with chardonnay oak also has a delicate flavor with hints of aged wine.

Besides smoked sea salt, other salt types, such as Himalayan pink salt and Kosher salt, may also be smoked.

Nutritional Benefits of smoked sea salt

While sea salt is sodium chloride, its natural evaporation process and little to no refining help it retain some useful minerals.

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Sea salt has boron, manganese, silicon, potassium, calcium, bromine, zinc, copper, and iron. Zinc and iron help make enzymes in the body.

Smoked sea salt may promote a healthy digestive system. Sodium chloride enhances the absorption and transportation of nutrients in the intestines once they break down through digestion. Chloride helps in the production of stomach acid.

Smoked sea salt may help prevent dehydration. Sodium chloride helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in your body.

What is the difference between smoked sea salt and regular sea salt?

Smoked and regular sea salt are similar in chemical composition, only that the former is the wood-smoked version of regular sea salt.

Both smoked and regular sea salt have the same salty flavor, but the one in the smoked version is enhanced by the smoky taste of the wood used to smoke it.

What is smoked sea salt used for?

Smoked sea salt adds a smoky flavor to grilled dishes or flame-grilled saltiness and smokiness to various non-grilled dishes.

In the US, mesquite smoked sea salt is a staple spice in Texan BBQ. Southern US cuisine features smoked hickory salt in ribs, red meat, maple syrup, prawns, ham, burgers, bacon, pork, honey, and turkey.

You can use smoked sea salt as a garnish for snacks, breakfast, and even cocktail drinks. Sprinkle it on grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh veggies, eggs, avocado, or drinks such as margaritas and bloody Marys.

Vegetarians use smoked sea salt as a finishing salt in stews, soups, and vegetables. They also use it as a substitute for bacon rumbles in vinaigrette dressings, salads, and deviled eggs.

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You can use smoked sea salt as a rub for meats, including pork, poultry, fish, turkey, and beef. It’s also an excellent spice in wet dishes like sauces, stews, soups, and marinades.

Why is smoked sea salt more expensive than regular sea salt?

Smoked sea salt is more expensive than regular sea salt because of the added smoky flavor. While it may sound simple, adding the flavor takes up to 14 days of smoking the salt under a wood fire. Hardwoods are also expensive.

Can I smoke my own sea salt?

You can smoke your own sea salt at home using a gas grill with a functioning smoker box or a pellet grill.

Add wood chips of your choice, depending on your grill model’s direction. Fill an aluminum pan with sea salt in an even single layer. Smoke your salt for 4-24 hours or more while occasionally stirring until it reaches an ideal flavor.

Alternatively, cold-smoke sea salt using a pellet smoke tube and a gas grill.

Add wood pellets to the grill and heat them to a controlled temperature below 80°F. Fill an aluminum pan with sea salt in a single even layer and place it on the grill gates.

Smoke the salt for 4-24 hours while occasionally stirring until it reaches the desired flavor intensity.

Allow the salt to cool before storing. If you prefer, pulse your coarse-grained smoked sea salt in a powerful grinder to produce fine-grain smoked sea salt that’s easier to dissolve in food.

Alex Maina

Since discovering how well spices transform a dish from bland to enjoyable in seconds, Alex became sold on using spices to better three of his major passions—gardening, cooking, and writing. When he is not tending to his spice crops, you'll find him trying a new recipe, writing for the Spice Gourmand, or serving a second helping of his spicy food!

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