I had been purchasing smoked salt for a while now, and wanted to try my hand at smoking my own. Research on this site led to a lot of conflicting advice and results, so I decided to try a somewhat scientific approach to the matter. I purchased 1 pound of sea salt from my local spice shop and decided to cold-smoke half of it, harvesting every 4 hours to monitor the results. I would then hot-smoke the other half using the same harvesting times.
But first, I would need something to hold the salt. Research here showed a lot of techniques and devices, but I decided to build my own using scrap materials found in my basement. I had some wood left over from a project a while back, as well as some window screen.
I started with a basic frame with a support running down the middle to reduce "tug" on the screen from the weight of the salt.
I used simple overlapping flap joints.
Then I got happy with my crown gun.
Finally, to ensure salt didn't fall off the side, I added some basic trim around the edges.
If I need to, I can also flip this over and ensure separation of ingredients, like if I wanted to smoke salt and peppercorns at the same time.
So here we go, it was smoking time! I would harvest every 4 hours.
Here we are in the MES40.
Bagged and tagged!
Here are the final results:
I was actually very surprised at the different results. To be honest, I had anticipated there being no difference between cold and hot smoking salt. It is, after all, a rock. It's not like the "pores are going to open up."
I waited a day to taste the results as I had read in some posts that people noticed that the smokiness dissipated after a day.
Cold-smoked for 4 hours = subtle smoke taste, really just a hint of smoke
Cold-smoked for 8 hours = vast upgrade from the 4 hour, a good beginner time for someone who has never had smoked salt before
Cold-smoked for 12 hours = now we are getting somewhere, good smoky flavor, but without that "burnt" taste that over-smoked salt can have
Hot-smoked for 4 hours = almost the exact same as the cold-smoked 12 hour version. A good shortcut and a good starting point for people who like moderate-smoked salt
Hot-smoked for 8 hours = Getting into the heavy-smoked salt flavors, you can really start to notice distinct flavors based on wood type
Hot-smoked for 12 hours = Awesome :)
Specs, for those people who like them:
MES40 with AMNPS
Pellets were 50/50 blend of hickory and oak
Cold-smoked using AMNPS only, MES40 was unplugged, ambient chamber temperature was around 90 degrees
Hot-smoked was at 275 degrees
Washington State solar-evaporated sea salt, I paid a little less than 8 bucks for one pound
Anyone got advice on smoking peppercorns? This was a three-day process that I don't want to go though again if I can help it. :) Thanks!
Edited by xutfuzzy - 8/9/12 at 6:01pm