5 Spices That are Better When Smoked
Try to imagine a day in the distant future in which you get tired of eating ribs, or brisket. On this day you become to lethargic or lazy to light the smoker, spend the time, and create smoked greatness. Right now, it may seem impossible, surely there will neve come a day that you don’t want to eat brisket. Let’s pretend then that day comes, but instead, it’s raining and lighting a fire is impossible. Let’s go with that. What now? That answer should be in your spice rack. A delicious aroma wafting throughout the house, calling to you, reminding you that smoked flavor is still available. When you smoke spices, you’ll always be ready to add deep, rich, smokey flavor to any dish. Having smoked spices is like having cooked bacon ready to sprinkle on food and they are amazing. Read about five spices that are better when smoked.
Typically, you want to cold smoke spices at a temp under 125 degrees so wintertime in a cold climate is the ideal setting. Most people don’t have a cold smoker or a smoke house but that’s okay because the grill or smoker will work. You can get away with higher temperatures around 225-250 on most spices because they won’t melt or scorch. If you live someplace warm or don’t have a cold smoker, just use indirect heat, and keep the fire as low as possible. The best receptacle to use is an aluminum baking pan because they are lightweight and cheap, so you don’t feel bad about tossing it. Spread the spices in the bottom of the pan so it’s not too thick. If it’s too thick then it will take longer in the smoker.
Larger spices like sea salt or peppercorns you should poke some holes in the bottom of the pan to let the smoke get underneath and swirl around to all parts. Poking holes with paprika or sugar will turn your pan into a big ol’ saltshaker so don’t try it. Either way, holes or no holes, you’ll need to stir the spice every 90-120 minutes, so you make sure everything is getting smoky. You’ll know right away with the salt if it’s working or not, the underneath will still be white while the top layer is turning brown.
Smoked sea salt should be the first spice you should try to smoke because it’s easy. White sea salt will turn deep brown once it’s absorbed plenty of smoke, making it easy to tell if you’re doing it right. Always use sea salt though because there are additives in iodized salt to keep it from clumping that can affect the flavor. To that point, stay as close to raw as possible with any spice you want to smoke. Always stay true to the flavor.
Cracked Black Peppercorns
What’s more basic than salt and pepper, right? Plenty of pit masters stick to the classic flavor profile of salt and pepper for good reason. They want the meat to speak for itself and not buried under a dozen different flavors. Smoked cracked peppercorns are another easy spice to smoke and take the smoke well, they are cheap to buy and a great one to learn on.
Smoked paprika is available in most supermarkets but it’s just not the same. What they mean is the peppers were smoked at some point, not the finished product, which is what we want. Paprika is another great smoked spice because it soaks up the smoke too. Spread the spices in the bottom of the pan so it’s not too thick. If it’s too thick then it will take longer in the smoker.
SPG-Salt Pepper & Garlic
SPG is still under the radar with some BBQ lovers but who knows why. Salt Pepper & Garlic is the wonder spice that has everything in on shaker. If you choose to make your own the easy way is to mix equal parts black pepper and garlic salt. Done. For some though the garlic salt is too sweet, so they prefer to get salt and garlic powder and do It that way. Then the ratio would be 1:1:1. They best part of course is play around with the ratio to make it to your own taste.
Oh yeah, get ready to live because smoked sugar is the hidden gem people don’t even know is a thing. Think about adding smoked sugar to chocolate chip cookies, Cream Brule, or in your morning coffee. Smoking sugar is more complicated than the others because you must watch the heat. If the temp gets up to 225 the sugar will melt, and you’ll be left with solid mass. You most certainly will need a cold smoker to pull this off.
Follow The Smoke Ring Society on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Be sure to like, share, and leave a comment or drop a hint for future content you’d like to see on any platform.