How To Make Smoked Salt In Your Own Backyard
It’s summer, so our BBQ is being used in full force. We’ve been busy smoking anything we can fit in that BBQ, including a 20-pound turkey – but that’s a post for another day. 😉 Today, we’re focusing on making smoked salt – and the 100 reasons why you should (okay, 3 of the BIGGEST reasons why you should).
3 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Own Smoked Salt
First, the stuff tastes fantastic.
It’s a perfect finishing salt to add to tomato soup, or on top of an avocado – or anything you want to impart a smokey kick. It’s as good, if not better than some of the gourmet smoked salts you buy in the grocery store.
Second, it’s far cheaper to make this at home. Some of the fancy finishing salts are super expensive. Get as fancy as you want to be with this and still save a load of money.
And if you need one more reason, these make great gifts! It’s the perfect host/hostess gift, especially if you are going to a BBQ this summer. A great gift for any BBQ lover or foodie on your holiday gift list!
I’ve even included the labels so you can print them off and make your own fancy bottles to give away. You can find the download toward the bottom of the post.
But honestly, I don’t think you will give them away. I think you’re going to hoard your smoked salt in your cupboards.
You seriously need to make a batch! In the middle of winter, when it’s cold outside, you can add a pinch of fire-roasted goodness to your dishes and pretend that it’s still summer.
I mean think about the possibilities:
- Smokey Mac N Cheese
- Sprinkle on mashed potatoes
- Rim a Bloody Mary
- Add to homemade mozzarella
- Make smokey rubs to use in the oven
- Sprinkle on a bowl of pumpkin soup…
- …and on and on
Are you convinced? I hope so!
~This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.~
Must Know Tips When Making Smoked Sea Salt
When I first started getting into making smoked salt, I has so many questions. I was able to narrow down the important questions and tips I felt everyone should know before starting to smoke salt in your own home.
whICH is the best salt to smoke?
After trying out all sorts of different salts, we finally narrowed it down to the best: Sea salt – the flakier and chunkier, the better.
My go-to choice is Maldon because that is my favorite salt by far, and it’s thin and flaky, which is perfect for smoking.
But, you don’t have to buy expensive Maldon salt either. We did smoke up some coarse sea salt, which worked just as well.
Maldon does make a smoked salt but I find the smokey flavor in it to be very dull, which is what started my journey in smoking salt.
You can smoke fine sea salt too. Honestly, though, I think of smoked salt as more of finishing salt. Fine salt doesn’t add that amazing crunch, nor does it add that punch of fire-roasted smokey flavor.
What’s the best wood to Use When making smoked salt?
We’d have to go with applewood – by far our favorite!
After trying several different kinds of woods on several different salts, we both agreed that the applewood smoked salt was the best.
Don’t get me wrong. The other types of wood made great tasting salt too, but the applewood was superior because it’s:
- The most versatile of all the smoked salts we’ve tried.
- Imparted the best clean smoke flavor that paired well with everything.
Like anything that has to do with food, this is just a matter of personal preference. Honestly, smoking salt is super easy to do, so I recommend trying a few different kinds of wood to find what you like the best.
With that said, I also have to say that we’ve never made a smoked salt that I didn’t like. Other woods that we tried were:
- Rum barrel
- Maple bourbon barrel
But, if you don’t want the fuss of experimenting, go with applewood. It does a great job, and you just can’t go wrong if you start out with applewood.
There are also specialty wood chips you can find on Amazon that we like too:
What temperatures are needed to make smoked salt?
We’ve smoked salts at 250F and 400F, and I have found that the only thing that changes is how long you have to smoke your salt. We end up with the exact same result whether we smoke:
- At 250F for 5-6 hours
- At 350-400F for 2-3 hours
I did read a recommendation that you should cold smoke your salt for 12 hours. We tried that, and I did not like it at all. It was an incredibly powerful (over the top) acrid smokey salt.
However, if you want something stronger, add a few hours to your smoke.
For a tried and true smoked salt, I recommend smoking it at 350F for 2-3 hours.
Can I smoke salt in a gas BBQ?
Yes, you can! You should take a look at this A-MAZE-N 12” Pellet Tube Smoker.
I am going to recommend that you invest in this beautiful little device. The A-MAZE-N pellet tube smoker allows you to cold smoke in your gas BBQ.
I’ve used it in the past, and it works great. It takes pellets (not wood chips or wood chunks), so that’s an extra investment. But, it turns your gas BBQ into a cold smoker.
Ingredients Needed TO make Homemade SMoked Sea Salt
To make this smoked salt recipe, you need:
- Flakey sea salt (or coarse salt)
- Your favorite wood for smoking
- A BBQ or smoker
When I was trying to figure out how to smoke salt, I used a lot of different woods, a lot of different methods, and went through a lot of salt!
Here is a list of what we used to make our favorite applewood smoked salt.
- Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakes – Pack of 2
- 13″ Splatter Screen
- Apple Wood Chips
We have a Char-griller Akorn Kamado grill/smoker. It’s the best BBQ we’ve ever had and we love it! We wouldn’t replace it with anything else, and I highly recommend it.
After three summers of hard wear and tear, this thing is still going strong without any issues! My husband smokes everything in that thing:
- Grilled cheese
- And more
Honestly, if it’s food, I’m sure that we’ve tried to BBQ it or smoke it at some point.
I also bought a frying pan splatter screen, stainless steel, and bent the handle up so I could put it inside our BBQ.
The screen is perfect for coarse salt. It allows the smoke to penetrate at the top and the bottom at the same time. I find this speeds up the process and makes it easy work.
How to smoke salt IN A Smoker
Smoking salt is as easy as pie. Wait, no. That’s wrong, it’s way easier!
I smoke 2 cups of salt on 300-350F for 2-3 hours. Then, I stir my salt and add new smoke chips every hour.
Pro Tip: Do not soak your wood chips. It will only delay your smoke and reduce the temperature of your coals.
Great smoking book
If you want an excellent BBQ book that delves into the science of heat, smoke, and flame, buy Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling. It’s the best BBQ book ever, and it will teach you many unusual tidbits that will take your BBQ game to the next level.
“How to smoke salt” was not a topic in the cookbook, but you can find some of the best recipes for your summer BBQ in there.
Storing your smoked salt
So I will admit- the salt improves over time. It mellows, gets a bit smokier, and the taste keeps getting better and better.
I prefer to store my smoked salt in mason jars and it lasts indefinitely. I still have some kicking around from last summer, and you would never know the difference between it and newly smoked salt.
Make sure to use airtight storage containers if you are storing for long periods of time.
Smoked Salt Label Download
I made these adorable labels that you can print off and add to your jars. You can print them on sticky label paper, but you will need to cut them. A paper trimmer makes the job even quicker and easier.
I printed mine on card stock and used a glue stick to slap them on the front of a 500ml (2 cups) mason jar. A bit of craft paper added to the lid and a twist of twine add a nice touch.
Want More Summer Recipes?
An easy recipe that takes hardly any effort but yields an amazing smoked salt for finishing dishes.
- 2 cups of salt
- Wood chips
Smoke 2 cups of salt on 300-350F for 2-3 hours.
Stir salt and add new smoke chips every hour
* Do not soak your wood chips
Does smoking different ingredients at the same time affect the flavors of the ingredients? For example, I want to smoke garlic, salt, and pork belly separately, and all three would fit in my smoker. Will these flavors blend if I smoke them simultaneously?
Hi Adam, yes, we’ve smoked garlic and salt simultaneously without any issues. We haven’t tried smoking meat at the same time and my thought is the moisture from the meat could be a problem for the salt, but without testing it I can’t say for sure.
I live in a high rise appt with a tiny balcony and lease says no bbq grills of any sort… is it possible to make a smoked salt in a stove top smoker with hickory wood chips? Hope this isn’ta stupid question, just trying to replicate your process with what I’m allowed.
Thanks in advance,
Hi Shirley, I’ve never used a stovetop smoker but after looking at them online this morning and trying to get an idea of how they actually work I’d say it is possible. Now I say that with hesitation because I don’t like to say something is possible without trying it myself, but I do think you can smoke salt in it the same way. The process should be generally the same. I’d certainly give it a try if it was my only method. Good luck and let us know how it turns out, I know readers would be interested in that information for sure. Cheers!
Thank you for the great information
Got any ideas on bacon flavored smoked salt?
Oh, that one is a tough one. I know you can get artificial bacon flavor, but I am not at all sure how authentic it would taste, or even if you would want to. I’m really not sure how you would go about doing this one. Sorry!
This is so fabulous, thank you for the info and for the labels as well. These will be fantastic Christmas gifts! You have a label called Sriracha and it peeks my interest because we are a sriracha loving family. But I couldn’t find any info in your article as to what that entails. Am I being silly? I searched sriracha wood chips and all, lol!
Hi Kelsey, good catch. I swear the note about the sriracha salt was in the post, but I just double-checked and it’s not. So weird. I add a tablespoon (or more) of Sriracha to the salt prior to smoking. You don’t want to add so much that it melts the salt. You will also want to dot the salt with the sriracha sauce and blend it in gently. We love sriracha on pretty much everything, so this was a fun test that turned out amazing. It’s not super spicy but creates a finishing salt that has a bit of spice and smoke.
How much wood are you using per hour? I use chunks in my Weber Smokey Mountain and would like to try this.
I toss on a handful at the start, and another handful every 45 minutes. Keep an eye out on the color of the salt, you don’t want it to be light amber in color when it is done, anything more than that and I find the salt becomes acrid and bitter.
Where do you get rum barrel and bourbon oak wood chips?
Hey Luke, I updated the post to provide links to the rum barrel and bourbon oak chips that we use. You can find all the woodchips on Amazon. I also found a brand at Walmart that we like called McLeans, and they make the rum barrel, bourbon oak and a few others I haven’t tried yet like whiskey barrel.
The bourbon oak chips are a current favorite of ours for grilling burgers. SO good!
What type of coal are you using or is it wood chips only ?
We use hardwood lump charcoal for the heat, and the wood chips for the smoke. Hope that helps Tammie!
I’m just wondering , I currently have an electric smoker , it has a water pan is it necessary to fill the water pan ?? I also ha r the cube which I can fill with pellets , if I smoke it the grill va the smoker would it be a cold smoke or turn the grill on??? hope these aren’t annoying. Questions
Hi Stella, I am not very familiar with electric smokers, unfortunately. If you no longer have the manual for your smoker, you should be able to find a copy online which will give the correct instructions for smoking items like salt. Cheers!
I was wondering if you had ever used smoked salt in place of regular salt during the curing process of making home made smoked salmon….
And if you had what effects it had on the finished result?
Maybe even eliminated the need for cold smoking after?
Hey Joe, No I have never used smoked salt to cure salmon but I doubt very much it would create the same depth of flavor that a true smoke would. Smoked salt lends a more subtle smoked flavor.
I lived in Vancouver for many years and had so many different types of smoked salmon and although it was never my favorite I was always shocked by just how smokey salmon can get.
The smoked salt may yield a much less intense flavor that some people (like me!) may enjoy more but true die hard smoked salmon fans may be disappointed at the lack of intensity.
Can I use an electric smoker?
Hi Becky, yes you can use an electric smoker. I do not have one, so I cannot recommend a process, but you can check the manufacturers’ website for instruction. I think using an electric smoker would yield more consistent results vs a charcoal bbq, but that’s just a guess on my part. Good luck!
I’m thinking of smoking kosher salt
Yup, you absolutely can Lynn. We’ve done it a few times. It has a nice surface area to absorb the smoke. Time frames are the same. The only thing to know is with coarse kosher salt is it is very dusty. You will want to place your salt on your tray and give it a shake somewhere because it will release lots and lots of salt powder. Don’t do it over the BBQ because it just crusts on your charcoal. Let me know how you like it!