Smoked sea salt is what the name says it is: sea salt that gets some of its flavor and color from the smoke. Think of it as a granular form of liquid smoke that provides saltiness along with a smoky taste. Smoked sea salt is easy enough to make at home when compared to liquid smoke. You can make your own version flavored with your preferred type of wood smoke and use it in any dish you can improve with a salty, smoky flavor profile.
Fat-free popcorn can be a healthy snack but may be low on flavor, which makes seasonings more important than on buttered popcorn. Salt is essential for this snack and smoked sea salt can bring an extra flavor that gives popcorn some savory complexity without fat. Of course, you can use smoked sea salt on regular popcorn as well — its smokiness will pair perfectly with the butter or whatever oil you use.
The smoky flavors you get from smoked sea salt is the perfect enhancement for roasted or grilled meats. Meats benefit from strong umami notes and smoke can give you some of those notes. You can use smoked sea salt by itself but it pairs well with strong spices. Use smoked sea salt to provide extra smoke flavor along with actual smoke or liquid smoke flavoring. Use it on steaks, pork chops or to season your hamburger patties. It works well with fish too — use it on salmon or trout to get a flavor similar to that of wood-smoked fish.
Vegan and vegetarian dishes
The flavor that smoked sea salt provides is most commonly associated with meat dishes. You will usually see the smoky flavor profile coming from smoked meats like bacon or pork shoulder. The crunchiness of the grains makes it a good substitute for bacon bits. Smoked sea salt is a convenient way for vegans and vegetarians to get a smoky note in their food without including meat. Use it in salad dressings or in a vegan potato salad.
Rimming tequila glasses
Smoked sea salt can provide a delightful addition to margaritas and other tequila-based drinks. Not only does its smokiness work well with these cocktails, but its grayish amber color can also create a contrast that improves their presentation.
In a Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary cocktail is an old and popular tomato-based drink that demands savory flavors; smoked sea salt can provide two. Salt and smoke can complement the spicy tartness that dominates this classic drink’s flavor profile. Use it to rim the glass the way you would with a tequila drink.
The traditional way to make jerky is over a wood fire outdoors where it will get its smoky flavor from the wood. For convenience, most people who make jerky these days make it indoors with a food dehydrator. When using a food dehydrator, use smoked sea salt to give it a smoky flavor instead of liquid smoke. Liquid smoke will add moisture, which is what you are trying to remove when you dehydrate the meat.
As a finishing salt
Smoked salt can take on a color that may range from amber to gray. In both cases, it can create a striking visual effect. The paler the food, the greater the contrast and the more dramatic the effect.