Most people know about hot smoking as a way of cooking meats or briskets. All you need are wood chips, a smoker, the meats you’d like to cook, and after a few hours, you’re feasting on succulent delights. However, smoking is used not only for cooking briskets but also to add more flavor to spices, making your food taste even more delicious. Smoked spices allow you to bring the smoky flavor of the outdoors to your dishes no matter the season. In this article, you’ll discover two proven techniques for smoking spices.
The Cold or Hot Smoker
You’ll need an Amazen Pellet Smoker or other similar hardware for this method.
- Gather all the spices you’ll like to smoke.
- Get perforated pans or aluminum oven pans for each of the spices.
- If using aluminum oven pans, grab a skewer and poke tiny holes in each one, so smoke can come through. For fine, tiny spices like paprika, there is no need to poke holes in the pan because it will fall through the holes if you do.
- Pour hickory or other smoking chips into the Amazen Pellet Smoker and light both ends.
- Load the Amazen pellet smoker along with all the spices into your smoker – the pellet smoker should be well away from the spices if cold smoking.
- Leave the smoker smoking for about 5 to 48 hours or however long you’d like to – you can refresh the pellets or hickory chips once they’re spent. Make sure you stir your spices after each refresh.
Note that you don’t need a colossal smoker for this method; a Bradley smoker or barbecue grill will do fine.
The Stovetop Technique
For people without a smoker, try the following technique.
- Pour one cup of wood or hickory chips as a heap in the middle of a pan.
- Turn the temperature of your stove to ‘High’ heat.
- Grab some matches and light the hickory chips, letting them burn until they’re black.
- Reduce the heat to the ‘Low’ setting.
- Line a perforated pan with aluminum foil – a perforated pan has small holes that allow smoke to pass through.
- Sprinkle your spice (e.g., sea salt, pepper, etc.) on the lined pan evenly.
- Place the lined, perforated pan on top of the wood chips and cover the pan.
The length of time to smoke a particular spice will vary, depending on how smoky you like your spices. For instance, with the temperature at ‘Low’ heat, you can usually smoke sea salt for 15 minutes and black pepper for four to six minutes – if using the stovetop method. Make sure you store your smoked spices in air-tight containers.
Spices smoked for at least 12 hours will typically develop a rich, brown color – such as sea salt, which turns yellowish-brown when ready for use. You can smoke other spices, including paprika, cinnamon, rosemary, cumin, crushed red pepper, and others. For cold smokers, aim for a minimum of 24 hours. Lastly, while you can purchase everything you need to smoke your spices at most hardware stores, it’s often better to buy already smoked spices. Have fun.