• A Smoking Addiction

No, not that kind of smoking addiction – I’m talking about all things edible that are smoked first

Smoked meat has been a personal favorite for as long as I can remember. And the first time I had smoke-flavored black-eyed peas, I fell in love. But I was never sure how the beans were flavored, presumably with liquid smoke, which I’ve always found to be a suspicious ingredient. Call me unadventurous.

In recent years, however, we’re seeing more options for smoky indulgences. In the past year, a good friend introduced me to smoked cinnamon and smoked paprika; the later has become a regular in many dishes served up in my kitchen. Soon after learning about these, I got a hold of some smoked sea salt and it, too, has a permanent spot in the spice rack. You can also get smoked garlic, smoked caraway, and probably several other options I haven’t discovered.

Smoked spices

Smoked paprika and apple wood-smoked sea salt take center stage in the spice rack.

Lately, spices smoked with particular woods are getting some attention. From pecan-smoked sugar to hickory-smoked sea salt, those with refined taste buds are getting a treat.

On a recent shopping trip, I found that my local health food store, which sells bulk herbs and spices, had some apple wood-smoked sea salt. I wasn’t sure if it would really be different from plain-ol’ smoked sea salt, but I just had to try it. Surprise! It has a lovely, deeper flavor than the regular smoked sea salt and really shines in the simplest of dishes – a fried potato and scrambled egg hash, for example.

Given its popularity, I know my friend and I aren’t the only ones who have fallen prey to this food fad. Do you have any smoky addictions and how do you like to use them?