Smoking food is a finely calibrated art and Sean Hormann is our very own maestro in the craft of traditional hot and cold smoking. Sean is the owner of the Aphrodisiac Shack Smoke House Deli based in Villiersdorp and has been smoking ORYX DESERT SALT for many years now.
Smoking Oryx Desert Salt
Foods can be either hot or cold smoked depending on whether you want to only flavour the food with a smoky taste or if you want to both flavour and cook/preserve the food. Cold smoking means infusing food with a smoke flavour at below 14°C and is used for foodstuffs such as butter, chocolate and olive oil. Typical foods that are hot smoked are fish, bacon and poultry.
Our salt is cold-smoked and takes many hours during which time the salt grains are regularly moved around to ensure they get evenly smoked. “You’ve got to be able to see what you’re smoking when you open the door of the smoking oven,” says Sean. “If the smoke is too thick, it means the ventilation is wrong. Smoke has to move through the food, it’s not a case of just letting the food getting saturated in smoke. If that happens, the smoke will ‘settle’ leaving a bitter tasting sediment. Smoking is a very subtle process. These days I just know when a food has been smoked enough by the look of it. It’s something I’ve learned to develop a feeling for,” he adds.
It took a considerable process of experimentation to figure out exactly how long Oryx Desert Salt should be smoked for and which wood would impart the best flavour. The most common woods used for smoking salt are alder wood, apple wood, hickory, mesquite and oak. The smell and taste is deliciously savoury, the aroma of fragrant ashy wood smoke mingling with the crystal tang of salt.
Why use smoked salt?
Smoked salt both enhances the inherent flavours of a dish while at the same time imparting a subtle smoky taste. We think it adds a magic twist to all sorts of dishes such as eggs, aubergines and hummus.
While we mostly think of smoking meats and cheeses, it turns out that many other foods such as olives, lemons, mustard and even yoghurt can be successfully smoked to great effect. Perhaps most unusual is smoked water! Smoke loves moisture and water holds the smoky flavour exceptionally well. Freeze into ice-cubes and add to cocktails for sublime flavour.
Speaking of which, try our smoky Margarita. You may just want to keep our smoked salt in your kitchen for this reason alone.