Shopping at Trader Joe's is a bit like shopping at Costco, except you're not buying mass quantities of everything. There are constantly new items being stocked on the shelves, and I think that's a big reason why there are so many TJ die-hard fans and loyalists. Several weeks ago while shopping at TJ's, I came across "Naturally Smoked Sea Salt" with Umami flavor for $1.99. Needless to say, I was intrigued. I didn't buy it at the time, but it got me thinking about smoking my own salt at home.
During my relatively short journey of BBQ smoking at home, about 80% of the time, there is plenty of hot charcoal leftover in the WSM -- up to an hour left. I always look around my fridge to see what else I can smoke. There's nothing really. The meat is all gone. If there's fish, I'm not going to smoke that. I don't want a fishy smell to taint my illustrious meaty coating I've built up within the WSM.
So what's left to smoke? Salt. Simply lay some sea salt (or kosher salt, just none of that crappy Morton iodized salt) on a flat aluminum pan and place it on the grill for about 1 hour. Depending on how much charcoal and wood is leftover in your WSM, you may need to put a little more -- just enough to impart flavor onto the salt. The temperature depends -- I usually smoke the salt around 250-300 degrees F. The longer you smoke the salt, the stronger the smoke flavor.
When done, just let the salt cool off before putting it a container. The result is pretty satisfying. I've used the smoked salt on my brisket, ribs, and chicken. It gives it that extra little hint of smoke in the background. Since I only have apple wood chips, that's what I've been using. But in the future, I'll definitely try out other types of wood like alderwood or hickery. The best part is you won't have to spend any additional money from any of those fancy smoked salt brands.