How Smoked Spices Became A Foodie Trend

smoke and steam rise from a pork steak on grill pan.

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Food experts have identified ‘smoked spices’ as the new trend this year. They’re an easy method for adding smoky yet delicious flavor to a wide range of recipes. 

Smoked spices are ideal if you want your food to have the outdoors’ smoky flavor. If you’re a certified food lover, you know that smoked spices are a bit costly, especially the ones you can find in stores’ gourmet spice sections. However, you also have the option of smoking your own spices. You can smoke paprika, black pepper, and many other spices, and add them to rubs for fish and meats, barbecue sauces, and barbecue made in your oven. 

But, what’s with smoked spices that foodies really love about them?  That’s what this post is all about.

Smoked Spices Are Versatile

The primary reason why smoked spices are so popular these days is that they inspire people to turn their kitchen into an instant smokehouse.

From unexpected foods, like sweets, honey, and oils, to more common items, like vegetables, cheeses, and meats, smoked spices can add depth and richness to even the simplest of food. Consumers are appreciating it, that’s why they’re also learning how to achieve this flavor by adding smoky ingredients, like smoked chili peppers and paprika.

The note of the smoky flavor that smoked spices introduce enhances the food, but doesn’t overwhelm a foodie. It’s like creating a new dimension of taste by reimagining and repurposing familiar ingredients.

Meatless Days Can Be Fun (Or More Fun)

Provided the right ingredients, meat-free alternatives can actually be as satisfying as meat. It’s true, although getting used to them may take some time.

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One of the reasons that keep meat-eaters from considering meat-free alternatives is the taste, according to a survey in 2019. 

The good news is that you can make meat-free dishes delicious. One of the countless ways to do it is to pick and mix the right spices in a spice blend. These spices can then be rubbed on meat-free dishes, just like rubbing them on steaks. You can pick up ingredients, such as garlic, chili powder, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, from trusted suppliers, like Oregano Spices, to achieve this.

Note that meatless food may require more than a single spice. However, you can make any dish stimulating and palatable with a perfect blend of spices. Whether it’s vegetarian food or not, see how it changes in taste by testing various spice blends.

Flat-lay of spices in bowls and plates over dark background, top view. Black pepper, allspice, cloves, thyme, cumin, sesame, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, mahlep, smoked salt, rosemary, bay

Almost Any Spice Can Be Smoked

A cast-iron skillet complete with a lid is the essential kitchen utensil that you’ll need to smoke your own spices at home. You’ll also require some mesquite wood chips. 

Cumin, crushed red pepper, thyme, cinnamon, and rosemary are some of the best ingredients you can smoke. However, it’s no problem if you don’t have those spices at home because almost any ingredient can actually be smoked. That adds to the reason why smoked herbs have become a foodie trend at present. Yes, you heard it right—you can smoke even salt and sugar. Therefore, you can reach into your spice cabinet anytime you’re in the mood for dishes with a taste of summer and wouldn’t be disappointed.

  • Smoked Salt
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Whatever dish you put smoked salt on, it adds a delicious summer flavor hint to it. You can stir a little bit of it into your chili, or try it on scrambled eggs.

Smoked salt actually has several uses despite the fact that it’s usually made for mac and cheese. In fact, you won’t be sorry when you use smoked salt instead of rimming salts if you’re in the mood for a margarita.

If you really want to, you can buy commercially available smoked salt. However, it can be expensive. Why not make your own? You can have inexpensive smoked salt using your stovetop or grill. Not to mention you can also have full control over the ingredients. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can try hickory smoked salt, or apple wood smoked salt.

  • Smoked Sugar

Most people don’t realize how smoked sugar is an existing hidden delight. The flavor combination that it adds to the dish is reminiscent of bacon, although there’s really no actual bacon present.

If you’re a morning person, you can have smoked sugar stirred into your cup of coffee. It can also be a fantastic topping for your Crème Brulee.

Note that it’s a little bit more complicated to make smoked sugar than smoked salt. That’s because this condiment will melt at 225 degrees and, then, rapidly solidify. The result won’t be what you want; it isn’t the ideal ingredient for your dish. That’s why more and more people are turning to ‘cold smoking.’ 

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Cold smoking isn’t new, but has started to make waves again recently. This method’s temperature never goes beyond 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for making smoked sugar. You can also use sugar cubes with the cold smoking method instead of granulated sugar. Note, however, that there’s a chance that the cold smoking’s moisture may cause the sugar to lose its shape. Using regular granulated sugar is, of course, highly suggested.

Cold smoking can infuse a smoky flavor to meats and cheeses. However, when using meat, make sure that it’s preserved, fermented, or cured. It’s to ensure that bacterial growth wouldn’t be a problem.

It’s also a good idea to place a whole vanilla bean that’s split down the middle together with the cooled smoked sugar inside an airtight glass jar for an extra treat.

Smoked Spices Last For A Month Or Two

People can use the spices right away after smoking them or store them with other ingredients to have on hand. As long as you’re using a sealed container and keeping the spices in a cool, dry place, they can last for one to two months.

Final Thoughts

In US menus, ‘smoke’ has grown significantly from 2006 up to the present. Associated terms such as ‘charred’ and ‘burnt’ have also seen an uptick. No wonder why new product launches in many restaurants are now focused on incorporating smoked ingredients. There’s even a surge in newly released smoked-flavored beverages. Clearly, it’s all because of the versatility, exciting flavors, and fun that smoked spices bring to almost any dish.

Philip Okoye
the authorPhilip Okoye
Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at

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