Salt can be the difference between a good and a great dinner. It’s what you need in a pinch or by the pinch. Salt is versatile and can be a little sprinkle of amazing if you use one of the tips below. Here are 5 salt hacks to spice up your indoor and outdoor kitchen.
- Coarse salt is a chef’s best friend. Coarse salt refers to salt that has a larger grain. That’s often sea salt or Kosher salt (so named because it was used in curing meats, part of the koshering process). Kosher salt has large, uneven flakes, which are ideal for soaking into the meat. Chefs love coarse salt because the large crystals make it easy to pick up, so they can season by feel. Also, it is easy to see exactly how much salt you’ve used in seasoning.
- You need to smoke salt. Set your cooker of choice up to smoke (charcoal, pellet, electric). Lay a single layer of coarse salt on a cookie or sheet tray. Once smoke has started, place the tray in the smoker for 30 minutes. Keep the temperature as low as possible.
Those large, irregular crystals that we mentioned above provide a ton of surface area for the smoke resin to adhere. The salt will turn a luscious brown (that’s how you know you’re getting somewhere). After it’s cooled, store it in an airtight container out of the sunlight. You can use the smoked salt to add a bit of pop to everything from macaroni and cheese to grilled fish to caramel sauce.
- Salt is one of your best kitchen cleaners. Dropped an egg on the floor? Sprinkle a liberal amount of table salt on top. After 10 minutes, the salt will have absorbed a lot of the moisture in the egg and cleaning up with a paper towel will be a lot easier. You can also try this technique with wine on a carpet or rug (Blot up as much of the liquid as possible, then sprinkle on the salt. Keep in mind that some rugs may not be able to be saved from going to rug heaven).
- You can make your own popcorn salt. Your movie accompaniment can be more exciting than just butter and salt. Movie theaters use Salt flour (super fine salt) to season popcorn. For this one, you’ll need your food processor (you can also use an inexpensive coffee grinder – just keep in mind that you won’t want to use it for coffee again, so it will be a spice grinder for the rest of your time together).
Grind table salt in the food processor until it is super fine (about 10-15 seconds). You can use Kosher salt, you’ll just need to grind it a bit longer (for the Kosher salt, do a series of pulses for several seconds at a time).
- Bacon salt, people. Bacon salt. Everybody needs a secret weapon. This could be yours in the kitchen. Bake three slices of bacon at 400 degrees for at least 12 minutes until it’s evenly brown and crispy. [You can also grill bacon on medium-high heat. While you’re preheating your grill, grab a piece of aluminum foil. Fold up the edges (about a half-inch lip all the way around your cooking surface area) to make a temporary tray that will catch the bacon grease. Place your tray with bacon on your grill grate for 10 minutes. Flip the bacon with tongues when you start to see it darken. The bacon is nearly done when you begin to see white bubbles.] After it’s been cooked, place the bacon on a paper-toweled lined plate to soak up extra grease and then allow it to cool.
Grind the bacon in a food processor until it’s been chopped into small granules. Then add ¼ cup of Kosher (or sea salt) and 1/3 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Blend the three ingredients on low until it’s uniformly mixed. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Add it to everything from ice cream to spaghetti carbonara.
Next week, we’ll teach you how to make homemade margarita salt and homemade lemon pepper for fish tacos.