This year, we've continued to create more of our ever-popular line of locally smoked products than ever before-- we now have a smokehouse on the farm, 12 smokers, and 2 hardworking tenders of them! I'll let Tyler take it away from here:
"Welcome to our world of smoke! For nearly ten years we’ve been using the glorious Madrona trees to flavor our salt. This dense wood imbues our sea salt with a bonfire-caramel aroma that comes alive when sprinkled on food. Our two day process of cool-smoking has become an artistry of sorts. Requiring constant attention, stirring and stoking, we are always dancing with the variables of weather and the inherent inconsistencies of our naturally harvested sea salt.
Brady had the initial inspiration to smoke our salt many years ago and asked my husband, Bobby, and I to develop a process to bring it to life. We tried electric box smokers, a jimmy-rigged barbecue and finally settled on a large, off-set barrel smoker. We started with one smoker and have been growing the herd year by year adding another, then two more and finally arrived at using 12 smokers for the first time this fall.
With our dozen smokers we are now able to smoke 250 pounds of salt, 60 pounds of organic cane sugar and 40 pounds of organic peppercorns per batch!
Over the course of two days we carefully tend to the smokers by stirring and rotating the salt continuously to keep everything getting an even coating. Every half hour we add more chunks of madrona to the fireboxes and check temperatures. Each smoker has multiple ways to dampen or increase the air flow thereby lowering or raising the internal temperatures. We generally maintain our salt at 200 degrees–this seems to be the ideal temperature to keep the salt from drying too quickly while also allowing the yummy resins to coat the crystals.
The air supply system used above is crucial to keeping fresh-air flow coming to Jonna and Tyler.
Earlier this year, Jonna joined me in the smokehouse and has been tending half the herd. We use an air supply system that allows us each to maintain our six smokers. Full face masks and hundreds of feet of hose keep us breathing clean, cool air even in the smokiest moments. We notify our local police dispatcher when we start up the smokers because we’ve had concerned neighbors place emergency calls thinking our shed was on fire. It was quite a sight to have the giant fire engine arrive at our farm!
After the salt has been deeply coated with the madrona smoke, the process ends when the crystals are completely dry. This locks in the flavor and color and will keep the salt fresh for a year or more.
What’s your favorite way to use these smoked goodies? Let us know in the comments and stay salty, folks!