Not all smoke is created equal. Hot-smoking happens at 100°C and above, lending ingredients a smoky flavour and cooking them. Cold-smoking (hello, smoker guns) happens below 30°C and is all about injecting a fireside flavour into things that won’t exactly thrive on the braai: cocktails, yoghurts, cheeses and cured salmon, for example.
Smoke made from fruit tea depends on the flavour of the ingredients. Berry-and-hibiscus creates a delicate, sweet, fruity smoke perfect for coarse sea salt or mild vinegar. Peacan wood chips generate a sweet, spicy, nutty smoke that’s more intense than apple wood, and great for the likes of beef brisket or shoulder. These dried grassy wisps produce smoke that’s earthy and barnyardy – but in a good way. René Redzepi of Noma is a fan, using it to smoke quails’ eggs, but it’s also great for smoking potato and fish.
Apple wood creates a sweet, light, mellow smoke, which works very well with chicken and fish. And Luke Dale Robert’s barbequed meringues, obviously. Black tea imparts earthiness, most famously in Perry Hoffman’s smoked duck and bulgur wheat salad. Abigail adds mandarin peel to incorporate citrusy notes into Asian-style beef shortribs. Get in on the trend by using rice – jasmine, basmati or white. It goes nutty when lit and can be paired with tea and sugar for a bit of sweetness when smoking squid or prawns.
How to smoke apples
- Soak 300 g apple wood chips in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain. Place the chips evenly in the base of a disposable braai and light.
- Using a sharp knife, gently score an incision around the widest part of 6 apples to help the smoke to penetrate. Place the apples on the grid and smoke for 25 minutes.
- In the last 5 minutes, drizzle 2 T maple syrup and 2 t cinnamon over the apples. Finish off the last 5 minutes of smoking.