Using a Torch to Burn the Peels

Torching citrus peels for a salt blend

We all use spices and herbs. Sometimes we stay simple, and other times we might try out a blend. I used to just stay with the “tried and true” spice combinations, or the standard blends like “poultry seasoning”. When I started reading about other cuisines with highly spiced dishes, I got interested in what their blends were. Instead of reaching for a prepared mix, I did some research and started making my own.

The use of salt is something that’s discussed a lot. Do you use it before cooking, during, after? Which type is best for what task? Curing and brining. Finishing salts. Smoked salts! Salt with the flavor of the minerals it was mined near. Volcano salt! And then there are flavored salt blends. The possibilities are endless.

When I got my smoker it opened another view into the world of seasonings. Now it was about creating blends that would work well with the specific protein I was working with, the type of wood I’d be using, and the desired end flavor profile. Then we started testing blends on the same meats to see which had better color and flavor. Do you brine and season? Only use salt & pepper? (AKA Dalmation Rub) Low smoke for long periods? Hot smoke?  The flavors can change from one technique to another.

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