You may have experimented with different kinds of woods to flavor food on the grill, but have you tried using loose tea leaves to do the same? Tea-smoking is an ancient Chinese technique you can use at home for wonderfully exotic and delicious results. Chicken, duck, salmon, and shrimp turn out beautifully burnished and imbued with a rich and fragrant smokiness. And all that flavor comes from a foil packet filled with tea, rice, brown sugar, spices, and citrus zest. Simply slip the packet under the grill grate—directly on the hot coals or on top of a metal gas burner shield—then close the lid and let the smoke do its magic.
Watch it: Coconut Noodle Soup with Tea-Smoked Shrimp
Get the recipe: Coconut Noodle Soup with Tea-Smoked Shrimp
More Tea-Smoking Recipes
Tea-Smoked Chicken Salad with Coriander and Pickled Red Onions
Crisp Tea-Smoked Duck with Green Mango & Basil Salad
Three Keys to Smoking Success
Keep it Dry: Make sure the food you’re smoking is as dry as possible by patting it well with a paper towel. Dry food will absorb the smoke better and will pick up a more even color and flavor.
Gentle Flavor:Arrange the food on the grill so that it’s not directly above the smoking packet. This way, it gets a gentle infusion of smoky flavor rather than an overwhelming hit of smoke.
Color Talks: Color is a clear indication of flavor. If the food takes on a dark, amber hue before it’s cooked to your liking, remove the smoking packet from the heat and continue to grill until the food is done.