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How-To

Tea-Smoking

Teach your backyard grill a new trick: Instead of wood, use tea leaves and spices to infuse chicken, salmon, and more. In this video, Robert Danhi, author of Southeast Asian Flavors, teaches you how to make tea-smoking packets, smoke salmon on a charcoal grill, and smoke shrimp on a gas grill.

Sarah Breckenridge
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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.

More Tea-Smoking Videos and Recipes
Watch it: Tea-Smoked Salmon with Citrus-Cucumber Relish
Get the recipe: Tea-Smoked Salmon with Citrus-Cucumber Relish

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.

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