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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.

Length: 2:34
Produced By: Sarah Breckenridge

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.

Videography by Gary Junken and Michael Dobsevage, edited by Cari Delahanty

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