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05 July 2006

WBW23: All 'Bout the Salt

Danish_viking WineBloggingWednesday has become an institution.  Of course, it's always about the wine.  However, with this month's theme of, "BBQ Wines," it was salt, not wine, which stole the show.  I discovered something called, "Danish Viking-Smoked Salt."  If you are a serious BBQer, I can promise you that this salt is for you.  It is essentially sea salt, which has been evaporated over a fire stoked with oak, cherry, elm, beech and juniper.  I can only describe the resulting product as, "crystalized, smoky goodness."

I took my BBQ-inspiration from a recipe on the Salt Traders Website and made barbecued pork shoulder. It is incredibly easy. Simply rub the smoked salt into the pork, place it in a roasting pan, add about 1/3" water and cover tightly. Place the pork in a preheated 300F oven and roast for 2-2.5 hours. Once the pork is tender and smoky, fire up your grill (high for 10 minutes and then lower heat to medium) and baste the pork with basic/simple barbecue sauce (like this, or, *gasp* from a bottle). Grill and continually baste until pork shoulder is sporting definite grill marks. Voila!...simple, easy, smoky, delicious BBQ.

Naturally, a poor choice in wine might obliterate all the tastiness imparted to out pork shoulder by the super-amazing Viking salt.  For this dish, I recommend two styles of wine: jammy-spicy or earthy-woody.  Allow me to explain.

Montesalpha Jammy-Spicy: Montes Alpha Syrah 2003 ($15-$17; from Chile's Colchagua Valley) - As I've said before, this wine is one of my favorite new world, sub-$20 Syrahs.  It's jammy - with scents of plum preserves and blackberry jam.  It's spicy - in the mouth Montes Alpha is full of fruit flavors.  However, these flavors are all accented by definite black pepper spice.  When paired to the BBQ pork shoulder, the wine's spicy character is accented, as are the sweet flavors of the sauce and succulence of the meat.  The smoky flavor from the salt, while still present, seems to recede ever so slightly

Tomaresca Earthy-Woody: Tormaresca Puglia IGT 2003 ($7-$9; from Italy's heel) - For under ten bucks, food-friendly red wines don't get much better than this.  It's earthy - This wine is a combo of Italy's own Negroamaro grape (70%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%).  Negroamaro (Italian for, "bitter black) produces wine with earthy scents such as dried thyme and rosemary.  The addition of Cabernet, adds scents of cedar and blackcurrant.  It's woody - In the mouth this wine is less about fruit flavor, and more about distinct tannins and textures.  Sipping Tomaresca with the BBQ pork accentuates the smoke, and tangy flavors of the barbecue sauce.  As I was so enthralled with the Viking salt, this wine will be first choice for my next smoky go-round.  If you have difficulty finding this specific wine, a red Salice Salentino will also work well.

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Whit Stevens

Interesting, the July 2006 issue of Bon Appetit presented five super-exotic salts. In addition to the Danish Viking-Smoked Sea Salt you used, the spread also featured Cyprus Black Sea Salt Flakes, Murray River Pink Flake Salt, Jewel of the Ocean salt, and Red Sichuan Peppercorns.


Hi Whit,
Indeed - my wife actually purchased the smoked salt and Murray river pink salt. I used the pink salt along with chopped rosemary to season grilled lambchops - it was quite good.

Whit Stevens

Thanks, I'll have to try some of those.

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