Smoked dishes at Haven in Oakland, Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago, Mistral Kitchen in Seattle, Post and Beam in Los Angeles

One flavorful method, endless applications
Tasting Table

Most dining rooms might be "no smoking" these days, but we doubt if kitchens ever will be.

Using smoke to cook and add flavor to food is an ancient method--and one that shows no sign of dissipating.

We scoured the country for inventive and delicious smoked dishes, and the findings were bountiful. In Chicago, smoke is sprayed with maltodextrin to create a smoke-flavored powder that is then rubbed over fish. Northern Californians can order smoked pasta at Oakland's Haven, where flour is oven-smoked before being turned into dough (click here to see the slide show of smoked dishes).

At chef Govind Armstrong's just-opened Post & Beam in Los Angeles, applewood is used to smoke ribs on a grill; we've adapted the recipe for stovetop smoking (click here to see the recipe). For something lighter, try our recipe for soba noodles, which gain added depth from a quick smoke on the stove with hickory chips (click here to see the recipe).

If you need us, we'll be in the smoking section.

  • Smoke: Haven, Oakland

    At Haven, chef Kim Alter amps up the flavor of traditional carbonara by using smoked pasta. She starts by gently smoking flour over wood chips in an oven, then whips that flour into pasta and adds bacon, an egg, black pepper and chives.

  • Smoke: Mercat a la Planxa

    To accompany pan-seared barramundi, chef de cuisine Cory Morris prepares a smoked pine-nut escabeche, which is created with hickory-smoke "powder." For this masterful seasoning, he spray-dries hickory smoke with a maltodextrin base; the smoke solidifies into a flavorful dust.

  • Smoke: Mistral Kitchen, Seattle

    Sit at the bar to watch the construction of the Courting Rachel, a smoky bourbon-based libation. The bartending ballet starts when smoke is piped from a Smoking Gun into a decanter. Then bourbon, rye-whiskey-syrup and bitters are added and swirled with the smoke. The drink is then poured over a large ice cube for a smoky twist on an old fashioned.

  • Smoke: Post & Beam, Los Angeles

    Chef Govind Armstrong rubs his baby back ribs in spices and Greek yogurt before setting them loose on the grill, where they're engulfed in applewood smoke. The ribs are then dusted in a deeply sweet honey powder. We adjusted the recipe for indoor cooking (click here to see).

  • Smoke: TT Test Kitchen, New York

    For a vegetarian take, we smoked soba noodles on the stove with hickory wood and a steamer, then tossed the earthy noodles with an umami bomb of mirin, soy and scallions. You won't miss the meat. (Click here to see the recipe.)

  • Smoke: The Catbird Seat, Nashville

    In the heart of barbecue country, chefs Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson offer a clever play on smoke in their beef dish. The beef is cooked "slow and low" in an immersion circulator, then rolled in kale ash to conjure the flavor of the local 'cue pits.

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