Looking for a way to boost some of your deeper, smoky cooking flavors? I recommend trying lava salt. And, my favorite? Red Stick Spice Co’s Hiwa Kai Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt. It is subtle in flavor but adds the perfect finish for a ton of recipes, including and especially those recipes with smokey paprika and cayenne. This is certainly the kind of salt you put on the table (it will also get a great reaction from dinner guests) or use on top of your dish, right before serving. Trader Joe’s had a smoked salt (I hear it’s discontinued) that will do in a pinch, but there is a dramatic difference between it, which reminds me of my mother’s use of liquid smoke (which I don’t knock), and the layered flavor of Hiwa Kai’s added activated charcoal. Yes, activated charcoal.
Food Matters tells us that:
Activated Charcoal, derives it’s name from the process of taking the charcoal which results from the activity of controlled charring of the starting material (usually Willow Bark, aka Salix alba), and subjecting it to an oxidizing gas, i.e. air or steam, at elevated temperatures (which enhances the absorptive power of the charcoal by developing an extensive internal network of fine pores in the material).
And some, in this case NaturalNews.com, claim that;
Activated charcoal is good at trapping other carbon-based impurities (“organic” chemicals) that are commonly found in pesticides, herbicides, plastics, and other industry and environmental pollutants. Additionally, charcoal has been shown to be effective at binding to chlorine, viruses, bacteria, and their metabolic byproducts and toxic excretions. It is estimated that daily use of activated charcoal reduces the toxic load in the human body by over 60%. The activated carbon itself is not resorbed in the gut but is eliminated in the feces.
The Mayo Clinic reminds us that activated charcoal is used in emergency poisoning situations. The charcoal is suspended in liquid that, when ingested, absorbs the poison hopefully before the body of animal (even human animal) has a chance to absorb the toxic substance. So, surely it removes toxins. What toxins and whether or not this should be used in large doses, regularly, remains quite open to me.
But, the amount of activated charcoal in the Hiwa Kai salt is a dusting, so to speak. Thus, the charcoal works more as a flavor enhancer than anything. The salt is intense but not sharp. Certainly, there is a soft smokieness that also brings out the depth of flavor in pepper-based seasoning. Try it.