Recently I was wandering the aisles of a major home goods store and came across a bottle of smoked olive oil. While I could have dropped $18 on the bottle, I decided to save my money for a rainy day and try to create my own smoked olive oil at home, to be used as a compliment to any number of dishes included grilled vegetables, grilled polenta, steaks, and so much more!
Having done quite a bit of cold smoking over the years, I figure this was the way to go.
First, let’s start with the fire. When cold smoking, the key is to (obviously) create as little heat as possible while still creating a nice even flow of smoke. Using a chimney starter, preheat 3-5 Kingsford charcoal briquets. Once the briquets are completely ashed over, place them in a small pile in along one side of the grill. Add one Kingsford Smokehouse Style Briquet, a chunk of your favorite smoking wood, or a handful of wood chips to the top of the pile.
As the charcoal comes to temperature, pour ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil into a heat resistant bowl. Place the bowl on the grill cover and allow it to smoke for approximately 2 hours, stirring the oil periodically to help evenly distribute the smoke flavor and adding additional briquets or smoking wood as needed. Taste the oil after 2 hours to test the smoke level and add an additional 30 minutes to the smoke time if needed.
Now when it comes to the smokiness of the oil, I wanted it to maintain that smooth olive taste but add a mellow smoke finishing taste. The great thing about smoked olive oil is that you can always add more pure olive oil should you find the smoke level to be too harsh.
Once complete, the smoked olive oil can be substituted whenever you might use traditional olive oil including a finishing drizzle for fish, vegetables, or beef.
After the oil was complete I had some friends and family do a side-by-side comparison of straight extra virgin olive oil and the smoked version and the overwhelming winner was the smoked one.
"How to Smoke Olive Oil" by Clint Cantwell, Courtesy of Kingsford.com