‘Smoked’ everything will be the darling of foodies everywhere in 2015

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For quite some time now, smoke has been getting a bad rap.

Inherently associated fire, smoke often causes an adverse reaction to its smell .

With its bitter, blunt flavor profile, smoke can be intimidating and overpowering to the palate.

But all of this could be changing now as 2015 emerges with unexpected food trends, namely smoke being one of the wild cards.

Many contributions can be linked to the recent surge of smoke in the culinary world.

As backyard smokers grow in popularity across the nation, chefs and restaurants alike are beginning to see a craving for the boldness smoke can imbue into proteins, vegetables, fruits and even cocktails.

Bartenders are beginning to craft libations like smoked Bloody Marys and Flaming S’more martinis.

By offsetting smoke with the robust vegetable vibe of a Bloody Mary, and then again playing off of the sweetness of the marshmallow, this cocktail enhancement is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that will be making quite the splash.

Alas, making a memorable cocktail centers on complimenting flavors that wouldn’t normally be expected.

History however, is cyclical – this is not the first time smoke has made its debut in the culinary atmosphere.

Smoked salt dazzled foodies everywhere five years ago, according to “Supermarket Guru” Phil Lempert, where the spicy complexity of smoke gave salt a whole new dynamic.

Salt is a universal condiment, and by adding smoke to the mix, the shock value increased exponentially.

Trends often find inspiration in other trends. Case in point – smoked butter. Butter is a non-traditional condiment to be smoked this year.

Butter, like salt, has very few food groups it can’t be paired with to enhance the original flavor.

This specialization of smoke is anticipated to give chive butter a run for its money when it comes to steak.

Smoke is slowly permeating into every food group.

Showing no reservations and voraciously pairing with non-traditional foods in restaurants across the board, this trend shows refinement and elevation of flavor profile that before now was resting in the ashes.

Next time you see a restaurant go up in smoke, it may not be a bad thing.

by Evan Alexander

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