If you've ever tried smoked foods, you understand that a little bit of heat can go a long way. Smoking (a cooking method that involves exposing your food to smoke, usually from burning wood), cooks a dish while adding incredible flavor.
You've seen smoked items pop up on menus at BBQ joints, fancy steak restaurants, and in the backyard of your buddy who loves ribs. But smoking doesn't have to be reserved for meats. The team at Heartwood Provisions has created a name for themselves by smoking "untraditional" ingredients, and the results are on fire.
"Being around live fire every day inspires us to think about how we can add wood flavor to what we cook constantly," says Heartwood Provision's Chef Varin Keokitvon, who cures and smokes everything from salmon roe to ancient wheat, whole fish, and even desserts.
And when it comes to smoking, not all wood is created equal. In other words, if you choose to bark up the wrong tree, your entire dish could be ruined. The type of wood you choose for smoking can either add a mild hint of flavor, like fruit tree woods, such as cherry or pear, or a robust taste explosion, like with pungent mesquite and hickory woods.
Since Washington State produces 60 percent of the nation's apples, using Applewood for smoking is a natural choice for the chefs at Heartwood Provisions. Of the milder fruit tree woods, apple is said to have a smoky, fruity flavor—which is why it holds up well for ham, beef, and game birds. Applewood also adds character and depth to sweeter ingredients like sugar, caramel, and vanilla.
Heartwood Provision's chef Kimberly Cosway boasts a few dishes on the restaurant's menu that utilize Applewood and smoke as flavors. "Anything cooked on our Josper grill or in our wood-fired oven has an inherent hint of smoke," she says. "We use mesquite charcoal in our Josper, and Applewood from eastern Washington in our wood-fired oven. Additionally, we cold smoke the items listed above in a conventional smoker using Applewood chips."
If you take a peek at their current menu, you'll find a few delectable, smoking hot offerings. The crispy cauliflower appetizer served with smoked Greek yogurt, while smoked einkorn boosts the flavor of kabocha squash (who thought eating veggies could be so fun?!).
The Manhattan wagyu steak features smoked maitake mushrooms, and last, but certainly not least, the pannacotta (brown butter apple, hazelnut crumbs, and vanilla ice cream) is drizzled with smoked caramel (don't worry, we're drooling too).