Smoked Paprika: The Go-To Spice For BBQs

Smoked paprika

Smoky, deep, and vibrant, smoked paprika adds a kick of flavor and a wondrous pop of color to BBQs, steaks, casseroles, and stews. Read on to explore this artisan spice and why it’s regarded as a pantry staple all over the world.

What Is Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika is a Spanish artisan spice that’s prepared from mild red peppers that have been smoked and dried using an oak fire. That oak fire is the reason for their exotic, woodsy, and iconic smoky flavor. They’re also known as pimenton or Spanish paprika and are available in three variations including mild (dulce), medium (agridulce), and hot (picante). You can find all three varieties at local grocery stores, specialty stores, and online. 

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Smoked Paprika Variations and History

Besides the Spanish smoked paprika, almost every paprika type can be smoked especially the Hungarian paprikas that are sold in eight different variations depending on their level of heat. However, the Spanish smoked paprika is the most popular around grocery stores and especially sold under the name, Pimentón de la Vera. La vera is a region in Spain where smoked paprika was first prepared in 1600 B.C utilizing special techniques. Today, true pimenton is still produced by artisans in its area of origin, leveraging the same procedures as per the law to protect its national heritage.

The Flavor of Smoked Paprika

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You’ll experience a typical smoky and deep flavor in all three varieties of smoked paprika. The mild and medium-hot smoked paprika varieties are sweet, cool, and taste like charred red peppers. The only difference in the hot variety, however, is that it gives off a spicy deep flavor.

Uses for Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika adds a strong smoky flavor coupled with an appetizing red hue to almost anything it’s added to. However, it’s a star ingredient in dry rubs, BBQ dishes, steaks, and meaty gravies, stews, soups, and chowders. If you have yet to experience this brilliant spice, we recommend our recipes for Corn & Smoked Fish Chowder, Beer-Braised Short Ribs, and BBQ Chicken with Macaroni Salad to get started with smoked paprika. Alternatively, our Beefed Up Beefless Burgers make for an excellent vegetarian meal featuring smoked paprika as one of the patty ingredients.

Smoked paprika is immensely cherished in Spanish cuisine where it’s added to a number of savory dishes from Pringá, to Caldo Verde, and Puerco Bravo to Chorizo Paella. Spanish chorizo uses smoked paprika as an integral ingredient alongside other spices and, of course, chopped pork meat, and pork fat. You can try out our recipe for Cider and Chorizo Tapas that is reminiscent of Spanish restaurants and cideries.

Smoked paprika is also sprinkled over popcorn, chips, and roasted chickpeas for a savory spicy snack. Besides, it’s also added to sauces like romesco, paprika aioli, and paprika mayonnaise.

Feature Image: Devanath from Pixabay 

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