Cooking with Lapsang Souchong Tea

Lapsang Souchong Tea

If you are not familiar with Lapsang souchong tea, it is a unique and highly flavorful smoked tea from China that is, for many people, an acquired taste as a drinking tea. Reactions upon drinking Lapsang souchong tea for the first time are typically along the lines of love it or hate it. But many people who are initially put off by the strong smokey flavor of the tea eventually come around to really liking it if they try it again.

Here are a few ideas for using Lapsang souchong tea in your cooking:

Lapsang souchong Five Spice Rub (works well with duck, chicken, pork)

3/4 cup Lapsang souchong tea (grind in spice grinder or small food processor)
1/8 cup sea salt
1/8 cup red pepper flakes
1/8 cup chili powder
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/16 cup dried chives or onions
1/16 cup cayenne pepper
1/16 cup five-spice powder

Lapsang souchong Rub #2

2 Tblsp Lapsang souchong tea leaves (grind in spice grinder or small food processor)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tblsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Lapsang souchong Brine (to soak your meats in before cooking/grilling)

8 cups water
6 tblsp Lapsang souchong tea
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup kosher salt
3 whole star anise
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Lapsang souchong Marinade #1 (works great with portabello mushrooms, but also chicken or other meats)

1 cup boiling water
2 heaping tsp Lapsang souchong tea (steep loose leaves in the boiling water for at least 10 min)
Add in:
2 Tblsp tamari or soy sauce
1-2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
5-6 diced green onions (or some diced shallots)

Lapsang souchong Marinade #2

1 cup strongly brewed Lapsang souchong tea (use 1 to 2 Tblsp tea leaves)
1/4 cup lime juice, and add some zest of the lime
2 Tblsp sake
2 Tblsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tblsp tamari sauce
3 Tblsp molasses, brown sugar or honey
1 Tblsp grated fresh ginger
3-4 cloves of garlic smashed
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
optional: several healthy squirts of Sriracha

Lapsang souchong Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup of strongly brewed Lapsang souchong tea (1 Tblsp Lapsang souchong leaves to 4oz water)
1 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1-2 Tblsp dry mustard
2 Tblsp vinegar
2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
4-6 cloves minced garlic
1 Tblsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Hot sauce to taste (Tobasco or similar, or use another favorite hot sauce such as habanero, Sriracha or ghost pepper) to taste

First prepare the tea (1 tablespoon Lapsang souchong tea leaves to 1/2 cup water). Then combine all ingredients except the tea in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil then let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, then strain the tea and stir it into the sauce mix.

Bonus tip: When stuffing a turkey or other bird, add a hint of smoke flavor by adding a bit of Lapsang souchong tea to your stuffing mix. You’ll end up with smokey flavored gravy as well.

If you want to add a smokey flavor to a cocktail you can also use Lapsang souchong tea. The easiest method is to infuse the booze you want to use in your cocktail. Just add a tablespoon or so of Lapsang souchong tea leaves to bourbon, rye, rum or whatever liquor you wish to use in your cocktail, and let the mixture sit in a cool, dark place for a few weeks. Best to taste from time to time to make sure you are not infusing it too strongly.

Another option is to make a smoky demerara simple syrup. Steep four tablespoons of Lapsang souchong tea leaves in one cup of water. Strain the tea and, over low heat, mix in one cup of demerara sugar, brown sugar or other sweetener to the tea. Add in a tablespoon of vodka (unflavored) to help preserve the simple syrup and you should be able to keep this in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

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