TJ’s “South African Smoke” Seasoning Spice Blend

Spices – Not something that may first come to mind when you think “Trader Joe’s” stuff but actually they have shelves and shelves of spices. They are well priced, if you compare them to a regular supermarket, and always seem fresh to me.

I seem to especially like some of their spice “seasoning blends’  that are pre-mixed blends of whole spices. Many of TJ’s spices are sold right in their own cleverly-made grinders, which by the way are very practical, and easy to use (occasionally even easy to re-use, as they have screw tops, you can put your own stuff in them).

As you may know grinding spices just prior to using, are the best way to get a spice’s optimal flavor. I tried and loved this Spice Blend called South African Smoke Seasoning Blend


The ingredients listed simply are: smoked paprika (in large flake), sea salt, garlic, basil. Even though this may not sound so complex trust me when you grind this seasoning onto almost any food, you get a heavenly smoky aroma.

ON THE LABEL: “SOUTH AFRICAN SMOKE adds that wonderful Umami flavor, which can be elusive and difficult to achieve. You will be amazed and delighted at the way a grind or two will awaken any food. 

So, so TRUE! I couldn’t even begin to list all the foods this is good on because it is so tasty, it might make even a slice of wet cardboard taste good! But if you try it on almost any food (meat, chicken, tofu, veggies, rice, potatoes, pasta…. you name it)… then you will agree with that this stuff is the bomb.

A jar costs about $2.29. I even added some coriander and fennel seeds into the jar, which I thought made it even better. So you could experiment a little too with these jars of spices, added some of your own spices too.

Here’s what “Trader Joe’s themselves had to say about this on their site:

Our travels take us to some of the world’s most interesting regions, where we have the opportunity to taste foods we may never have encountered on our home turf. (Full disclosure: this is the royal we, as it refers to our buyers and not, alas, to certain writers of food-related information.) Among our recent “discoveries” is Trader Joe’s South African Smoke seasoning blend, one of the more unique items we’ve come across.

South African Smoke begins with African-grown paprika that is slow-smoked for 48 hours over a sustainable African hardwood called Acacia Saligna, commonly used as barbecue coals. This process enriches the paprika with a smoky, roasted flavor that evokes the South African braai, or barbecue. The smoked paprika is blended with sea salt, garlic and basil and packaged in a grinder, giving you fresh-ground flavor in every twist. Use it as a rub for meats or veggies prior to cooking, or keep it on the table in place of everyday salt & pepper. You’ll find this spice blend only at your neighborhood Trader Joe’s, where we’re selling each 1.76 ounce grinder for $2.29.

My only complaint about this stuff is it goes too fast in my house!









46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shana
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 15:20:44

    So sad to learn this spice has been discontinued.


  2. Bob Farrell
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 09:07:28

    If this is so good, whhy did you discontinue it. (For) Now using it in my spicing and grilling routines (and professionaly)


    • promacnyc
      Aug 09, 2014 @ 09:52:03

      I love this product. I imagine didn’t sell enough? Or supplier problem? Another sad Trader Joe’s discontinued product?


  3. Laura
    Aug 26, 2014 @ 13:06:11

    I have NO idea why they would disontinue this product! IT is amazing!!!! Then you check online and it is outrageous to buy! Please bring this product back!!!


    • Bob Farrell
      Sep 14, 2014 @ 17:01:13

      everyone I’ve talked to (and the store employees) can’t understand why they d/q’d this..whadda mistake!!!!!!


  4. Dianne Eifler
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 16:52:26

    When I went to TJ’s today to buy my favorite seasoning, South African Smoke, I was told it was discontinued…WHY?? I have recommended it to all of my friends and family and they love it too. PLEASE bring it back!


  5. Margaret
    Sep 30, 2014 @ 14:01:21

    Please bring it back. I use it all the time and want some more.


  6. Sarah
    Oct 06, 2014 @ 12:53:24

    Absolutely mad at TJ’s for discontinuing this spice blend. And if it’s really discontinued, why on Earth Amazon selling it ?????? PLEASE bring it back!


  7. Tanya
    Oct 18, 2014 @ 22:23:38

    I am sooooooo FREAKING MAD at Trader Joe’s for discontinuing the best seasoning EVER!!!!!!!! I can’t tell you how much I use it on NOR can I tell you how many people I have turned on to this across the country. WHY WHY WHY WHY would you get rid of something that is so well loved? Huh? WHYYYYYEEEE!!!!!!!!! I’ve been fussing at the poor clerks at the stores (bless ’em) telling them to get Mr. Trader OR Mr. Joe on the phone so that I can tell them what a disservice they’ve done in discontinuing this!

    When I went to the store the other day, I noticed that the seasoning selection has greatly reduced. What’s up with that???? Wait…do these comments get back to the decision makers at TJ’s? If not, I’ve just wasted my dog gone time. 😐


    • promacnyc
      Oct 19, 2014 @ 17:54:18

      hi tanya,
      i could not agree with you more; all i know is they are ruthless as far as shelf space is concerned; the very reason i started this blog was because one product or another i liked was ‘discontinued’ so many times, that i wanted a place to rant! not that it may do anything but give them feedback on their site; maybe if thousands complained they might bring this product back?


  8. Carla Dlllard Smith
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 16:33:59

    Bring South African Smoke back!!!! Amazon is selling for $13 and I won’t pay. Why was it discontinued? Rant! Rant! Rant!


  9. Bob Farrell
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 20:16:53

    join the club,,,WHY???????????


  10. heid
    Dec 26, 2014 @ 14:37:00

    It’s my favorite! Maybe if enough of us complain, TJ’s will bring it back! How do we contact Mr Joe?


  11. Bob Farrell
    Dec 27, 2014 @ 11:47:25

    How to contact Mr. Joe…How about a South African Smoke signal???Sorry coudn’t resist


  12. Andi
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 11:08:39

    I used to buy 2 at a time. I was on my last one and something told me not to use it, to go and buy 2 more. In 2014 I was told that it would come back in 2015, and on another occasion I was told that it was discontinued………….UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! There was a tea biscuit that was discontinued a few yrs. ago, it was the best. TJ’s, PLEASE BRING BACK THE SOUTH AFRICAN SMOKE. I’m not going to pay exorbitant prices on Amazon or anywhere else. I’m in the process, at this very moment, trying to find something comparable, something just as good. May have to make my own.


  13. Norah Mendoza
    Jan 12, 2015 @ 18:27:01

    Please bring back the south african smoke..


  14. Marsha
    Jan 20, 2015 @ 12:16:26

    Coming back to Trader Joes in May.


  15. Becky Harper
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 16:29:32

    Why do you carry such a GREAT product and you Corporate people ruin another bad thing????? The South African Smoke Seasoning was fantastic !!!! I would drive 1 hr. away to come to your Store JUST to get it!!!


  16. Latte1
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 13:59:18

    Hot Dog!!! It is also good on hot dogs.


  17. Jamal
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 17:16:14

    I agree with everyone here. This was one of my favorite products. I would love to see it back!!!!


  18. Christina
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 22:54:30

    ExCUSE me??? I stocked up last year with three bottles and I’m just now hearing this! I ran to my pantry and found that I have one bottle a little over 3/4 full…phew! I’m going to have to dissect the blend and figure out how to recreate it if it’s discontinued. I’m really pissed that one of my favorite products is gone. It’s the only thing I use on roast duck and roasted potatoes!!!


    • Elle
      Apr 23, 2015 @ 12:24:53

      Just to let you know I’ve been to several tjs this month ( Seattle , Las Vegas , Nashville and several in California ) and they will all bring it back mid May as it is a seasonal item . Not discontinued !!! Come back in May and find it! Grab extra because it will not be on the shelf all year.


  19. Bob Farrell
    May 15, 2015 @ 23:18:27

    IT’S BAAAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKK!!!!!!! Grabbed 8 bottles today at TJ’S in Hanover, MA, Been watching the shelves since rumors appeared saying iut was coming back in May….It’s here….figured I’d be a nice guy and leave a couple for someone else. Beware grab ’em now, before I snag the rest :0


  20. Vanessa
    May 27, 2015 @ 09:08:54

    The spice is back on shelves as of Sunday.


  21. Greg
    Jun 09, 2015 @ 20:23:52

    I have to drive 2hrs to get to TJs Now its worth the drive my wife and I are so happy to see its back I was willing to do cart wheels in my wheel chair!! I wont but I was thinking about it


  22. Bob Farrell
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:04:01

    OK, call me a hoarder, I don’t care!!! Buy it when you see it. Have bought 18 bottles


  23. Bob Farrell
    Jun 10, 2015 @ 11:08:18

    Part B: but being a nice guy sent 2 bottles up ‘north’ to my daughter. Yes there is a TJ’s in Burlington, VT. She does not like to shop there, says store is filled with hipster attitude for the employees…Hey TJ’s corporate …time to pay a visit there for attitude adjustment. I noticed this when the store first opened, but figured it was due to its newness and would work its way out….obviously it hasn’t


  24. Ryan
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 23:11:27

    Have you ever been to your local trader joes store, then days or weeks later think back and say wow that last weeks demo was really tasty, what was it again and how do I make it? Search “foodsampler” in the apple app store for an app that is updated by users like you and keeps every demo uploaded and saved to help you remember what was given out on previous days or weeks.


    • promacnyc
      Oct 16, 2015 @ 13:57:29

      Thanks for the info Ryan. Sometimes the samples are great combinations, like one I had the other day: Pumpkin Ice Cream topped with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. Sounds like “too much pumpkin” going on… but I gotta say, it was delicious!


  25. Bob Farrell
    Oct 17, 2015 @ 01:17:49

    had their pumpkin cream muffin samples last week…thought I saw a warning to check for legality in which they are purchased


  26. Ernestine Hill
    Sep 19, 2016 @ 13:49:14


    • A
      Nov 15, 2016 @ 07:22:30

      Did you try this? Is it as good? I see that it’s already ground, not in a grind-yourself-as-you-use container like at TJ’s – is it staying fresh and packing as much of a punch? Is the ratio of the blend about the same? Thanks so much!


  27. Kami
    Apr 12, 2017 @ 10:01:48

    Hello, it is not discontinued, it’s a seasonal product offered during the summer grilling season only. Hope this saves some frustrations.


    • promacnyc
      Apr 12, 2017 @ 11:12:15

      Good to know. Thanks for info!


      • Robin
        Sep 22, 2017 @ 23:18:12

        It’s back, it’s back!! Bought 10 bottles of it today!! Woohoo! Gotta make it through the next year!

      • promacnyc
        Sep 23, 2017 @ 17:48:44

        Yes, its been on the shelves with no problems for some time. Always good to think ahead though. As its whole spices with grinder, its sure to last a year or two in the cupboard.

  28. Trackback: Picture Imperfect. What to do when dinner goes wrong. – Coffee and pants
  29. Trackback: Picture Imperfect. What to do when dinner goes wrong. – 101 Daily

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