14 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Smoke
You’ve smoked brisket, pork shoulder, whole chickens, and ribs. What else is there? As it turns out, Quite a bit! There’s no reason to limit smoking just to meat.
The list of foods you can smoke is seemingly endless, and there are plenty of great options if you’re looking to smoke non-meat items.
(This is also a nice thing to do for your vegetarian friends who want to indulge in some smoky goodness as well.)
We want you to explore all of your smoking potential, and venture into uncharted territory with these 13 things you didn’t know you could smoke.
Things You Didn’t Know You Could Smoke
1. Smoked Cocktails
If you’ve never tried smoked cocktails you need to give these a go. Classic drinks like the Old Fashioned and Bloody Mary benefit from adding smokme. There are lots of ways to add a subtle smokey flavor to your cocktails.
You can smoke the ice, smoke one of the liquids like honey or use a device like the Smoking Gun to add smoke to your cocktail shaker.
Check out our guide to get 5 delicious smoked cocktail recipes.
2. Smoked ketchup and mustard
Imagine taking the two most popular condiments and magnifying their flavor profiles with a light, smoky flavor.
Trust me when I say that doing this will instantly take them from average to chef-level delicious.
Simply spread either one in an aluminum pan to a ¼” depth. To avoid scorching, it’s best to cold-smoke condiments in a cold-smoker setup or using the handheld smoking method.
The smoked mustard goes swimmingly with any pork product (especially ham) and the smoked ketchup is incredible on burgers and fries.
If you’re a fan of spicy condiments, you can also add a nice edge to any hot sauce by smoking it as well using either of the prescribed condiment-smoking methods!
3. Smoked Green or Black Olives
Whether you love them or can’t stand them, there’s no doubt that olives are usually a hit at parties.
Olives are tasty on their own, but when you give them a gentle smoke bath, it’s a whole new world of taste.
Olives can be smoked using a handheld smoker, of course, but to really let them soak up the smoky flavor, place them in a hot smoker. They will hold up to the heat.
Simply spread your green or black olives in the aluminum or perforated pan in a single layer and set your smoker temp between 200°F and 215°F. Give them about 30 minutes and prepare your taste buds. Stuff them with feta or blue cheese for an added taste explosion.
You can also put them on skewers to make turning them easier. According to Steven Raichlen, green olives hold up better under smoky conditions than black olives.
4. Smoked Nuts
One of the most popular smoked foods are nuts. Pecans, walnuts, cashews… they’re all fantastic after a smoke bath. Easy, too!
Grab a metal pie plate and places nuts in a single layer. Set the smoker temp between 210°F and 225°F. Let them smoke for 2 hours and then serve over a salad, your favorite vegetable dish or as delicious snacks.
5. Smoked Eggs
Forget the standard deviled egg. If you really want to impress your guests, get a nice, smoky color on that egg white!
Hard-boiled eggs do really well in the smoker, and it’s a great way to jazz up an otherwise standard appetizer.
All you need to do is peel some hard boiled eggs and smoke them for just about 15 minutes at 215°F and they’ll get a nice boost in flavor.
For a more detailed guide to smoking eggs, check out this recipe over at heygrillhey.com.
For extra smoky deviled eggs, mix the yolks with smoked mayo or mustard!
6. Smoked Fruit
This one shouldn’t be a surprise, as grilled fruit is one of the tastiest treats you can serve at the party.
Smoking the fruit low and slow is even better, because you get the added smoke flavor plus the natural extra sweetness of the fruit from the heat.
Cut in half and core or pit your fruit of choice, then set a target temp between 200°F – 225°F. Let them go for about 30 minutes and you have a real pitmaster-style dessert on your hands.
For a great accompaniment to fish or cocktails, try smoking lemons and limes. You can also smoke peaches, apples, and even grape and cherry tomatoes (which are a fruit, after all)!
7. Smoked Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and if you’re whipping up a batch to go with your pulled pork or brisket, why not pop it in the smoker to give it another level of flavor?
You can make the dish as you normally would and then pop it in the smoker for about 45 minutes. Check out our own recipe for smoked mac and cheese.
One tip is to start with some milder cheeses like mozzarella or Monterey Jack and a nice, sharp cheddar. The milder cheese will allow the smokey flavor to stand out a bit more.
8. Smoked Ice Cream
Perhaps the most unexpected addition to this list, ice cream is exquisite when properly smoked.
Now, before you stick a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in your smoker, the best way to do this is to make your own ice cream from scratch, and smoke the milk.
Start by smoking the milk, preferably using the handheld smoker method, and then use that as the base for your custard, which will eventually become your ice cream.
If you can’t be bothered doing that, you can still smoke store-bought ice cream. Just make sure you use the ice bowl method.
9. Smoked Butter
Move over regular butter! Smoked butter takes on a lovely subtle smokey flavor that goes great spread over biscuits.
Or try melting it over grilled vegetables.
You definitely want to keep things cold. Below 90°F is preferable. This guide has some good info for smoking butter in an electric or charcoal smoker.
10. Smoked Cheese
This one isn’t necessarily as scandalous as the other food items mentioned on this list. In fact you’ve probably seen smoked cheese sold over the counter before.
What you might not have known is that you can take any ordinary hard or semi-hard cheese, and smoke it!
Check out the video at the top of this post, our separate blog post on the topic or this guide for cold smoked cheese.
11. Smoked Salt
Himalayan salt, sea salt or iodized salt, all types of salt can be smoked. This basic staple in the world of cooking has many different forms but they all taste relatively the same.
This is why smoking salt is a great opportunity to change this seasoning into something out of this world. In fact, why not go crazy and add smoked salt to another food that has also been smoked!
Depending on how much salt you want to smoke, hot smoking, cold smoking and using a handheld smoker will all work well.
This recipe uses a pellet smoker inside a grill to cold smoke the salt for 6 hours
12. Smoked Ice
Smoked ice has long been used for making cocktails in bars around the world.
The best method to smoke ice is to use a hand smoker. You will also need to smoke the water and then freeze the ice in an ice cube tray in order for this recipe to be successful.
Serve the smoked ice cubes in Cognac, Bourbon or Bloody Marys to add a subtle smoky flavor.
Check out this detailed post over at amazingribs.com for more info on smoking ice.
13. Smoked Oil
You’ve probably seen smoked oils appearing on the shelves of trendy grocery stores.
But you can save yourself some money and smoke your own oil at home.
Try cold smoking virgin olive oil for around 2 hours, stirring every so often to keep the smoke evenly distributed.
Serve the smoked oil over fish, with vegetables or anywhere you would use olive oil.
14. Smoked Vegetables
Vegetarians rejoice! The smoker isn’t limited to carnivores only.
Vegetables, like meat, can be smoked too. From juicy peppers to crunchy zucchini, most vegetables can be either hot smoked or cold smoked since they are safe to be consumed raw.
This recipe for bbq corn ribs will make a great side for your next barbecue.
So if you’re a recent convert to vegetarianism or veganism but you are finding it hard to listen to your mother to “eat your vegetables” try smoking them first to add a unique and tasty spin on their classic tastes!
Best Methods & Equipment you will need
To start, you’re going to need either a cold smoker, hot smoker, or a handheld smoker. Which one you need to use depends on what it is you’re smoking.
Using a cold smoker
True cold-smoking will involve having your smoker temperature at or less than 80°F. This is the best option to add smoke flavor to delicate foods like sauces and cheeses that tend to burn or melt at higher temps.
This keeps the heat source further away from the food and allows the smoke to cool as it travels into the chamber.
Electric smokers work great here, or you can make a cold smoking set up in a regular grill or smoker. This video shows you how to use a pellet tube to cold smoke on a regular smoker.
Using a handheld smoker
This type of smoker, commonly known as a “smoking gun,” is a fool-proof way to add real smoke flavor to delicate or perishable foods like condiments, sauces and cheese.
Simply place the food item in a large glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap — making sure to leave one edge open for the smoker.
Manufacturer instructions may vary, but it’ll involve inserting the smoker tube, filling the bowl with smoke, removing the tube and covering the bowl with plastic.
After a few minutes, you’ll remove the plastic, give it a good stir and end up with a nice, rich smoky flavor.
Using a hot smoker
Finally, there are times when are going to be fine using any normal smoker or gas grill setup for smoking.
While this will work fine for foods that can stand up to the heat, anything that needs to be kept at a lower temperature will need to be kept cool.
If you don’t want to invest in a pellet tube, you can still keep the temps low by placing the food in a tray on top of another tray filled with ice. As long as you keep the smoker at its lowest temperature and replenish the ice, you’ll be sitting pretty!
Wrapping it up
Virtually any food can benefit from a smoky flavor profile. Serve your guests an entire course of smoked food and you’ll knock their socks off!
We’d love to hear your experiences with cold-smoked foods in the comments below.
If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t hesitate to share with your fellow pitmasters!