Many people love the added flavor of smoke to their favorite dishes, particularly during the summer when those smells and tastes bring back cherished memories. But like anything else in life, there’s always something to learn to make your experiences even better, and even better, always new things to taste and try, so we’ve collected a few ideas for you to surprise family and friends with this summer.
Smoking is simply another type of cooking. You can cook food by exposing it to smoke from a burning material (usually wood).
You can use wood chips or wood chunks. You use chips for anything under 30 minutes, the chunks for anything over that time. Keep in mind that you don’t want the wood to ignite and burn, but rather smoke and smolder, and the best way to make that happen is to make sure you soak the wood for at least 30 minutes. An hour is best.
If you want to add a layer of flavor to the wood, instead of simply soaking the wood in water, you can use apple juice, beer, or wine. You can also add some complexity to the smoke with some fresh aromatics, fruit peels, or cinnamon sticks.
What to Smoke
People often think of smoking meat or fish, and there’s nothing wrong with those. But there’s so much more you can add to the mix.
Starters + Garnishes
Remove the tops, drizzle with olive oil, wrap loosely in foil. 30-40 minutes.
Put in a single layer in an aluminum pan. Stuff them with feta or blue cheese for extra pop. 30 minutes.
Put in a single layer in a pie tin. Use in a salad or as a snack. 2 hours.
Peel some hard boiled eggs and put them in a tin. 15 minutes.
Mac and Cheese
Make the dish how you would normally. 45 minutes.
For any vegetarian friends that might be joining you. First, talk to them about their life choices. Then, ask them what their favorite vegetables are and put them in a grill basket. 30-45 minutes.
Ever tried smoked fruit? In addition to the added flavor you’re going to get added sweetness due to the heat.
- Peaches and cherry tomatoes are excellent choices
- If you want to liven up your cocktails, smoke some lemons and limes for your garnishes
Put in a pan with foil. 15 minutes or until the sugar starts to caramelize.
And when you’ve got a hand smoker or a cold smoker, you can add even more ingredients into the mix. Upping your smoking game is just one more way to enjoy those summer meals.
Do you have something you like to smoke that we didn’t mention? Share in the comments below!