Smoking Vegetables and Fruits – A How To Guide
All About Smoking Foods
Working with a smoker is already fun when you get to eat all that delicious meat afterward, but what if you could be having even more fun with it?
Though most people use their smokers to smoke fish, meat, and poultry, you can even put it to work on vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, cheese, and even salt in some cases. If it's fresh and edible, you can probably smoke it with great success!
Remember that fruits and vegetables will take less time to cook than the meat will, so pay attention to the clock if you have both smoking.
Charcoal, electric, and propane smokers all work well to smoke vegetables and fruits. Our recipes include suggestions for wood chips and types of pans to use while cooking your produce, but do experiment by all means.
Let's explore the wonderful world of smoking.
If you've never done it before, smoking vegetables will open your world up to an infinite dimension of possibilities. The smoke completely imbues the produce with unforgettable flavor that you can't get any other way.We've listed two of our favorite recipes, but get creative! Think about how much you'll kick up your salsa, marinara, or soups just by smoking tomatoes, for example.
Artichokes are the buds of a thistle family plant, containing milk thistle and plenty of dietary fiber. Smoking chokes is a basic, two-step process.
First, you'll need to steam them before they can go in the smoker. Otherwise, they'll come out dry, making them difficult and unpleasant to eat.
First, you'll have to steam your artichokes.
Put a large pot on the stove and use a metal colander or steaming basket inside. Boil just enough water so it reaches the bottom of the basket.
At the same time, clean the artichokes and trim them down by getting rid of some of the tougher leaves. With a serrated knife, cut off the uppermost quarter of each artichoke. Then, slice the stem so they can all sit flat on the cutting board. Clip off the pointy bits with cooking sheers.
Using the serrated knife, halve the artichokes and toss out the hairy center with a spoon.
Put each half-choke, stern side down, into the basket, reducing the heat down to a rolling simmer. Put the lid on top and give the chokes about 20 minutes to become tender.
When the artichokes are done steaming, let them cool off the burner so you can prepare them to smoke. While they're cooling, set the smoker to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the steamed artichokes in packets of aluminum foil. Not only will they help hold the produce as they cook, but they double as little serving bowls too.
Make a mixture of the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice, and then brush it all over the vegetables. Let them smoke for an hour.
Asparagus may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to vegetables to smoke, but it has plenty of structure to hold up. Aim to get thick, firm stalks.
As before, get your smoker preheated. This time, go for 225.
Put the asparagus in a big foil packet and toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper. When the smoker is hot enough, put the packet inside and let it smoke for 90 minutes.
If you want to get more creative, think about wrapping each spear in thin slices of bacon. Keep it cooking until you see the bacon is fully cooked and browned.Another option would be to put fresh asparagus on top of an onion bed coated in butter. With this recipe, you'll want to allow a full two hours to smoke the dish.
Like with vegetables and meat, the best way to smoke fruits is slowly at a low temperature. We've put together a couple of our favorite smoked fruit recipes that we know you'll love.
These won't take very long to cook, and they're already encased in the perfect container. Just be sure to use whatever you make immediately, or else they'll quickly end up brown the next morning.
Fill the water bowl halfway to set up your smoker, and then add wood chips to the tray. Get the temperature up to 200 degrees and make sure the top is closed with an active vent.
With a sharp fork, perforate the banana peel a few times; don't make too many holes, though. The goal is to let the steam release. We found that four pricks usually does the trick.
Once they're all poked, set the bananas on a rack in the smoker and let them cook for 30 minutes. When they're ready, the bananas will be lightly brown and feel slightly soft when carefully squeezed.
Fill a couple of bowls with a couple of scoops of ice cream, peel the now-smoked bananas carefully, and finally put them on top of the ice cream. Throw on a few toppings and some hot fudge, and you have yourself a seriously upgraded sundae.
Smoked Apples and Maple Syrup
Apples are one of our favorite fruits to smoke because they're practically made for it.
You can core them and fill them with other foods to further imbue the produce with more flavor. The outer skin also wraps around the fruit perfectly to give it an even cook as the flesh stays in place.
If you plan to smoke some apples, we would recommend crisp apples with plenty of sturdiness. The color of the apple doesn't matter. If you prefer Granny Smiths over Fujis or Courtlands, then go for it -- but all three work really well for this recipe. To scoop out the stem, the seeds, and the fibrous inner core, you will need a melon baller.
Afterward, you'll be able to fill the cavity with whatever you want. Think about filling your smoked apples with granola, stone fruit jam, berry fruit jam, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, or cream cheese. In this recipe, we'll fill the apples with butter, maple syrup, and raisins.
This time, fire up the smoker to 250 degrees. Get the device ready by filling the bowl halfway and then adding your hickory wood chips to the pan. Keep the door closed and the vent open, and the smoker should take no more than 10 minutes to heat up.
Take a small melon baller and start coring the middle of the apples. Ensure the bottom stays intact because it needs to remain sturdy with all the filling you'll put inside.
Next, put the apples in the foil pan so the bottoms are on the bottom and the cavity faces up towards you. Put an equal amount of raisins in each one, followed by an equal amount of maple syrup, followed by a pat of butter on each.
When the apples are all set, put the foil pan into the smoker and let them sit for up to two hours, checking halfway through.The goal is to get the apples soft enough to feel it when squeezing it, but it shouldn't collapse. Check the wood chips and water after an hour as well.
We love to smoke vegetables and fruit all the time, placing the protein over the fire and arranging the rest in a ring on the outermost edge. This positioning lets the vegetables and fruit cook more slowly than the meat.
If you're not already smoking foods besides meat, then now is as good a time as any to get started! Sure, there will likely be some trial and error along the way, but just think about how delicious the journey will be.
Plus, once you have your recipes down pat, there's no shortage to how impressed your friends and family will be the next time they come down for a big summer barbecue!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best vegetables to put in a smoker?
Vegetables taste great on the smoker! We love smoking carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and more. If you can cook it on the grill, chances are good that it will taste great on the smoker, too.
What are good smoking fruits?
Smoked fruits make an excellent addition to salads, breakfast, or dessert dishes. It’s difficult to smoke really juicy fruits like oranges, which need to be peeled before being smoked or the smoke can’t penetrate the hard exterior. Some of our favorite smoking fruits are apples, pears, peaches, bananas, grapes, or strawberries.
How long should you smoke vegetables and fruits?
Fruits and vegetables don’t need nearly the same amount of smoke time as meats. That’s because they’re safe to eat raw, and they’re also more delicate. If you’re smoking at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, it should only take about 90 minutes for your fruit or vegetable to become infused with smoke flavor. You can leave it on for an additional 30 minutes to an hour if you want it to taste very smoky.
What can I smoke besides meat?
Smokers are great for transforming tough cuts of meat into tender bites, but you can also smoke all kinds of things on your smoker. In addition to fruits and vegetables, you can also smoke hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, salt, spices, olive oil, and cheese. Have some fun infusing incredible smoke flavor into your favorite foods.
What wood is best for smoking vegetables and fruits?
We like using the mild woods when smoking fruits and vegetables. You can use any of the fruit woods (like apple or cherry), or you can use alder (which is typically used to smoke fish). If you use a more intense wood, like hickory or mesquite, you run the risk of overpowering the delicate flavor of the produce.