As much as we love smoking beef and wild game here at Big Country Smokehouse, the fascination we have with the big punch of flavor smoke can lend to food has just as much to do with the smoke itself as with the cut of meat. Spend just a few short minutes on the internet, and you’ll find a ton of healthy debates regarding which woods lend the best smoky flavor to each meat. We prefer applewood, alderwood, and hickory, but varieties like oak, cherry, mesquite, pecan, and even maple can impart subtle differences in flavor.
Over the years, we’ve learned that while you can’t beat the combination of just the right wood or charcoal smoke and a quality cut of meat, it’s not good to limit yourself. Why deprive other tasty foods in your life of what a good dose of smokey flavor can do for them? As a result, we’ve put some time into finding other foods that take well to smoke.
The Best Foods to Smoke
In our research, we’ve found several foods that benefit from a good smoking. Whether you prefer to use an electric smoker, a charcoal or gas grill with indirect heat, or a pellet smoker, you’ll want to go low and slow with each of these to avoid a mushy, bitter product. Start with these six foods to enhance your smoker resume:
1. Potatoes. Smoke complements a nice, creamy Yukon Gold potato nicely. Rub medium-sized potatoes with olive oil and salt, and smoke at 225℉ until tender—about two hours. Then, serve with butter, sour cream, and anything you’d put on a loaded baked potato.
2. Oysters. While the traditional preparation is raw, briny, and incomparable to any other seafood we know, smoke adds a tremendous extra twist to oysters on the half shell. Smoke at 250℉ for 18 to 20 minutes. Serve with plenty of butter and lemon, or as a smoky component to oyster stew.
3. Cabbage. This staple benefits well from an extra bit of smoke to enhance the earthy flavors. Leave whole, but core the cabbage and slather with butter and the seasoning of your choice. Wrap in foil and smoke at 225℉ for about two hours, or until tender.
4. Peaches. This fruit is typically a sweet compliment to many a savory dish, but you can add depth of flavor by smoking your peaches first. Halve and pit peaches before placing on a tray or the grate. Smoke at 215℉ for 20 minutes with the cut side facing up and 10 minutes with the cut side facing down—then serve with your favorite pork dish or even over ice cream.
5. Salsa. A good, homemade salsa takes on a whole other dimension when you smoke the components first. Halve tomatoes, peppers, onions, jalapenos—and whatever else you like to put in your salsa—and smoke for 90 minutes at 225℉. Then, briefly pulse your ingredients in a blender, add cilantro, lime, and salt, and enjoy.
6. Salts. Smoked salts can be infused with a variety of wood smoke flavors and even incorporate some of your favorite seasonings. The finished product can add an interesting note to savory dishes or perk up your favorite salted caramel sweets. Since smoked salts require a cold smoking apparatus, you may need to find your favorite smoked salts online.
Big Country Smokehouse Knows Smoke
Here at the smokehouse, we’re always experimenting with new and tasty ways to smoke some of our favorite foods. Our large variety of jerkies, smoked sausages, and other meat snacks—as well as our selection of infused salts—really speaks to the versatility of the smoking process. If you’d like more information about our infused salts, or any of our other products, contact Big Country Smokehouse today.