In the world of culinary arts, when you throw the word smoking, many people will think about meat dishes. Rightfully so, as most of the time, beef, chicken, fish, and pork go into the smoker.
However, there are several other foods that you can smoke. A look at the history of smoking foods, you notice that preservation was the main target. It was mainly used for protein-rich foods like meat to improve their life.
It was also applied to fruits and veggies, enhancing their taste and improving their longevity.
What are other things to put in the smoker? We are going to show you some of the unusual smoked foods. Before that, we will look at the different smoking techniques.
The main purpose of cold smoking is to preserve food. In this case, you use low heat, not above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoke produced by the low heat will help in preserving your food. When using this smoking technique, you should first cure the food.
Curing will kill microorganisms and help stabilize the taste of the food. It is ideal for fruits, sauces, and meat. Cold smoking takes a longer time, in some instances, roughly three days.
Hot smoking requires a decent heat level of around 140-300 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use this technique for preserving food, but its main purpose is to cook. It is faster than cold smoking, requiring only 2-3 hours.
You do not have to cure food before hot smoking, but you can cure food if you want a unique smack. It is ideal for meat dishes like beef and chicken. You may also use it for fruits like pineapples.
There is also handheld smoking, where you use a portable smoker. This form of smoking is more like a finisher, meant to give food a smoky savor. You may spot it in high-end restaurants. You can also have one in the kitchen if you love the smoky finish to your food.
If you want one, Breville’s smoking gun is a great choice. It is a cold smoker that is easy to use and runs on batteries for the fast propulsion of smoke. Additionally, it is quiet and light.
Below are some of the foods that you can smoke.
Mushrooms are versatile foods, a favorite among vegans who consider it the meat of the soil. They have a smooth texture, which, if well prepared, is a delight to your palate. You can smoke mushrooms to enhance their earthy taste with an edge of smokiness.
You can marinate mushrooms using vinegar, wine, pepper, salt, and brown sugar. It absorbs the flavors very fast, whereby an hour of marination is sufficient. Button mushrooms are the best option for smoking. You may also consider 365 Baby Bella sliced mushrooms.
This package of sliced mushrooms has no additives and quickly absorbs the marinade. Preheat the smoker and use mild-flavored wood chunks or chips like cherry or maple.
It takes a short time to cook mushrooms, as an hour is enough to have them ready for the table. You may use smoked mushrooms as a sandwich filling, for pizza, or in salads.
2. Smoked Boiled Eggs
A boiled egg is a very versatile ingredient that you can cook in several ways. From boiled egg curry and salads to deviled eggs, there are several ways to boost their smack. You can also put unpeeled eggs in the smoker.
Related: How Long Can Eggs Be Out of the Fridge?
The egg white easily absorbs the smoky essence from the woods to give your taste buds an adventure. To smoke eggs, you first hard boil them, then remove their shell. You can brine the eggs using boiled salty water and spices like onions, paprika, and pepper.
After bringing them for around 24 hours, you smoke them. Preheat the smoker and place the eggs on the grills. A maximum of 2-hours is enough to have the eggs ready.
You can use sweet to mild-flavored woods like apple, pear, cherry, and Maplewood for eggs.
Related: How To Cook Ostrich Eggs and What Do They Taste Like
Smoked nuts are excellent treats, giving a fruity, nutty, and smoky savor. Cashew nuts, pecan, almonds, and walnuts can go into the smoking chamber. When preparing nuts in this way, you put them in a baking dish. They should occupy a single layer for the best results.
The smoker should have a temperature of between 210 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The nuts should cook for around 90 to 120-minutes. When ready, let them rest for about half an hour before using them in other recipes.
Smoked nuts are excellent for smoothies, porridge, and salads.
4. Smoked fruits
Fruits can also go into the smoker. Pineapple is one of the most smoked fruits whereby you get to improve its sugariness. smoking gives it a hint of a caramel tang.
Other fruits to put in the smoker include mangoes, apples, and strawberries. In the case of pineapple, you may have to peel it for easy smoke penetration. Otherwise, you can leave the skin intact. For mangoes, the skin contributes to its taste.
Smoked fruit has many uses. You can put it in cocktails, salads, jams, or eat it in the smoked form to relish its smokiness. They also do well in some juices.
To get the best smack out of fruits, hot smoking is the way to go. They should smoke at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit to concentrate their sugars. For a diverse taste, mop the fruit with a mixture of fruit juice, vinegar, wine, and honey.
Use fruity hardwoods for smoking. Apple, cherry, and pear are ideal choices. Weber apple wood chunks will help boost their fruity essence.
Cocktails that have been smoked have a smokey flavor or aroma, which improves the drinking experience. Since ancient times, smoking beverages has been a frequent practice in the mixology world. Drink blending is an art that considers the preferences of the drinkers. Smoking enhances the earthy flavor of alcoholic beverages like bourbon and scotch.
The handheld smoker is the to-go tool for making cocktails. There are several ways to smoke drinks. First, you start by preparing your drink. Mix and shake until you get the desired drink. At this point, you can smoke the drinking glass before pouring the drink.
You can eliminate the smoke or leave it in for an aesthetic effect. Gently pour the drink to prevent the elimination of the smokiness.
The other way is to pour the drink into the glass, then smoke it with the smoking gun. The glass will have smoke settling atop it like a cloud. The final result? The drink looks good, tastes good, and smells good.
Strong and mild wood chips complement cocktails. In this case, go for hickory, mesquite, cherry, or apple. A mixture of the chips is also great.
For a spicy and smoky taste, add a little touch of spices like mint, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
6. Smoking Cheese
Cheese is a versatile food that complements several dishes. For excellent taste, prepping cheese is essential, and smoking is one way. Cheese easily absorbs the smoke, giving it a great taste and aroma.
When you decide to smoke cheese, use hard to semi-hard cheese to prevent the melting problem. There is no prepping stage; you simply put the cheese on the grill racks. Cheddar, mozzarella Gouda, and Swiss cheese are good for the smoker.
To prevent cheese from melting, use the cold smoking technique. The maximum smoking temperature should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
2-hours is ample time for smoking, where the cheese will assume a dark hue and have a rich taste. The cheese can go in salads, pasta, or sandwiches. You may also take it plain with wine, where your taste buds will have a bombardment of different tastes.
Check our comprehensive guide on how to cold smoke cheese
7. Sauces and Jams
Sauces and jams are great condiments that boost the relish of different foods. If you are an adventurous eater, exposing your sauces and jams is a thing to try.
A handheld smoker will do a perfect job. It won’t give off much heat that can denature these food additives. If you do not have a smoking gun, cold smoking will work for you.
If you are preparing your sauce from scratch, hot smoking can help blend the ingredients. For a sauce ideal for meat dishes, mix vegetable or meat stock with vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and paprika. Add or subtract the spices as per your preference. Mix the ingredients well and put them in the smoker.
Let it cook with the meat for around 2-3 hours. Refrigerate it for almost an hour and bring it to the dinner table. For jams, you can use smoked fruits to get the smokiness.
As we can see from this piece, smoking can also be a vegan affair. If you love vegetables and want an amazing taste, you might consider putting them in a smoker. Smoked vegetables have an earthy savor and slight tanginess that you will love.
You can put leafy veggies, like kales, collard greens, and cabbage, in the smoker for cold smoking. Tomatoes and chilies are also excellent when smoked. They are perfect ingredients for sauce or puree.
Many cultures consider smoked potatoes to be a delicacy, and many restaurants offer smoked potato wedges. Potatoes may be hot smoked. Try out the recipe for smoked and cheesed potatoes to hone your culinary abilities.
Interested in smoking unusual foods? Check this smoked Queso recipe
Smoking food is a great way of supplementing their flavor. While meat dishes are the most popular for the smoker, there are several other foods that you can prepare in this way – listed are some of them.
Like typical cooking, let your creativity take charge to come up with impressively smoked meals.