10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Can Put In Your Smoker

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / Pelle Zoltan

If you invested in a smoker, then there is a good chance you have also invested lots of time perfecting your smoked meat recipes. Whether you are a smoked brisket fan or a lover of smoked hot links, a smoker is a meat lover’s dream. While big juicy pieces of meat are ideal for a smoker, there are a lot of other food items you can put in your smoker.

For those looking for non-traditional options to put in a smoker, consider cabbage, tomatoes, corn, and even a pan of macaroni and cheese. You can smoke fruits like peaches, pears, and apples. Hard-boiled eggs take on a delicious smoky flavor after spending time in a smoker, as do olives, nuts, and even finishing salts and condiments, including ketchup and mustard.

If you are looking for new and exciting ways to utilize your smoker, then you have come to the right place. Smokers make some of the tastiest and tenderest meat dishes available, but they can do so much more. Whether you are a vegetarian, or simply looking for fun new ways to use this often-large and interesting cooking tool, keep reading to uncover popular food items you probably didn’t know you could put in a smoker.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Cook In Your Smoker

1. Eggs

If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, then you may already know that smoking a hard-boiled egg is a fantastic way to infuse additional flavor into this brunch staple. Smoked eggs are a great protein-rich smoked option for vegetarians, and are an excellent way to take your deviled eggs to exotic new heights.

You can boil eggs and infuse them with smoke or simply put the eggs directly into whatever type of smoker you own, and cook them through. Several different recipes range from simple to complicated, and each with a different level of smoky flavor.

2. Cabbage

Another vegetarian option you probably didn’t know tastes great after spending time in a smoker is cabbage. Not only can you put cabbage in a smoker, but you can toss the whole head in there. You can also quarter it for even cooking and a more smoky flavor throughout. Either way, this cuts way down on prep time, making it a surprisingly simple way to cook this vegetable.

Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees, and place your cabbage wedges on a baking sheet. Let them smoke for two hours or longer (depending on how crispy you like your cabbage). This smoked cabbage is great on its own and makes a good accent to a meat dish. It also makes a truly unique and memorable coleslaw.

3. Salt

Traditional food items aside, there are some popular ingredients you can put in a smoker to add a smoky flavor to them. Perhaps the most common and notable ingredient you can put in your smoker is salt.

Salt is fairly easy to smoke; you simply keep it at 250 degrees and stir it every two hours or so to make sure it smokes evenly. It is also important to break up any clumps that may form. The only hard part is it takes about 12 hours to smoke salt, so it is good to do this task when you have other items cooking in the smoker that day. This smoked salt makes for great gifts and enhances the flavors of all sorts of dishes.

4. Nuts

You have likely had some form of a smoked nuts before, but you might not have thought that it is possible and even simple to smoke nuts in your smoker at home. The key to smoking nuts successfully is to stir them frequently and not over-crowd the pan. Cook one single layer of nuts and stir them occasionally and they should be smoked and delicious in just two or three hours.

5. Macaroni And Cheese

If you want to think outside the box, you can even cook your macaroni and cheese in a smoker. These days, there always seems to be a new twist on macaroni and cheese, whether it’s adding vegetables, lobster, or smoked meat.

But cooking your macaroni and cheese in the smoker is a truly unique way to prepare this American barbecue staple. This makes a great side, or a vegetarian option for those who don’t eat meat but love smoked flavor.

6. Olives

Olives are a polarizing food - you either love them or hate them. For those who are in the olive lovers camp, there is good news. It is possible and quite easy to smoke your favorite types of olives.

Hickory wood works best when smoking olives in a wood or pellet smoker. You only need to smoke them for about an hour or you can go longer if you want intense flavor. These are sure to spice up any charcuterie board and take your martini to the next level.

7. Tomatoes

There are endless ways to prepare tomatoes, from roasted to sun-dried and everything in between. You can even put tomatoes in your smoker to give them a robust smoky flavor. This is fantastic for those making a spicy puttanesca or other rustic tomato-based pasta sauce. They also are a fantastic accompaniment to fish dishes.

Cut your tomatoes in half and cook them in your smoker for 30 to 40 minutes. Roma tomatoes or other firm varieties work best and create the least mess.

8. Fruit

If you can’t decide if you want something sweet or something smoky, then smoke some fruit and enjoy the best of both worlds. That’s right, you can smoke fruit in your home smoker that you once thought was meant for only meat.

Some fruits that taste particularly delicious when smoked and hold up well in the heat are apples, pears, peaches, and other stone fruits. These smoked sweets can be added to salsas, eaten on their own, or infused into your favorite cocktails (think smoked peaches in a whisky drink).

9. Corn

Corn cooked over smoking coals is one of the most satisfying street foods on the planet, so it should come as no big surprise that smoked corn is also quite tasty. Cooking corn in your smoker adds even more smoky flavor than grilling it, as it has more time to infuse with the smoke in a smoker. Since you aren’t cooking it at very high temperatures, it also stays quite juicy.

10. Ketchup And Mustard

Lastly, if you can’t decide which food item you want to add smoked flavor to, you can add it to some of your favorite and most commonly used condiments. You can smoke ketchup and mustard.

Cold smoking is better than hot smoking for these condiments, as too much heat can burn them. The key is not to overcook it, or you can be left with burnt ketchup. This is because ketchup in particular is a liquid that has a fairly high sugar content, making it prone to burning. Cook these condiments at a low temperature, and use flavorful wood in your smoker to ensure maximum flavor in the minimum amount of time.

Final Notes On Foods You Didn’t Know You Can Put In A Smoker

A smoker is a great investment if you love the fragrant smoky flavor it produces. While smokers are synonymous with juicy and fatty meats like ribs, briskets, and sausages, the opportunities are endless when you buy a smoker.

You can cook several types of vegetables with a smoker, including cabbage, tomatoes, and corn. You can also infuse a delightful smoky flavor into raw ingredients including salt and condiments like ketchup and mustard. If you are looking for something truly outside the box, consider smoking fresh fruits like peaches, pears, or apples, or even cooking your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe in the smoker to give it a whole new level of flavor.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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