Smoking Foods At Home
June 6, 2008 5:57 PM   Subscribe

I've just figured out how to use my gas grill to smoke things. It's really working well. Any ideas or suggestions about great things to smoke? Meat, veggies, cheese? Different woods? Recipes?

This is very new to me and I'm worried about ruining otherwise great meat and veggies.

Also, I'm able to keep the temp down to around 250f if that makes any difference.

Thanks in advance, I can't wait to try some new things!
posted by snsranch to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
There are few greater delicacies than aged, smoked cheddar.

In the state I live in smoked Whitefish and, sometimes, Perch are common at roadside restaurants and can be pretty good.
posted by 517 at 6:28 PM on June 6, 2008

Peppers: Jalapenos, serranos, other chiles. Red ones. Smoke them until they're shriveled. Bingo -- chipotles.

Store in an airtight container. Use in beans, soups, stews, and any place you'd normally put bacon.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:32 PM on June 6, 2008

get a big slab of salmon steak, cover it in salt, and smoke it. it turns out incredibly tasty.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:56 PM on June 6, 2008

So how do you use your gas grill as a smoker? I want to do it too!
posted by serazin at 7:19 PM on June 6, 2008

Brisket, pulled pork, pork/beef ribs are all delicious. There are some guides and recipes on the internet.
posted by roofone at 7:37 PM on June 6, 2008

I don't know how you would smoke cheese in a gas grill. Too hot.

I smoke cheeses quite a bit. I use a cylindrical Brinkman smoker, about 6-8 briquettes on a cool day, with lots of wet wood chips and a pan of ice water in the middle.

The trick is to not break 90 degrees.
posted by sourwookie at 7:45 PM on June 6, 2008

My father showed us how to smoke cream cheese last year, and it's amazingly good. He uses Philadelphia cream cheese, and makes a little "boat" out of the aluminum foil packaging. It's sinful with crackers.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:52 PM on June 6, 2008

Button mushrooms and artichoke hearts smoked for about 30 minutes depending on how hot the grill is. Toss them in a salad with a simple vinaigrette. I like smoked trout better than smoked salmon. Brush the trout with a honey, salt, pepper, and water mix and smoke until cooked through. That goes very well with a salad with a citrus vinaigrette. Making a boat out of aluminum as mentioned above makes it easy to smoke things like tomatoes which have a high water content. My favorite thing to smoke is Italian canned tuna. It is tuna fish packed in olive oil. The olive oil helps to hold the smoky flavor in the fish and it has a wonderful and delicate flavor. Smoked avocado is actually quite good too.
posted by calumet43 at 9:45 PM on June 6, 2008

I smoked some ribs last weekend and at the last minute, quartered up a Vidalia onion, put it on a slab of foil and drizzled it with olive oil and salt and pepper. After a couple hours I took it off. Oh man! It was terrific all by itself, but there are plenty of other applications too (burger topping, dips, soups, etc).
posted by Atom12 at 4:57 AM on June 7, 2008

Take some jalapeno peppers, cut off their tops, and extract the seeds. Melt some cheese of your choice with a bit of heavy cream to make a nice, semi-thick cheese sauce (you can add some tobasco or other hotsauce here if you like). Pour cheese sauce into your peppers (you'll need to make a little rack for them out of tinfoil to keep them upright). Now wrap the peppers with bacon. Smoke until the bacon is done, serve, and be a hero.

The trick to smoked meats is often your rub. I use Alton Brown's 8+3+1+1 formula to make all my rubs (8 parts brown sugar, 3 parts kosher salt, 1 part chili powder, 1 part mix-of-otherstuff like onion powder, ancho powder, etc). Always comes out great.

Smoked chicken is delicious too. I'll marinade a whole bird in tea, paint it with honey, and let it smoke for a few hours (re-honeying and tea-ing as necessary). Very tasty.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:25 AM on June 7, 2008

Butternut squash sliced in half and salted with kosher salt. After it is smoked and soft, I mash it and add a little butter. Smoky, sweet, complex -- yum. Leftovers can be turned in to soup. Also for soup: roma tomatoes sliced in half, salted and smoked. From there I follow the Cooks Illustrated recipe for cream of tomato soup. Salmon filet with kosher salt and lemon. Sometimes I mop it with a mixture of bottled Thai sweet chile sauce and maple syrup. Pork ribs.

I do my smoking in a hand-me-down Binkman cylinder, but I'm thinking about getting a Weber smoky mountain for longer smoke time. There are a lot of pecan farms here, and the trimmings are free, so I use that for heat. My neighbor let me have her dead apricot tree, and I soak chips in water for smoke. I've never tried it on a gas grill, but I'd be tempted to put a container of water in there to keep the temperature a little lower.

Smoking is kind of like baking -- easy magic. Also, I love that sangria recipes are the first 'related link' below. If that was automated, that's some brilliant algorithm.
posted by Killick at 7:04 AM on June 7, 2008

Try some tabasco wood chips maybe?

(My local HEB has them on the shelf.)
posted by Cyrano at 7:10 AM on June 7, 2008

Honestly, if I were you, I'd go buy a cheap charcoal grill from home depot that has openings at both the top and the bottom, and use that instead.

Anyway, I'd smoke some mozzarella. LOW temperature, around 90, like sourwookie said. You really don't want to smoke it for long, but you want to smoke it a LOT. No, really, a lot. But only for a short time. If it's in there for 5 minutes, it'll probably taste pretty bad.

Then, I'd make/gather your favorite pizza sauce. I'd use a can of crushed tomatoes, oregano, some basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Here, a recipe!

2c all purpose flour.
1/2tsp salt
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast, 1tbsp if you like yeasty dough
1tbsp oil
3/4 cup water
1/2tsp sugar

Mix water (100 degrees or so) sugar, yeast. Let it bloom.

Mix everything else in. It'll be a sticky mess.

Let it rise, punch down, let rise. Make rounds small enough for you to comfortably put on the HOT grill, because big rounds are a real bitch.

Heat the grill up as much as you can. High heat is key here.

Put them directly on the grill until the bottom firms up a bit. Flip over, cook a bit longer. Make sure one side is less done than the other. This is important. Do not overcook them at this point. They should be at the point that they no longer stick, but are still incredibly doughy.

Put sauce, cheese, whatever else, on the side that's most done. If you're putting anything meaty on, or you like thick slices of vegetables, you'll want to precook those. Put it on the grill until the cheese carmelizes and the bottom is done.


Charcoal, to me, is easier to smoke with. If you can get four or five chunks of natural lump charcoal lit, you can soaked wood on them, then pile more charcoal on the wood. By the time I'v e smoked stuff and gathered everything else, the grill is hot enough to make pizza. Plus, the soot from the charcoal makes for delicious crusts. You'll be using those little tongs that most people use for hot dogs but are really meant for coal shuffling quite a bit if you go this route.
posted by onedarkride at 8:32 AM on June 7, 2008

I'd be tempted to put a container of water in there to keep the temperature a little lower

Hot smoking and cold smoking are two different things. It's pretty tricky to set up a true cold smoking system. but smoke alone, without heat, can preserve food and make it edible, as with fish for instance. Hot smoking is slow cooking with some added flavor.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:32 AM on June 7, 2008

I'd smoke salt.
posted by rhinny at 1:13 PM on June 7, 2008

We used to buy "cajun" marinated catfish from Whole Foods to smoke. Catfish is fatty and doesn't dry out, and was great coated in spicy stuff.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:41 PM on June 7, 2008

Man, I can't add much other than apple and cherry woods are great for smoking. And if you should ever smoke some haba├▒eros or other hot chiles, let me know, because I'll totally buy that off of you (I'm lazy and/or busy, what can I say?).
posted by sleepy pete at 5:20 PM on June 7, 2008

Response by poster: Holy crap folks! I wasn't expecting to get so many really great ideas. My neighbors are gonna hate me this summer/or I'll make stuff for them too.

I'm going to try everything, or at least until my family gets tired of smoked food.

For serazin and anyone who wants to try this on a gas grill; I only used one burner and put little aluminum foil (single layer) buckets of wood chips right over the flame. I set the flame to medium until the wood chips started smoking and then to low and put the food on the opposite side of the grill and on the upper deck-the one that folds up and down with the lid.

The wood was always just on the verge of flaming, so every once in a while I hit the wood a bit with a squirt bottle and kept adding chips.

Thanks again everybody! This is awesome!
posted by snsranch at 8:30 PM on June 7, 2008

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