Unusual smoked foods might seem strange at first, but you’ll be wonderfully surprised by the irresistible flavor it gives to a wide range of food.
So aside from smoking meats like prime rib, pulled pork belly, and beef brisket, you can use a charcoal or electric smoker to expand your outdoor cooking repertoire.
To get started, here are 15 of the best unusual smoked foods to try. We’ve also included easy recipes that let you maximize the taste of these food offerings.
15 Unusual Smoked Foods + Easy Smoker Recipes
1. Smoked Mac & Cheese
No barbecue party is complete without mac & cheese. However, if you want to level up this classic dish, consider cooking it in your BBQ smoker.
Prepare your mac & cheese as usual, then finish it in the smoker for about 45 minutes. This recipe is ideal for mozzarella, cheddar, or Monterey Jack as mild cheeses allow the smokey flavor to stand out.
You can also smoke other cheeses. Smoked cream cheese would pair well with smoked salmon. Meanwhile, you can mix smoked ricotta cheese with olive oil and herbs for your bread and pasta.
2. Smoked Ketchup and Mustard
Smoked ketchup and mustard will further enhance the flavor of grilled meat. You can use a cold smoker to infuse the ketchup and mustard with a light, smokey flavor.
When it comes to unusual smoked foods, you can also use this technique for other condiments, like mayonnaise and hot sauce, and your favorite salad dressings.
3. Smoked Nuts
Smoked nuts will add versatility to your cooking repertoire. You can use your cooker to add more smoke flavor to peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.
Just place them on a single layer across an aluminum pan. Set the temperature to 210-225 degrees F and smoke them for 2 hours. Using pecan wood also enhances the nutty flavor.
Add smoked nuts to your salads, curries, and other dishes. You can also serve them on their own. Another option is to use a food processor and create your peanut or almond butter.
4. Smoked Fruits
The smoking process gives your favorite fruits additional flavor, color, and texture.
Apples, peaches, pineapple, and bananas are able to hold their own over a hot grill. Upon slicing, place them in your preheated smoker and grill for 3-5 minutes or until soft and browned on each side.
You can also use smoked fruits to create a homemade sauce. Low and slow cooking cherries and strawberries on alder wood chips at 200-225 degrees F for 45 minutes gives them an incredible smoky-sweet flavor.
5. Smoked Eggs
When firing up the grill, you’ll want every bit of that cooking space to be maximized. This is where smoked eggs come in. They take up very little space but will make a fantastic excellent for barbecues.
Place hard-boiled eggs in the smoker for 15 minutes at 215 degrees F. The process is so simple, but the results are oh-so-delicious!
You can use smoked mayo or mustard in your recipe if you’re making deviled eggs. This process also gives your deviled eggs that beautiful, smoky color.
6. Smoked Butter
If you enjoy smoke-filled meals but don’t always have time to grill, an alternative would be to make smoked butter.
Place the butter in your electric or charcoal smoker for about 10 minutes or until melted. Stir to infuse the butter with a smoky flavor. You can then refrigerate the butter and use it throughout the week.
You’ll add that delicious smoked flavor to whatever dish you are cooking. You can spread the butter on bread and biscuits, or even enjoy it on its own.
7. Smoked Tofu
Smoked tofu is a great option for vegans to enjoy the smoked taste without eating meat.
It is also easy to make. Just fire up your smoker with wooden or hickory chips. Then cook at 190-210 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
Smtofu can add a lot of variety to a vegan diet. You can use it for curries, pasta, soups, and even sushi. Before smoking it on the grill, you can also experiment with different tofu marinades.
8. Smoked Cauliflower
Another great vegetarian BBQ recipe is for smoked cauliflower. You can create cauliflower buffalo wings as an alternative to chicken wings.
Cauliflower has a fantastic crunch to it, but the smoking gives it a complex flavor.
Cut cauliflower into florets and season all sides. Place in the smoker for 3 hours at 225 degrees F. Use oak wood chips to further enhance the flavor.
Then, coat the cauliflower with hot sauce and butter for that classic buffalo taste. Serve alongside blue cheese dipping sauce and other side dishes.
9. Smoked Ice
As part of our unusual smoker recipes, we also recommend smoked ice to enhance the flavor of beverages. This pairs well with bourbon and cognac, an Old Fashioned, and a Bloody Mary.
This smoked ice recipe calls for the use of a “smoking gun” or hand-smoker. Leave the ice in low heat for a few hours. Once the water has melted, you can place them in an ice tray and freeze.
With the combination of smoked ice and maple syrup, you’ll be able to create a lot of different cocktails.
10. Smoked Lemons
Smoked lemons is another wonderful recipe to try. You can smoke lemons over fruit wood for 2 hours at 200 degrees F.
This can be used as vinaigrette for salad dressing or for marinating a whole chicken.
You can also add syrup or brown sugar and tonic water to the smoked lemon juice to create a refreshing lemonade drink. Smoked lemon is also perfect for creating Whiskey Sour, Limoncello, and other cocktails.
11. Smoked Sea Salt and Spices
Smoked salt and spices will add a smokey flavor to traditionally non-smokey dishes. This can lead you to discover unique flavor profiles that you’ve never had before.
Either hot or cold smoking can be used for this recipe. You can also smoke all kinds of salt and spices like nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon and paprika.
Just set up the smoker to about 80 degrees F. You can smoke salt for at least 4 hours or leave it in the smoker for up to 24 hours.
The longer you smoke, the more intense the flavor. The ideal smoking time will depend on what dishes you plan to make.
12. Smoked Veggies
Slow cooking in the smoker gives vegetables a smoky flavor, and this cooking technique can also help retain more vitamins and nutrients.
You can smoke green beans, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and other vegetables. While our recipe recommends using a hot smoker, you can use cold smoking on vegetables that can be eaten raw.
Smoked veggies pair perfectly with your meat dishes. You can also use smoked tomatoes for making pasta, salsa, and barbecue sauce. Meanwhile, smoked onions transform the flavor of French onion soup.
13. Smoked Sour Cream
Enhance the flavor of standard nachos or potato chips by serving it with a smoked sothem cream dip. Your guests won’t be able to stop eating until the very last drop.
This smoked recipe takes only a few minutes. Just place the sour cream into a hand-smoker for about 30 minutes and you’re done.
You can use this for smoked turkey nachos, chicken fajitas, and smoked pork chops, among many other smoked meat dishes.
14. Smoked Baked Beans
You might be surprised to find smoked baked beans on our list. This is because everyone loves the smokiness of baked beans. But if you don’t have time to make your own, the taste of canned beans may leave you unsatisfied.
Just put your canned beans in the smoker for 15 minutes. You can also add smoked onions and other ingredients to enhance the overall flavor of smoked food.
15. Smoked Cheez-Its
Smoked Cheez It makes for a tasty snack during barbecues or tailgate parties. While waiting for smoked food to cook, serve smoked Cheez-Its to whet your guests’ appetites.
All you need to do for this recipe is to put your seasoned Cheez-Its on the smoker for about 2 hours at 200 degrees F. Wait a few minutes to cool, and they’re ready to serve.
How to Maximize the Taste of Smoked Foods
If you’re a beginner smoker, you’ll need to know the different smoking techniques that will help maximize the taste of smoked foods.
First is the traditional smoker, also referred to as a hot smoker. It uses high heat of around 165 to 300 degrees F to infuse dishes with that classic smoky flavor.
This is ideal for meat and other food that can withstand higher temperatures. Even though you might find burnt ends occasionally, smoked foods will generally be their own.
Meanwhile, a cold smoker is designed for curing and smoking foods that would likely burn or melt at higher temperatures.
Cold smoking will only use about 68 to 86 degrees F. The food is also not exposed to direct heat to help retain moisture.
You can use a hot smoke grill for this technique, but you’ll need to place a tray of ice between the food and the heat source, which helps cool the cooking chamber.
Once the ice has melted, you’ll need to replenish it. It might be helpful to have an undercounter ice maker to ensure that you have enough supply for cold smoking.
Lastly, you may also need a smoking gun or handheld smoker. This is great for smoking ice, cheeses, and sauces.
It can also be convenient when you don’t have time to fire up the grill. You can create unusual smoked foods from the comfort of your kitchen.
Start Smoking Something New
Armed with these simple smoker recipes and knowledge, you can now start smoking something new. It can be pretty exciting to work on a recipe you haven’t tried before, isn’t it?
Now that you know all about cooking unusual smoked foods, it’s time to get your hands busy and your smoker burning!