Working with your Masterbuilt smoker is likely more interesting than you might have imagined. While smoking meat, poultry, and fish is what most people use these workhorses for, you can also smoke a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs and spices, and even salt. I would venture to say you can smoke almost anything edible and fresh, including cheese.
I am a fan of some of the extreme wilderness TV reality shows. I love it when survivalists catch something weird, like a poisonous snake, a wild hog, a snapping turtle, or a giant electric eel. What I notice is that they can’t always eat the entire catch and have to preserve it by setting up a makeshift smoker with indirect heat and a palm leaf tent to make the protein last for several days. Fortunately, the rest of us have smokers to make life easier and allow us to smoke more than wild meats.
One tidbit of information that kept coming up was that you should always smoke your vegs on the upper rack, above your protein, if combining the two. The reason for this is safety. The potential for cross-contamination from undercooked meat drippings onto vegetables is preventable by using this rule of thumb.
Vegs and Fruits take less time to smoke than meats, so be mindful of the clock when trying to do both at once.
You can use an electric, propane, or charcoal Masterbuilt smoker to prepare these dishes. Most of the recipes suggest types of pans or other vessels you might need for smoking produce. Different types of wood chips are suggested for the different foods. Feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors.
Corn on the Cob
Fresh Green Bees
Herbs and Spices
Nuts and Seeds
Artichokes are actually the flowering buds of a plant in the thistle family. It contains milk thistle (silymarin) that is a great liver detoxifier. It is also high in dietary fiber that aids in digestion and regulation of LDL cholesterol levels.
Smoking artichokes is a 2 step process. They need to be steamed before you can place them in the smoker. Otherwise, they tend to dry out ant the leaves are tough to eat. These make a great appetizer.
- 4 whole artichokes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Mesquite wood chips
Step 1: Steaming
Note: You might have to do this in 2 batches or in 2 separate pots.
1. Place a large pot on the stove with a metal steaming basket or colander inside. Fill with water just to the bottom of the basket and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, clean and trim your artichokes by removing some of the tough outer leaves near the base of the bud at the stem. Using a large serrated knife, slice off the top 1/4 of each artichoke. Slice off most of the stem so the chokes sit flat. With cooking shears, clip the pointy ends off of the outermost leaves.
3. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove the hairy choke in the center of each half by scraping it out completely with a spoon.
4. Place the halves, stem side down, in the steamer basket. Reduce the heat to a rolling simmer. Cover the pot and steam for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until the inside of the artichoke is tender.
5. Remove the basket and let the artichokes come to room temperature so you can handle them comfortably.
Step 2: Smoking
1. Preheat your smoker to 200°F. Add water to the bowl and wood chips to the side tray, or as directed for a charcoal smoker.
2. Place the artichokes in aluminum foil packets that will serve as open cooking bowls.
3. Combine the EVOO, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Brush this mixture all over the artichokes.
4. Smoke the artichoke halves for approximately 1 hour. Enjoy as is or with melted butter for dipping.
Asparagus is not a commonly smoked vegetable. Yet, it is certainly sturdy enough to hold up well in a smoker. The early spring fresh and thick stalks would work nicely. I think the best way to approach asparagus is to break off the tough lower stem and coat them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Smoke them until tender yet still crisp at approximately 225°F. That should take about 90 minutes.
I was also thinking you could try wrapping each asparagus spear in thinly sliced bacon prior to smoking. I have not tried this yet, but I think the flavors might be amazing. Just smoke until the bacon is browned and cooked through.
One Masterbuilt recipe I found suggested placing the asparagus atop a bed of sliced onions in a baking dish, drizzled with butter, and smoked for up to 2 hours.
What would be very handy for smoking asparagus is a vegetable grilling basket or a grilling pan that has holes in the bottom. You can find these online or at grilling supply stores.
For this recipe I used a small head of classic green cabbage. Just remove the outer 2 leaves and rinse it well first. For a large head, increase the cook time.
- 1 small head of green cabbage
- 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 TBS butter
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Sea salt and black pepper for the outside
- Water and naturally sweetened apple juice
- Hickory or apple wood chips
1. Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Fill the water bowl half way with 50% water & 50% apple juice. Fill the wood chip tray.
2. Using a small sharp knife, remove the core of the cabbage so that there is a cylindrical cavity that is approximately 1-1/4” wide and 3” deep. Be sure not to go all the way through the head. This may take a few cuts with the knife.
3. Fill the cavity with the vinegar, then salt and pepper, then the butter. Rub the outside of the head with EVOO and coat with salt and pepper.
4. Make a bowl out of aluminum foil for the cabbage to sit in. Make it large enough to be able to close the foil around the head of cabbage later. Rest the cabbage in the foil with the cut end facing up.
5. Place the cabbage in foil on the smoker rack. Smoke for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add more wood chips and liquid at 45 to 60 minutes.
6. Remove the cabbage and close the foil completely around the head. Smoke for another 30 minutes.
7. You can cut the head into wedges and serve as a side. It pairs well with smoked pork chops and apple sauce.
It might be possible to smoke a whole cauliflower, similar to smoking a head of cabbage. However, it was recommended to me that you break up the cauliflower into smaller pieces and remove the core. Place the florets in a disposable foil pan and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Smoke the cauliflower segments for up to 2 hours at 200°F, stirring halfway through the smoking. Replace water and chips, as needed. I would serve this with a light vinaigrette or aioli.
Cauliflower is nutritious. It is a cruciferous vegetable that contains 80% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. It is also a great source of dietary fiber and is quite low in calories.
I recommend using a disposable foil sheet tray for this recipe. The tomatoes will burst open as they smoke and release tasty, but messy, juices. You will really enjoy the roasted, smoky, charred tomatoes in salads, sauces, and on pasta. You can also make a tomato jam to spread on crostini. These have such concentrated sweet flavor that you really don’t need to season or oil them before smoking.
- 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, or enough to fill the pan
- Mild wood chips
1. Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Add water to half full in the bottom bowl. Add wood chips to the side tray.
2. Rinse the tomatoes off in cool water and allow them to dry on paper towels.
3. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the pan and smoke for 90 minutes. Add water and more wood chips at approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
Coarse Salt (Sea Salt, Kosher Salt)
Smoking your own salt will save you some money. Smoked salt in the market is expensive. When smoking salt, use coarse kosher or sea salt. And, use a thin sheet pan or aluminum foil pan to get a nice even layer.
Plan on soaking your wood chips for at least an hour. Soak enough to fill the smoker a couple of times. Some people suggest smoking salt at 350°F for an hour, while others recommend smoking at 180°F for up to 6 hours. 6 hours seems like a long time to tend to the smoker for some salt. I would think somewhere in-between would be ideal.
Most of the recipes I found for smoking salt recommended doing it on a Masterbuilt Charcoal Smoker. If you have electric or gas, try that. It may take a little experimentation with timing and temperature. But, the results should be rewarding. I am not a fan of paying a small fortune for something I can make at home for a few dollars.
Corn on the Cob
Many recipes call for soaking the corn in water with the husks peeled back. I found that soaking the corn in the husks allowed then to steam better, resulting in tender kernels, and the husks didn’t get quite as charred.
- 6 to 12 ears of white or sweet corn
- Butter, kosher salt, & cracked black pepper for serving
- Oak or hickory wood chips
1. Carefully peel back the corn husks to the stem. Remove the interior silks. Place the husks back over the ears of corn. Immerse the whole covered corn in a sink or bucket filled with water and soak for 2 hours.
2. Preheat your electric or gas grill to 225°F. Add water to the bowl and wood chips to the side tray.
3. Place the ears of corn on the top 2 racks of the smoker and set a timer for 2 hours.
4. Rotate the corn every 30 minutes. Replace the water and wood chips at 45 to 60 minutes.
5. Check an ear of corn at 1 hour and 45 minutes to make sure it isn’t drying out.
6. Serve with butter, salt, and pepper.
Eggplant and Baba Ghanoush
I have grilled eggplant slices and baked whole eggplants for making baba ghanoush, a traditional Middle Eastern eggplant dip. I have been served this dip made from eggplant that has been smoked. The flavor is a game changer. You will need 2 medium eggplant for this recipe.
Most recipes I have seen for smoking eggplant suggest removing the skin and slicing the eggplant into 1/4″ rounds that can be placed directly on the rack. Coat the eggplant in olive oil before smoking. Use a mild wood chip, as eggplant is a sponge that absorbs any smoke flavor. Smoke at 200°F for approximately 1 hour until soft and tender.
After the eggplant has been smoked make the dip:
- Smoked rounds from 2 medium eggplants
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 4 TBS tahini (sesame paste)
- 3 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsps olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Pita bread cut into triangles
1. Place first seven ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with the parsley.
2. Serve with triangles of pita bread for dipping. You can also lightly toast the bread before serving. The dip will keep well while toasting the bread.
Fresh Green Beans
I have found a few recipes for smoked green beans that have left me feeling less than enthusiastic. The main reason I am not enamored with some of the recipes is that they call for canned string beans. The color and texture are not that appealing to me.
I love fresh produce, so I decided to try smoking some fresh green beans, haricots verts to be exact. I found that if I soaked them in water, just like corn on the cob, they smoked to a remarkably tender, yet crisp, consistency.
- 1 pound of fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed
- Your favorite Italian salad dressing to coat (I used a simple homemade vinaigrette)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Oak wood chips
1. Wash and trim the beans. Soak them in a clean sink or bowl filled with water for 1 to 2 hours.
2. Preheat your smoker to between 200°F and 225°F. Place water in the bowl to half full. Place wood chips in the side drawer or inside the charcoal smoker.
3. Make a rectangular foil pan or use a disposable foil pan. Place the beans in the pan in a single layer and lightly coat with the dressing.
4. Place the beans on the upper shelf of the smoker and cook for approximately 1 hour.
5. Remove from the heat and squeeze lemon juice over the beans. Close the foil around the hot beans, or cover the pan with foil. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
I have often wrapped whole bulbs of garlic in foil with some olive oil and salt, and then roasted them on a charcoal grill or in the oven. The cloves just slide out of the skin and are buttery. You can smoke garlic the same way. Just slice the very top of the bulb off to expose the cloves. (Use the sliced ends in making bone broth) Place the sliced bulbs in individual foil packets. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Close up the foil loosely around the bulb so the smoke can get it and the oil doesn’t leak out.
Smoke as many bulbs as you can fit or desire for approximately 1 hour in a 250°F to 275°F preheated smoker with water soaked wood chips. Soak your wood chips for an hour rather than filling the water bowl.
There are some garlic aficionados who dry smoke whole heads of garlic for up to 24 hours over indirect and extremely low heat. Smoked garlic is really nice to spread on toasted baguette slices or when added to pestos and pasta sauces.
Herbs and Spices
As much as I would like to be able to add a recipe for smoked herbs and spices, I haven’t developed one as of yet. My research turned up a few ideas. However, the herbs and spices that were smoked were mostly accomplished by placing an herb filled small foil cup or pan in the center of a cast iron skillet and surrounding that with soaked wood chips. The skillet was covered and heated to the smoke point and left to smoke for 30 minutes.
I don’t know why the same concept couldn’t work in a Masterbuilt Smoker. Black pepper and paprika both take well to smoke. I think a blend of herbs and spices might make the process worth the effort. It would make sense to try a small blend on the top rack while you are already smoking some protein or sides.
The most popular herbs and spices that I have seen smoked are Pepper, paprika, rosemary, cinnamon, thyme, crushed red pepper, and cumin. This would make a nice smoky rub blend. Smoked herbs and spices will keep well in sealed glass jars for a few months. You could even mix them into your smoked salt.
I had intended to develop a recipe for traditional stuffed bell peppers for the smoker. While researching the methodology and timing, I came across plenty of recipes for smoked stuffed bell peppers. I felt a little deflated, as this has been done already too many times.
I did, however, come across a smoked jalapeño popper recipe that just sounded too good to pass up. I have adapted it for making on a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.
- 12 large jalapeño peppers
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 slices of the heel end of your favorite bread
- Hickory or apple wood chips
1. Preheat your electric smoker to between 225°F. Place water in the bowl to half full. Place wood chips in the side tray.
2. Place the cheeses into a food processor and blend until just mixed. You can also do this by hand or with a hand mixer.
3. Cut the stem tops off of the peppers. Scoop out the seeds and membranes with a small spoon.
4. Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture. Place a small piece of the bread in the open end to prevent the cheese from oozing out. Wrap the bacon around the peppers, being sure to cover the ends. Hold the bacon in place with toothpicks.
5. Place the poppers on a sheet pan and smoke for approximately 1-1/2 hours or until the bacon is brown and crisp. You can rotate the poppers at 45 minutes. Replenish the water and wood chips at 45 to 60 minutes.
Nuts and Seeds
You may have seen smoked nuts at the market, especially almonds smoked with tamari in the health food store. Tamari is gluten free soy sauce. I can’t get enough of these. I have tried making them in a dry iron skillet and with a butter and a spice blend in the oven. Both have turned out well. I make Paleo granola every week with a variety of nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs. None of these recipes produce a smoky flavor.
Choose whatever nuts you prefer and the spices you enjoy. I recommend using only raw nuts, not toasted ones. While a wet component is very helpful when smoking nuts, I find that soaking nuts in pure water for 8 or more hours works best and makes the nuts more digestible.
Here is a quick recipe that you can modify to your own liking.
- 1/2 cup each of raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsps grapeseed oil
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup or tamari for a savory blend
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- Pecan or oak wood chips
1. Soak the nuts in filtered water for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Soak the wood chips for an hour.
3. Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Add chips to the smoker. Set a timer for 60 minutes.
4. Drain the nuts and dry on paper towels. In a large bowl, combine the oil, syrup or tamari, and spices. Add the nuts and coat with everything.
5. Place the nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer. Smoke for approximately 60 minutes until completely dry and crunchy. Test at 60 minutes. Leave in for up to 2 hours, if necessary for the texture you enjoy.
I wasn’t feeling terribly creative when it came to smoking pineapple. I kept trying to develop a recipe for smoked rings of pineapple. This wasn’t inspiring me. I did find a skilled Masterbuilt Electric Smoker home chef in Alaska who has a super tasty smoked whole pineapple with rum sauce recipe that keeps it moist and sweet.
This recipe is for what she calls a “pineapple boat”. It is rather clever because she uses the pineapple outer shell as the smoking vessel. And, who doesn’t like rum with pineapple? Here is a video of the pineapple boat with rum sauce that is well done and easy to follow. It needs no tweaking from me.
These large fungi are like perfect little cups to retain moisture while smoking. I did them on a charcoal smoker and they were moist and packed with intense mushroom flavor. I left the gills intact because they are flavorful and grab the herbs. Feel free to remove them if you don’t like the presentation.
- 6 to 12 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed, gills intact
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Herbs de Provence (buy or make your own)
- Oak wood chips
1. Preheat your electric or charcoal smoker to approximately 200°F. Fill the water bowl 1/2 way and add the wood chips to the side tray or above the coals.
2. Clean the mushrooms by wiping them down with a dry cloth or paper towel. Don’t wash them in water. Rub them all over with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle some of the herbs inside the bowl of the mushroom caps.
3. Place the mushrooms, cap side down, directly on the top grill rack. Smoke for approximately 2 hours. Refill the water bowl and wood chip tray at 45 to 60 minutes.
4. Remove carefully so the herbal liquid in the cap remains in place. Serve whole. When you cut into a smoked mushroom the juices will run onto the plate. I enjoyed that with my smoked chicken legs and some brown rice to absorb the herbal juices.
Baking potatoes work well for smoking. You can also use smaller red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes. Just smoke for a little less time.
- 6 medium russet potatoes, washed well and eyes removed
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Hickory wood chips
1. Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Add water to the bowl to half full. Add wood chips to the side tray or inside the smoker, depending on which type you are using. I did them on a charcoal smoker.
2. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the skin of the potatoes. Rub them generously with EVOO, salt, and pepper.
3. Place the potatoes on the top rack of the smoker. Set a timer for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Smoke for 60 minutes and then rotate them for the remainder of the time.
4. Check for smoke at 45 to 60 minutes. Add more wood chips and water as needed.
5. Check the potatoes at 1 hour and 45 minutes. If not tender, smoke for another 15 to 30 minutes.
6. Serve with butter and sour cream or make your favorite stuffed potatoes and put them back in the smoker to reheat.
You can also smoke sweet potatoes. Check out this recipe for smoked turkey and sweet potatoes to get the directions.
My favorite onion to grill or smoke is Vidalia. They have such great natural sugars that caramelize when hit with fire or smoke. I like these smoked low and slow in an electric smoker.
- 6 large sweet onions
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 tsps each of powdered allspice, ginger, thyme, and chili powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Hickory or pecan wood chips
1. Preheat your electric smoker to between 200°F and 225°F. Place water in the bowl to half full. Place wood chips in the side tray.
2. In a small bowl, mix the dried herbs & spices, salt, and pepper together. Then, mix in the EVOO.
3. Cut the top stem portion of the onion off, leaving the rest of the bulb intact. Remove the outer layer of papery skin and discard. Brush or rub each onion with the herb and oil mixture liberally.
4. Place the onions directly on the top rack of the smoker.
5. Smoke for 2 to 3 hours. Replace some water and wood chips every hour, or as needed.
6. Served sliced with your favorite protein.
The leftover onions are excellent in the middle of a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich with some prosciutto. This is a great brunch dish with some eggs and a watermelon salad.
Grilled Cheese with Smoked Onions
This is for 2 sandwiches. Increase the amounts accordingly for more people.
- 4 slices of whole grain bread
- 1-1/2 TBS butter (more or less) at room temperature
- 4 slices of good cheddar cheese
- 1 smoked sweet onion, sliced thinly
- 4 thin slices of prosciutto
1. Heat your panini grill or skillet on medium.
2. Butter both sides of the 4 bread slices.
3. Place a slice of cheese on 2 of the slices of bread. Add 2 slices of prosciutto on top of the cheese. Top that with the sliced onion. Add another slice of cheese and top of the onions. Place a slice of bread on top of each assembled sandwich.
4. Grill with the panini press top closed for 3 minutes until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt. Or, cook in the skillet up to 3 minutes per side
I grill vegetables and fruit all the time. I will place my protein over the flame and arrange the vegetables or fruits on the outer ring of the grill so they cook more slowly and don’t get burned. It didn’t really occur to me that I was actually smoking the produce while grilling the protein. When I let my meat or fish rest, I closed the lid of my grill and allowed the fresh sides to simply keep cooking in the smoke of the fire.
This was the beginning of my ahah moment that I could actually just be smoking produce in a Masterbuilt Smoker instead of grilling. The timing is a little longer, but not by much. The smoky flavor is definitely more intense with the addition of the wood chips and liquid.
If you aren’t already smoking foods other than meat, poultry, and fish, this summer is a great time to start trying this out. There will be some trial and error. I found that out when I smoked my first batch of corn. I left it on too long and completely dried it out. Don’t fret if this happens. Just enjoy the process and make adjustments as you learn what works for you and your particular smoker. Most of all enjoy the food and those you share it with.