If you’re on the fence about buying an electric smoker, allow us to knock you over to the buy-side.
You’re probably imagining making your own brisket, which is only natural because that’s what smokers are best known for. However, brisket recipes are only one category in an endless list of surprising and delicious possibilities. Brisket is just one reason to buy a smoker, albeit it is one of the most popular ones.
If you’re still in the shopping phase, we can help you pick out the perfect unit. Feel free to read these electric smoker reviews to see what other chefs are saying. Or maybe you want someone to make these delicacies for you. If that’s the case, remember that these smokers make awesome gifts for the BBQ enthusiast in your life. Do your best to pretend that this is a present for them. Hint, hint, wink, wink.
Today we will walk you through 3 less conventional recipes that will take you from thinking about buying a smoker to thinking about opening your own smokehouse restaurant. They’re that good.
Of course, this one is a bit less surprising, but it’s incredibly popular so we will lead with this one. If you have a smoker, you had better be able to make an amazing pulled pork. It’s great on heroes, Cubano sandwiches, nachos, or even poutine. It’s pulled pork, OK? It shouldn’t have to make a case for itself.
There is almost no wrong unit to use when making pulled pork, but we’ve had fantastic results with the Masterbuilt 40" electric smoker 20075315 model, with a smooth wood chip loading system.
I love smoking pulled pork because there’s real authenticity to the taste. You could make it in the slow cooker, but then you’re adding all manner of spices and things like liquid mesquite to try to create this smokey taste. And it never quite gets there, does it?
So, let’s make some.
Step 1: Prepare the Rub
If you have a store-bought rub that you want to use, we won’t judge you. Or if you already have a go-to rub of your own making, we salute you.
If you have neither, give this simple (but fantastic) mix a try:
- ¼ cup paprika
- ¼ cup of salt
- ½ cup of black pepper
- 2 tbsp garlic salt
- 2 tbsp granulated onion
- 1 cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp celery salt
Step 2: Preheat Your Smoker of Choice to 235°F
Step 3: Prepare the Pork
You’re going to want a pork shoulder between about 8-10 lbs. Get one with a decent sized fat cap.
When you get home, trim off the excess fat and cartilage, but leave about a quarter of an inch “fat cap” on top.
Pad it dry with a paper towel, then apply a coat of stone-ground mustard as a base, then add your rub.
Step 4: Place the Pork in Your Smoker, Fat Cap Side up, Cook for 2 Hours
Step 5: First Spray
Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts apple juice in a small spray bottle (any dollar store model is fine), and spray your pork down at around the 2 hour mark.
Step 6. Keep spraying
Give it another spray every hour until your pork’s internal temperature gets to 165.
Step 7. Wrap it up
Now, double wrap (to prevent leaks and tears) your pork in aluminum foil after one final spray. Wrap as tightly as possible to seal in all that goodness and get a nice bark.
Step 8. Cook Until finish
Let it cook wrapped up for another 7-8 hours, or until you reach an internal temperature between 200-250 F.
Step 9: Sit and Shred
Let it rest unwrapped for about 30 minutes, then get shredding.
Step 10: Enjoy!
Smoked watermelon - cubes or skewers
Oh, did you think this was simply going to be a meat smoking guide with no vegetarian/vegan ideas? Think again! Even the hungriest of carnivores have to admit that smoked watermelon is absolutely fantastic.
You can use these skewers as an appetizer that will disappear in the blink of an eye. Or you can add the melon cubes to a salad with feta cheese, or to a next-level sangria.
You may have seen the viral pictures of an insanely convincing watermelon ham from Duck’s Eatery in NYC. If you want to try it, it will cost you $75.00 (plus tip) and you have to get on a waiting list that is about 30 days long. If you want to make your own, it’s a 6-day complicated process.
...We didn’t think so.
Let’s make something just as good in about 90 minutes total. This will take about 45 minutes to cook in most charcoal smokers or give it a full hour in your electric smoker. Like any recipe, you may find you tweak your cook time after getting to know your unit and seeing different results.
Here’s how to make it.
Step 1: Prep Your Skewers
Soak your wooden skewers for about 10-30 minutes. The longer, the better.
Step 2: Prep the Watermelon
Chop the ends of the seedless watermelon off on a cutting board. Then, sit it up on one of the ends and remove the skin and rind. Now, cut the watermelon into 1-inch cubes.
Step 3: Drizzle (Don’t Drown) the Cubes
Put the cubes in a bowl and add a conservative amount of balsamic vinegar to the cubes and toss them with your hand. You don’t want to overdo it on the drizzle. These cubes are already mainly water. This process will dry them out, but things can still get messy. We invite you to check out this smoker maintenance guide to see how to keep your smoker spotless after this or any meal. Or check out this BBQ smoker cleaning guide for your more conventional models.
Step 4: Prep the Smoker
Preheat your smoker to 225°F and add your wood chips of choice.
Step 5: Skewer’em
Add about 6-8 cubes to the soaked skewers and place them directly on the rack in your smoker.
Step 6: Smoke’em
Again, this will take about 45 minutes in a charcoal smoker or about a full hour in an electric model. Check them as you go for texture and taste.
Step 7: Serve and Enjoy!
Be prepared to rethink everything you thought you knew about watermelon.
This is another great non-meat option. This is the fastest and possibly the most versatile recipe on this list. Once you try it, you may find yourself doing this once a week, just to have it on hand.
The brilliant part about this process is you can take any brick (and we mean any brick) of cheese from your local grocery store and turn it into something that should cost 10 times as much at a high-end fromagerie.
Some of the most popular cheese types you can smoke include:
- Monterey jack
These all have a high melting temperature, so they’re your best choice. However, goat and ricotta have the highest melting points.
The type of wood chips you use will depend on what type of taste you want and what type of existing taste the cheese already has. You want the two to play off of each other. So, if you have a strong cheese, give it a strong wood like oak or hickory. For something lighter and more subtle, pair it with your cherry, pecan or apple chips.
So, how does one put cheese in a hot smoker without turning it into a melted mess? Well, you don’t, really. Allow us to explain…
Step 1: Heat Your Smoker
Turn your smoker on for about 10-15 minutes (no more!) with the wood chips of your choice. The temperature it reaches doesn’t really matter, because you’re going to turn it off and let it cool. It’s going to cool with all that good smoke/steam inside and create cooler, but a smokey environment for our cheese.
Step 2: Add the Cheese
Now, add the cheese in the cool/ but smokey conditions. Let it sit in there for about 30-45 minutes to really lock in that flavor.
Step 3: Seal it and Store it
If you don’t eat it all in a single sitting after smoking it (It happens. We’re not throwing stones), keep that smoke flavor locked in by wrapping it in plastic or a tight Ziplock bag and putting it in the fridge.
If you can wait, the longer you leave the cheese in the fridge, the better it will get with age. Really layer tastes come after about 10 days, but the closer you can get to 30 days the more you will be happy you did.
There is no wrong way to use smoked cheese, whether you’re adding this to a gourmet burger or simply creating the world’s greatest charcuterie board.
Brisket is amazing, but it’s far from the only masterpiece that you can create with your electric smoker. If you haven’t bought one yet, we hope these mouthwatering recipes have sealed the deal.
If you simply treat these recipes as a starting point, our feelings won’t be hurt. In fact, that’s exactly what we want you to do.
Owning a smoker quickly goes from a hobby to a way of life. You will become obsessed with tinkering with chips and techniques, while borrowing a bit from this recipe and that recipe. Soon, you will find your own unique signature dishes that are distinctly yours and crowd favorites.
We’re just happy to be part of the process and hopefully just the start!