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Today we are going to look at some vegetable which work very well in the smoker and I am going to show you exactly how to smoke corn on the cob, how to smoke cabbage marinated in butter and seasoning and how to smoke potatoes in the smoker with olive oil and kosher salt.

Now that everyone’s mouths are watering (including mine) let’s get right into the main event and I am excited about showing you some of these rare smoked vegetable treats.

Purchasing the Corn

I recommend finding ears of corn that are fresh, the husks are nice and green and the silks are dark brown as this indicates corn that has matured properly. Early spring is not the best time to buy corn from local markets but you can usually find decent corn that has been shipped in if you know where to go.

The corn that I found for this experiment was not the best I’ve seen but it tasted good and it worked to demonstrate the recipe.

Fresh Corn

Preparing the Corn for Smoking

These steps are very important so make sure you follow them: you want to pull the husks down one by one, layer by layer without tearing them as we are going to pull the husks back up around the corn later.

Once the husk is pulled down as far as possible to the bottom of the ear, remove the silks as best as you can.

Husks pulled down and silks removed

Prepare a large pot of cold water and as you pull down the husks and remove the silk, place the corn ear side first, down into the water with the husks sticking up.

Corn into water for soaking

Important: Soak the corn for about 2-3 hours before proceeding to the next steps.

Purchasing the Cabbage

Technically you could use almost any type of head cabbage and almost any size. The chinese cabbage heads are much smaller and may be more tender.. I opted to use the larger green cabbage which is what I am accustomed to. I look for nice large heads that are oblong and have a nice uniform light-green color all over.

Heads of Cabbage

Preparing the Cabbage

This is the fun part: you are going to want to cut a cap out of the cut end of the cabbage. I usually do this by angling my knife at about 45 degrees and cutting a circle the same size as the core. This gives me a nice little cap or plug that we will use later.

Cap cut out of cabbage head Cap fits

Next we want to use a sharp knife to completely notch out a deep hole so we can fill it with rub and butter. Be careful to not mess up the shape of the original notch so the cap will fit correctly.

Pieces cut out Deep hole notched into cabbage

Place about a tablespoon of my rub recipe into the hole, then fill the remaining space with softened butter. Be sure to use the real stuff if possible, this just isn’t the right time to use margarine in my opinion.

Cabbage hole filled with rub Filled with real butter

Note: in retrospect, after I did this I was wishing that I had just went ahead and mixed the rub and butter together rather than leaving them separate. It works either way, but it just seems to make more sense to go ahead and mix it first.

Plug the hole with the cap we cut out earlier, wrap the cabbage in a piece of heavy duty foil and it’s ready to go!

Cabbage filled, plugged and ready to smoke Cabbage wrapped in foil

Purchasing the Potatoes

I suppose you could use russets or whatever type of potato you like, I usually prefer the yukons. Look for potatoes that are clean, evenly sized if possible (so they’ll all get done together) and free of bad spots.

Preparing the Potatoes for Smoking

I like to pour about 1/4 cup or so of olive oil into a shallow bowl with about 1 tbs of kosher salt. This makes for a great rub for the potatoes and the skins come out a lot crispier.

Olive oil and salt for smoking potatoes Oiled and salted potatoes

Finishing up the Corn

Once the corn has finished soaking for 2-3 hours, pull them out of the water and carefully pull the husks back up around the ears. They are now ready to smoke.

Smoking the Vegetables

For this newsletter, I smoked the corn, cabbage and potatoes alone in the smoker. Normally, these items would be smoked along with some type of meat or whenever you already have the smoker going.

Regardless of what type of smoker you use to smoke the veggies, I recommend that you maintain about 230-250 degrees for best results.

The vegetable do not require a heavy or strong smoke but it does not hurt them either. Almost any kind of wood smoke that is good with meat, will taste great on the vegetables.

Once the smoker is up to temperature and maintaining your goal temperature, place the vegetables in the smoker making sure to leave a little space between them for the smoke.

If you are not using an all-wood smoker, apply smoke for about 2 hours and after that, it’s optional as to whether you continue adding smoke.

Most of the veggies are left alone while smoking however, I do recommend closing up the foil around the cabbage after a couple of hours to let it steam until it is tender.

I also like to rub some flavored butter on the corn about every 30 minutes or so while it smokes. To accomplish this, you simply lift up the husks, rub a little flavored butter (recipe below) on the kernels then replace the husk.

Here is how to make my barbecue butter using my rub recipe:

Barbecue Butter

Barbecue Butter

(this stuff is soooo good!!)

1/4 lb (1 stick) Real salted butter
2 TBS of Jeff’s rub recipe

Instructions: soften the butter by leaving it out in room temperature for several hours or by placing it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. You will get a creamier effect by using room temperature instead of the microwave.

Mix in the rub until smooth. Whip with a fork to remove lumps in the butter and to obtain a smooth, creamy texture.

When Is It Done?

Under normal circumstances, the corn should get done in about 2 hours. Start checking it at around the 2 hour mark and when it’s tender enough, it’s time to eat.

Finished smoking corn

The cabbage is highly dependent upon the size of the heads and the smoker temperature. I purchased really large cabbages so it took almost 6 hours for them to be tender enough and in my opinion, they could have went another hour to be as tender as I like it.

Finished head of cabbage Cabbage quarter with barbecue butter

The potatoes also take a while, around 4-6 hours to get as soft as I like them.

Finished smoked potato

Quick Recap – Corn

  1. Pull down husks
  2. Remove silks
  3. Soak in water for 2-3 hours
  4. Pull up husks around ear
  5. Smoke at 230 degrees for 2 hours or until tender
  6. Brush on barbecue butter every 30 minutes while cooking

Quick Recap – Cabbage

  1. Cut out cap
  2. Carve hole into cabbage
  3. Fill hole with butter/rub
  4. Place cap on cabbage
  5. Wrap cabbage in foil
  6. Smoke cabbage for 6-7 hours or until super tender

Quick Recap – Potatoes

  1. Mix olive oil with kosher salt
  2. Rub oil/salt mixture on potatoes liberally
  3. Smoke potatoes for 4-6 hours or until fork tender

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About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

10 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Rodney November 1, 2015 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    For those of adventurous soul, try smoke roasted tomatoes for Pasta sauce. Been doing this for about 5 years and it makes an awesome taste sensation and memorable sauce. I halve my Roma tomatoes, scoop out the seeds and stem. Line them up single level and smoke at about 220f with 3 to 4 hours of mild smoke (Hickory, Apple, Cherry or Oak). If you have shelves, you will want to rotate your shelves every hour for the full 4 hours they are in the smoker. Then sauce and season as you would a normal Pasta sauce.

    To Trish; there are two different peppers raised for Chipotles. While they are technically Jalapeno’s, they are different. I tried smoking and drying garden Jalapeno’s one year and there was comparison to the real thing. There are Morita and Meco peppers used for Chipotles. The Morita is by far the most common and appears red or dark red. The Meco is my favorite and is brown and commonly called the “Little Cigar” because it is stubby and brown. The Meco has a milder heat and more flavor compounds.

  2. Bobbi June 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Why would you not season the corn before smoking? Love the article. You gave such great ideas.

  3. Trish October 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Has anyone smoked jalapeño peppers for chipotle powder?

    • Beverly May 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      We smoke whole jalapeños and both hot and sweet banana peppers. Then I dehydrate them and just break oe smash them apart with my hands and store in spice container. I’ve also ground them but we like it better broken up by hand.

      • Trish May 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

        We smoke and dehydrate peppers every year. Jalapeños, hot wax, habanero, all kinds. We grind them into powder. Without a doubt the best chipotle pepper ever! We use it in everything. I would never buy it in stores again!

  4. jerry exline August 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Meatloaf is awsome thanks !

    • ken wichner August 29, 2013 at 9:48 am - Reply

      do you have a recipe for any thing smoked low or no sodium? thanks ken. I have your recipes for the rub and sauce.

    • Mona Baragary July 18, 2015 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      can I make the meat loaf like I always do and then some it

      • Mona Baragary July 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        forgot the post

  5. ed minturn June 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    HI, Just tried your rub on my third recipe and I can't say how happy I'am with how this works for so many things, We did the ribeyes lkst night and they were over the top in how they tasted. I'm just finishing up a turkey for tonight and it looks just awsome. Thank you again fo rtghe great rub and recipes.   ed minturn

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