How to Smoke Nuts and Seeds

Most of us have heard of smoked almonds and have eaten them but some other nuts and even edible seeds that are not so common are also great smoked. Among these are pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Here's how to do it:

Brining the Nuts

Brine the nuts to get a little saltiness into the meat using my normal brine solution as follows:

Ingredients

Place water into gallon sized pitcher and add salt. Stir until dissolved then add rub and stir briskly to mix.

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Place nuts into individual quart sized ziplocs and fill with brine. Zip closed and let them soak for 2 to 4 hours on cabinet top or other flat surface.

Pictured here I have pecans, almonds, raw red skinned peanuts and sunflower seeds brining.

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I wanted to use my rub recipe on the nuts but I wanted a finer texture so I ran some of the rub through the coffee grinder and it was perfect! Fine, silky and delicious..

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When the nuts are finished brining, drain the water and pour the nuts out onto paper towels to drain. Once they have finished draining, place them in separate bowls and set aside.

Brining the Pumpkin Seeds

When brining pumpkin seeds I like to boil them in salty water as this tends to help the salty water/seasoning to get inside the shell. I also use a slightly different mixture.. like this:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 Tablespoons kosher salt

Dissolve salt into water in a medium sauce pan then add pumpkin seeds. Place pan on burner over medium heat and allow it to come to a boil. Allow to simmer for about 8-12 minutes then remove from heat.

Pour seeds/brine into a wire strainer over the sink to remove the pumpkin seeds and pour them out on a paper towel to drain for a few minutes.

Note: don't leave them too long or they might stick to the paper towel.

After a few minutes, place the pumpkin seeds in a bowl and set aside.

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Preparing the Nuts and Seeds for Smoking

Use spray oil/butter to coat the seeds with oil in the bowl as this will help the seasoning to stick better. Add about 1 heaping tablespoons of my rub (ground fine if possible) per 1 cup of nuts or seeds and stir to coat evenly.

Peanuts coated with my rub..

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Once all of the seeds and nuts are coated with the rub, they can be placed into a mesh grill topper or into Bradley racks  or a cooling rack lined with foil.

Please note that Bradley warns against the use of foil lined racks or foil pans in the Bradley smoker as this can cause a serious fire.

Maintain a temperature of 230°F in the smoker.

For the Pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds, I applied cherry smoke for 2 hours and allowed them to cook for an additional 2 hours.

The peanuts got the same smoke time but needed an extra hour or so to get finished.

The best way to do this is to let them smoke cook for about 2 hours at the recommended temperature then do a taste test every 30 minutes until you like the way they taste and look.

Note: the peanuts will remain soft until they cool down so “crunchiness” is not a determining factor of doneness.

Here's some finished shots and boy where they tasty.. my kids went nuts (pun intended) for these, especially the pecans and the pumpkin seeds.

Pecans: 2 hours smoke/4 hours total cook time @ 230

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Almonds: 2 hours smoke/4 hours total cook time @ 230

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Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds: 2 hours smoke/4 hours total cook time @ 230

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Peanuts: 2 hours smoke/5 hours total cooktime @ 230

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5 Comments

  1. John Pole December 28, 2018 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    So far we have smoked quite a few things on our camp chef smoke pro smoker/grill. Just bought a bag of raw cashews at sam’s club to try so we are going to use our recipe that we do with the raw almonds. We usually do about 3 cups at a time filling a bowl with water, liquid smoke— about 4 oz, and a few good squirts of sriracha hot sauce— don’t worry it won’t burn your face off, it just adds a good garlic flavor to the mix and a little heat. Mix it up and ad your cashews making sure it covers the nuts entirely, stirring a few times for 10 minutes Ia little longer but 10 minutes is really enough. Drain the cashews into a colander and discard the liquid. Take your favorite seasoned salt or zesty seasoned salt that might have chili or hot pepper seasoning mixed in with the seasoned salt. Sprinkle generously on to the wet/damp cashews while tossing several times to make sure the cashews are well coated. Spread the cashews out evenly on expanded metal sheets sold by Weber found at Walmart stores or any store selling Weber grilling accessories. They come in a 3 pk and are cheap and reuseable. The edges are easily folded up higher so the cashews stay on the sheets that are placed directly on the main grill grate in the smoker. I lower the lid and turn the grill on to the high smoke setting—220 degrees. I don’t preheat the grill because i don’t want to waste all that good smoke while the smoker is reaching the 220 degree mark. Moisture is now being dehydrated. From the cashews while all that good smoke is being infused into the cashews. After about 2 hrs i check to see if they are still too chewed. If so , leave them for another hr or turn the smoker up to 300 degrees f until they have the crunch you like. I will usually take them off after 2hrs leaving them on their expanded metal sheets and put them in the oven @ 175–200deg.f until i think they are crunchy enough. Remove from oven to cool to room temp— they will get even crunchier. Time to enjoy. Bag them up in a zip lock bag to maintain crunchy ness. J.pole

  2. Brian Ward April 4, 2018 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Are magnolia seed pods good for smoking meat?

  3. Jonathon May 20, 2016 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    I also read your book – great stuff! Quick question on here – what alloy wire mesh are you using for your racks? Does something like the stainless steel woven wire mesh seen here work? : http://www.bwire.com

    I recently read that cooking with stainless steel is not a good idea due to the chemicals used in the manufacturing process of the metal – is there any way to clean this residue off before cooking? Can it be burned off?

    • Jeff Phillips May 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Stainless steel is perfect for cooking as long as it's clean. There are other blends like galvanized that are not good for food and especially at high temperatures but many smoker manufacturers use stainless steel for grates and lots of cookware is made from stainless steel.

      I think a stainless steel mesh or cloth would work fine as long as the opening are small enough so the seed, nuts or whatever you are smoking will fall though. You can place cut-to-fit stainless steel mesh onto a Bradley rack or Weber Grill pan as well.

      In the absence of this mesh, you can use a cookie sheet and just stir the nuts/seeds occasionally for proper smoke coverage.

  4. Jim Pierce April 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    got your book on smoking meat for Christmas last year , and I really love all your rubs and brines.

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