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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
(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.
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.
The potatoes also take a while, around 4-6 hours to get as soft as I like them.
Quick Recap – Corn
- Pull down husks
- Remove silks
- Soak in water for 2-3 hours
- Pull up husks around ear
- Smoke at 230 degrees for 2 hours or until tender
- Brush on barbecue butter every 30 minutes while cooking
Quick Recap – Cabbage
- Cut out cap
- Carve hole into cabbage
- Fill hole with butter/rub
- Place cap on cabbage
- Wrap cabbage in foil
- Smoke cabbage for 6-7 hours or until super tender
Quick Recap – Potatoes
- Mix olive oil with kosher salt
- Rub oil/salt mixture on potatoes liberally
- Smoke potatoes for 4-6 hours or until fork tender