13 Best Vegetables to Smoke

By Ben Isham-Smith

Published:

Forget steamed or roasted vegetables—the tastiest stuff is smoked. Discover the best vegetables for smoking, from mushrooms to corn on the cob, in our comprehensive guide.

selection of smoked vegetables pulled from charcoal grill

Chances are, you don’t eat enough vegetables. Hardly any of us do. Let’s be honest—when it comes to taste and texture, vegetables can be a little bland if you don’t prepare them correctly. It’s time to banish the bland and light up your smoker. Smoking your veggies is one way to ensure that they’re packed full of flavor!

While most vegetables can be successfully smoked, some are particularly well-suited to this cooking process thanks to their texture, natural flavor profile, and ability to absorb the smoke. Here are some of our favorites.

Mushrooms

smoked mushrooms

Mushrooms tend to have a meaty texture and earthy taste, which makes them good candidates for smoking. Wood fire brings out their inherent umami notes, giving the smoked mushrooms an incredibly complex flavor.

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 250-300°F (120-150°C) for 15-30 minutes or until they are slightly dried and charred.
  • Wood Choice: apple, maple, pecan, or hickory. 
  • Serving Suggestion: Smoked mushrooms are a tasty addition to pizzas, pasta dishes, burgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. They can also be used to make a rich and flavorful soup. 

Onions

smoked onions

Upgrade your oven-roasted onions by cooking them low and slow over smoke. By cooking them over woodfire or coals, we can mellow their naturally sharp flavor and add some much-needed depth.

For smoked onions, we recommend using sweet onion varieties such as Vidalia (that’s yellow onion to you and me) or Walla Walla. Peel the outer skin off the onions and slice them in half. Season them with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper before placing them directly on the grate. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 225-250°F (107-120°C) for 2-3 hours until caramelized. 
  • Wood Choice: apple, maple, pecan or alder.
  • Serving Suggestion: Slice smoked onions thinly and add them to salads, salsas, burgers, or sandwiches. We also suggest blending them into your favorite dip to really elevate the flavor!

Tomatoes

homemade smoked tomato salsa

Okay, we know that tomatoes are technically not vegetables, but they are simply too good smoked to be left off this list. The smoke adds depth to the tart flavor profile, leaving you with a smoky, sweet, and juicy treat.

Core the tomatoes and score the skin so that the smoke can penetrate evenly.

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 225°F (107°C) for 45-60 minutes or extend the time to 90-120 minutes for a deeper smokiness and softer texture. 
  • Wood Choice: apple or cherry. 
  • Serving Suggestion: Create a smoky salsa by combining smoked tomatoes with cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and red onions. Or pair the smoked tomatoes with creamy mozzarella cheese and fresh basil for a twist on the classic Caprese salad.  

Carrots

Whether you coat them in a honey-garlic glaze, or simply season them with olive oil and salt, carrots come into their own on the smoker. They’ll come out with a crisp char on the outside and turn tender in the middle.

Preparing carrots for the smoker is pretty straightforward: give them a quick wash and peel before seasoning them. If you’re using a glaze, you might want to put the carrots on a baking tray, but otherwise they can go directly onto the smoker’s grates.

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 250°F (120°C) for approximately one hour. If your carrots are on a baking tray, turn them after 30 minutes.
  • Wood Choice: Apple, alder, cherry, maple or pecan.
  • Serving Suggestion: Smoke the carrots in a glaze of honey, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Serve them with crumbled feta and fresh parsley.

Sweet Potatoes

Baked sweet potatoes are good, but smoked sweet potatoes are irresistible. The natural sweetness of the potatoes combines with the smoky flavors to create a dish that is both savory and sweet.

Simply scrub your potatoes, pat them dry with paper towels, and poke a few holes in them with a fork. Rub them in a little olive oil and salt before placing them directly on the grates. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 275°F (135°C) for about two hours or until they are cooked through (they’re done when you can pierce them easily with a fork).
  • Wood Choice: apple, pecan, cherry or hickory.  
  • Serving Suggestion: For a sweet treat, serve with butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup. For something a little more savory, combine butter with roasted garlic, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and herbs.

Beets

Beets are known for their slightly sweet, hearty flavor profile, and they’re taken to a whole new level when smoked. Smoking beets can take a while, so if you are pressed for time, you can use pre-cooked beets to speed up the process. However, we recommend using raw beets and exercising a little patience.

To prepare your beets, chop off any greens and give them a good wash. It’s easier to smoke the beets with the skin still on, so just remove it after cooking. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 275-300°F (130-150°C) for about one hour until the skin turns tender and the beets have turned a deeper red color. To tell when they’re done, pierce them with a fork. If it slides through easily, you’re done.
  • Wood Choice: apple or hickory
  • Serving Suggestion: Dice up the smoked beets and serve with arugula, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and a balsamic-based vinaigrette. 

Zucchini

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that can quickly become bland—or even bitter—and mushy if you don’t prepare them properly. Thankfully, this is not the case when you smoke them. This abundant and often overlooked vegetable has a delicate taste that is enhanced by the addition of smoke.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Place the zucchini strips directly on the grate. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 225°F (107°C) for about an hour.
  • Wood Choice: apple, cherry, maple, or alder.
  • Serving Suggestion: Garnish your smoked zucchini with crumbled feta, olives, chopped cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs. 

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a wonderfully versatile vegetable that works well with a variety of seasoning options. You can smoke the whole head of the cauliflower or break it up into florets to reduce the smoking time and add more flavor to each bite.

If you’re going to smoke the whole head, it’s a good idea to marinate the vegetable for a few hours before popping it into the smoker. If you break the cauliflower up into florets, rub each floret with oil and your favorite seasoning rub. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: For florets, smoke at 300°F (150°C) for about an hour. They should be ready when they begin to brown around the edges. For a whole head of cauliflower, smoke at 225°F (107°C) for 2-3 hours (you can blanch the cauliflower before putting it in the smoker to reduce the cooking time).  
  • Wood Choice: apple, cherry, maple, oak or hickory. 
  • Serving Suggestion: Season the cauliflower with olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper before smoking. Serve with a yogurt-based dipping sauce (combine yogurt, feta, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender), and top with fresh mint and pomegranate seeds. 

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers have a combination of sweetness and acidity that works really well with smoke.

While it is possible to smoke stuffed peppers, we recommend simply slicing them up and tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper. They’re that good on their own. Arrange the pepper slices in an aluminum pan in a single layer and put them in the smoker. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Add the bell peppers to a grill basket at smoke at 300°F (150°C) for 20 minutes before turning the basket and cooking for another 20 minutes.  
  • Wood Choice: apple, maple, pecan or alder
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve on bread with smoked onion and smoked bratwurst for a delicious Chicago-style sandwich. 

Asparagus

Asparagus spears have a delicate texture and earthy flavor profile that is elevated with the smoking process. The thin skin of the asparagus allows the smoke to penetrate evenly throughout the vegetable.

After washing the asparagus and cutting off the ends of the stems, place the spears on some aluminum foil. Spritz with olive oil, before seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 225°F (107°C) for 40-60 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking. 
  • Wood Choice: apple, maple or alder.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve the smoked asparagus on toasted crostini with prosciutto and parmesan.

Eggplant

Eggplant has a firm and slightly spongy texture, but smoking transforms it into a tender and succulent vegetable that will melt in your mouth.

Score the skin of the eggplant first to allow the smoke to penetrate more effectively. We recommend slicing your eggplant either lengthwise or in rounds, and marinating it for 30 minutes before smoking. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: For a light smokiness and firm texture, smoke at 225°F (107°C) for 30-40 minutes; for a deeper smokiness and softer texture, smoke at 250°F (120°C) for 45-50 minutes. For a great finish, sear on the grill before serving. 
  • Wood Choice: apple, cherry, hickory, maple or oak.
  • Serving Suggestion: Arrange thinly sliced smoked eggplant on a platter and finish with a balsamic reduction and grated parmesan cheese. 

Green Beans

Smoking mellows the slightly grassy flavor of green beans and adds dimension to the freshness of this vegetable. Green beans have a naturally firm texture, which allows them to retain their shape during the smoking process.

Wash and trim the beans before placing them in a single layer on a baking tray, tossed with melted butter, salt and pepper.

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 275°F (135°C) for about two hours, flipping the beans every 30 minutes. To cut the smoking time in half, blanch them for two minutes before smoking. 
  • Wood Choice: apple, cherry, hickory, maple or oak. 
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve with smoked bacon and smoked onion. 

Corn on the Cob

Grilled corn on the cob is always good, but smoking it creates a unique and tasty experience. The smokiness provides a nice contrast with the sweet, fresh, summery flavor of the corn.

Remove the husks before smoking for better smoke penetration. Baste the corn with a mixture of melted butter and spices before placing it in the smoker and again during the smoke. 

  • Cooking Guidelines: Smoke at 225-250°F (107-120°C) for about an hour.
  • Wood Choice: apple, maple, pecan, or alder.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve on the cob with a tangy chipotle mayo.

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.


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