Tender and crispy smoked vegetables beautifully prepared on your backyard BBQ smoker or grill. Featuring bell peppers, mushrooms, and red onions, this is the perfect vegetable side to serve up with your barbecue platter.
This smoked vegetables recipe offers the perfect addition to classic barbecue sides, or as a meat-free smoked alternative. A delicious twist on regular veg, this simple dish is versatile and can be thrown together in under an hour.
From choosing the best ingredients to the benefits of a grill basket, discover how to smoke vegetables today.
Why Smoke Vegetables?
Yes, there are all sorts of ways to cook vegetables – you can boil them, roast them, or steam them. All of these methods are great but none are able to capture the flavor that barbecue smoking. As the veggies cook, they take on the flavor of the wood smoke beautifully, and finish them with a beautiful charr, giving them the perfect amount of crunch.
They’re also really easy to make and save you from rushing between your smoker and the kitchen to get everything ready. This way you can keep an eye on everything all at once – a good excuse to just perch yourself down with a beer and settle in!
These smoked veg are also perfect if you’re cooking a large cut of meat that needs to rest before you serve it, giving you something to do in the meantime.
As well as all the above, smoked veggies make for a really healthy side. You can flavor them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but they don’t require the mayo and cream that some sides do. If you’re looking for something light to accompany that rich meat dish, look no further.
How to Smoke Vegetables
Smoking vegetables couldn’t be easier and takes no time at all:
- Toss the vegetables in salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil
- Chuck the coated veggies in a grill basket and cook in your preheated smoker
- After 45 minutes, crank up the temperature and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender and finished with a beautiful char
- Serve with a healthy helping of grated parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice
What Vegetables Can Be Smoked?
You can smoke almost any vegetable you like, really. As with other cooking methods, it’s good to be mindful of cooking times as some will take longer than others (e.g. potatoes will take much longer than zucchini). You can experiment here, but our favorite go-tos are:
- Mushrooms: With a meaty texture and earthy umami flavor, no vegetable holds up to smoking better than mushrooms. See our smoked mushrooms recipe to see just how good these can be.
- Red Onions: Its natural sweetness is enhanced by the smoke, while its hard texture holds up to the smoke
- Zucchini: Its soft texture and mild flavor absorb smoke well while its high moisture content ensures it will stay tender through the cook
- Seasonal Squash: With a rich and meaty texture, squash will stand up to smoke well without drying out or becoming too bitter
- Bell Peppers: Best done with yellow or red bell pepper, the surface of this classic vegetable retains its shape well during the cooking process, and its slightly sweet taste cuts through beautifully
- Brussels Sprouts: An underrated vegetable, Brussels sprouts’ strong nutty flavor pairs deliciously with delicate smoke, while their small size means they don’t need too long
Why a Grill Basket is Essential
As you’ll chop your vegetables up to smoke them, you’ll need a grill basket in order to cook them. This will keep all your vegetables together and prevent them from falling through the grates of your grill. It also means that it’s easy to give the vegetables a shake during smoking to ensure that they cook evenly.
For vegetables, we recommend using a grill basket like this one on Amazon. It offers the basket-like staging we need. Avoid ‘cage’-like baskets, more commonly used for fish. The smaller vegetable pieces might slip out and be lost to your coals for good!
- Experiment with different vegetables to find your favorite combination
- Be sure to cut the vegetables according to how long they take to cook e.g. dice potatoes much smaller so they can cook faster
- Try different wood chips or pellets to change and enhance the flavors of the vegetables
- Experiment with cooking times to get the level of smokiness you’re after