The fun thing about barbecue is to try new food and recipes all the times. That’s the joy of cooking with a BBQ smoker. You can experiment with so many different foods. So, why not the pretzels? Although you can buy them all ready to eat, if you are fond BBQ person, you may want to give it a try.
You can smoke pretzels and with numerous recipes to pick from you can transform your Plain Jane pretzel into a delicious snack food. And who doesn’t enjoy snacking when waiting for the barbecue to be ready? Let’s explore the pretzel some more and learn how to make them so you can smoke them yourself.
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What You Need to Know About Making Pretzels
If you’re serious about smoking pretzels, you may want to consider starting from scratch. In other words, make your own dough. While you put pretzels already baked on the smoker, and we’ll be talking about that a bit later, let’s first talk about making your own pretzels.
How to Make Your Own Pretzels for the Smoker
Pretzels are actually very easy to make and need very few ingredients. Follow this recipe for soft pretzels.
- 360 ml warm water
- 1 x tbsp salt
- 1 x tbsp sugar
- I x packet active dry yeast
- 565 g flour
- 3 x tbsps. oil
- 120 g baking soda
- 2 x beaten eggs
- Coarse salt
Mix the water, sugar and salt together and add the yeast. Sit for 5 minutes until the yeast foams. Add the flour and 2 tbsps. of oil. Mix well into a dough. Brush the remaining oil over the dough and place a towel or cling wrap over the bowl. Let it sit in a warm place for about an hour.
When the hour is up, fire up your smoker. You want it to reach 400 degrees before you add your pretzels.
Cut the dough up into 8 pieces and roll out into thin strips. Make the loop shapes by bringing the two ends together and twisting the strips. Boil the water and baking soda and while it’s boiling add the pretzels, boiling them for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water and place on paper towels to dry.
Grease cooking sheets and place the pretzels on the sheets leaving a gap between each one. When the smoker is ready, put the pretzels in and leave to cook for about 10 to 12 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they have a cracked, light brown appearance.
The Cheat’s Smoked Pretzel
If you’re not in the mood for making your own pretzels from scratch, then head on down to your local store and buy some unsalted pretzels. Make sure you have foil trays at home. If not, purchase them as well plus wood chips for the smoker. Smoked pretzel experts will tell you apple wood chips work really well for adding flavor to smoked pretzels.
You’ll also need flavored salt for this method of smoking pretzels. You can make your own and store or once again, purchase from the convenience store. You can also look out for pretzel salt which is different to your normal coarse type salt. Why? Because it doesn’t melt as quickly with its large grain size. It’s also more commonly used for breadsticks.
If you prefer to use spices instead of salt, you can. Or, you can combine the salt with some spices to add some zing to your pretzel. The last essential ingredient you’ll need is olive oil.
The first step to take is to get your smoker heated to 250 degrees. While your smoker is heating up, start preparing your pretzels. Combine a half cup of olive oil with about 5 tbsps. of flavored salt. Stir the pretzels into the oil and salt mix until they’re well coated. Sample a pretzel or two and if you feel it needs more salt added, go for it.
Pierce some holes into the bottom of your aluminum foil trays. Place the oiled pretzels into the tray in a single layer without crowding them. You also want to make sure you’re not blocking the holes too much. Before placing the trays into the smoker, make sure the wood chips are smoking nicely for the flavors to release. Once the trays are in the smoker, leave the pretzels to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Take out and indulge in the delicious smokey flavors of your own spiced, salted pretzels.
Some Other Ideas for Tasty Smoked Pretzels
Cooks are always experimenting with flavors and you’ll be amazed by what you can do to turn your plain pretzel into a tasty snack.
- Mix pretzels in salad dressing with olive oil, salt and spices before adding to the smoker for 15 minutes.
- Combine dill, smoked paprika, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and oil. Toss in pretzels and place into a smoker at about 200 degrees. Let them smoke for about 2 hours.
- Here’s a nice snack mix idea. Melt butter with some brown sugar. Add some paprika and cayenne and toss in the pretzels and some mixed nuts. Place onto a pan and smoke in the smoker for up to 20 minutes.
You’re not limited by what you can do to transform your pretzel into something full of flavor and taste. Make sure you’ve got enough oil and then add whatever seasonings you like. You don’t want to drown the pretzels but you want to make sure they’re evenly coated and have enough seasoning on them.
What Else Do You Need to Know About Smoking Pretzels?
If you’re wondering if you can smoke pretzels in any smoker, the answer is yes. But, if you’re wanting to use a smoker to make your pretzels from scratch, you need to reach an optimum temperature of 400 degrees. An electric smoker may be your best option here as it also heats up quicker than other types of smokers.
But if you’re making with pretzels already baked, you can smoke them in any smoker when you’re smoking other food. Make sure you don’t open the smoker door too often to check on them as you’ll mess with the smoker’s temperature. Time the pretzels for 10 to 20 minutes and they should be ready for snacking on while you continue smoking the main meal.
How about wood chips? We’ve already mentioned applewood is a good flavor for smoking pretzels. But, you can also give hickory wood chips a go. They’re a popular choice as well for adding a smokey flavor to pretzels. Cherry wood is another option to try.
Making a stack of smoked snack mixes will go do down well with the family especially if you make enough to add to lunch boxes for school and the office. A snack mix can be made using pretzels and adding any (or all) of the following ingredients:
- Rice crackers
- Chex mix
Toss all the ingredients in an oil and seasoning mix and smoke for up to one hour. Try using pecan wood chips for enhancing a nutty flavor.
The Story of the Pretzel
Now that you know how to smoke pretzels, let’s discover some interesting facts about the pretzel.
- It’s been around since the seventh century and there’s even the National Pretzel Day to celebrate this simple but marvelous snack food. So, when you decide to smoke pretzels make sure you do it on April 26!
- Pretzels came about when people were fasting during Lent and all eggs, meat and dairy were prohibited. Offering sustenance without breaking any abstinence rules, the pretzel was made with flour, water and salt.
- They were first baked as a soft, spongy type bread.
- It was also believed monks rewarded children who prayed with pretzels.
- In 1614, Switzerland’s royalty adopted the twisted loop-shaped pretzel as a symbol of love whenever there was a wedding.
- The first commercial pretzel bakery opened in 1861 in the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania. The baker’s name was Julius Sturgis and he was responsible for baking pretzels hard (the type we’re more familiar with).
- To this day, Pennsylvania remains the number one pretzel-making state in the United States.
This popular snack food has been around for a very long time. It can either be soft or hard, though most of us prefer the hard pretzel. The hard pretzel came into being when bakers were looking for a longer-lasting option to the soft pretzel. Originally coated with only coarse salt, the pretzel today comes in a variety of flavors, making them an even more popular snack food.
You no longer need to wonder how to smoke pretzels. It can be done and is a great way of impressing your friends. The smoker is an amazing appliance, offering you so many different ways of preparing food. Adding snack foods to your list of smoked foods means you’re using your smoker to its full advantage.