Intro: Pecan Smoked Brie With Apples
What can I say? Melty brie, warm apples, and a light smoke flavor... my mouth is watering just remembering it. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
Last weekend, my parents came to visit and Dad and I decided to conquer some baby-back ribs. The ribs were amazing, but this brie was a real find. A delicious brain wave settled on me, and I pulled a wheel of cheese and some apples out of the fridge.
How was it? Suffice it to say - we will be having this again ASAP.
Step 1: Prep the brie
Step 2: Coals and smoke
Step 3: When to pull it
Step 4: Unwrap the present
Step 1: Prep the Brie
Brie is a mild, creamy (delicious) cheese with a soft rind. You'll want a whole wheel of it, since we're going to be heating it up until it melts. If you start with a wedge, it's just going to run out into the grill. I decided to use a pie-pan for my brie - moral support, you know. If you want, you can use a piece of foil, but you'll want to pull it before the rind breaks or you may lose your cheese.
Drop your brie (rind and all) into the pie pan and add several apple wedges. If you're in the mood, try a few handfulls of cracked pecans.
Step 2: Coals and Smoke
A great time to smoke the brie is while you are waiting for the grill to cool for some long-and-low, traditional barbecue.
First of all, you need to start your coals. Using a charcoal chimney, pile it full of coals, wad up some newspaper beneath, and light. In about 15 minutes, you will see flames licking the tops of the coals and the edges will start to turn white. Pour it out against one side of the grill.
Drop a couple chunks of pecan wood into the coals to smolder and flavor the cheese/apples. I also like to leave a chunk on the grate over the coals. The hot wood doesn't smolder, but smells wonderfully. Look for light whisps of smoke. If you can smell it and barely see it, you're in the right zone. Too much smoke will overwhelm the mild flavor of the cheese. If you're smoking too much, open the grill and move the wood off of the coals with tongs.
Throw the cheese on the grill, opposite the coals and add the lid. If you'll be barbecuing next, partially close the air vents and let your grill come down to temperature. (250F was our target for the ribs.)
If you are ambitious, you can cedar plank smoke your brie. Just use it in place of your pie pan and set the brie directly on the plank. Make sure the wood is untreated, or else you will be eating and tasting some nasty chemicals.
Step 3: When to Pull It
It will take 10-15 minutes, but you should check it every five. When you can press your finger in and feel that the cheese is melted, you can pull the cheese. Too much time and the rind will break. It will still taste great, but it won't be as pretty.
If you are smoking on a piece of foil or cedar plank and the rind breaks, the fats in the cheese may run into the coals and burn. If it does, be ready for the flare up and CAREFULLY remove the cheese, foil/plank and all.
Step 4: Unwrap the Present
So, your brie is hot and melty. Your apples are brown and warm. A light aroma of pecan smoke is wafting through your house. Peel the rind back on the brie, spread some on a warm apple, and enjoy. Wow.
Dad and I loved this one. My wife and mom were less impressed, since we didn't leave them any. Sorry, ladies. I guess next time, I will have to smoke another.
As for the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Get to it!