Smoked almonds are one of my favorite snacks. Store bought smoked almonds are okay, but I like mine extra smokey and with lots of flavor. The only way to get the flavor profile you want in food is to make it yourself!
Having an outdoor smoker is such a fun hobby, and once your friends try your smoked foods they will be begging to be invited over again for your next smoke out. Any type of charcoal or electric backyard smoker will work for smoking. If you're unsure where to start with smoking, check out this my Smoker Class to learn more.
Here's what we'll need for this lesson:
- Probe-style thermometer
- Salt (Kosher is best but sea salt is great, too!)
- Raw almonds
- Soy sauce
- Cooking oil
- Garlic Powder
- Grilling basket
This Instructable is a companion to the Meat Smoking Lesson, and relies on a basic understanding on how smokers work. Check out the smoking lesson and get a primer on outdoor smokers, and the difference between hot and cold smoking.
The most important thing to know when smoking is patience; once food is inside the smoker resist the urge to open the unit for an inspection. Opening the smoking chamber will drop the temperature immediately and release all the smoke, thereby defeating the point of smoking and causing your smoking to take even longer.
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Step 1: Almond Preparation
Start with raw, unroasted, unsalted, and fresh almonds. You can eat them like this and you'll be fine, but they are bland and have a softer texture. By smoking them and using low heat to drive off moisture the nuts will have a smokey taste and a snappy bite.
There's really no wrong way to make smoked almonds, and almost any ratio of spices and liquids will work. Here's a basic recipe to get you started, but customize however you like:
Smoked Almonds Recipe
- Almonds: 2x 10oz (300g) bags of
- Soy sauce: 2 tbsp
- Oil: 2 tbsp
- Salt + pepper: a healthy amount of each
- Smattering of garlic powder
- Blob of honey
The type of oil doesn't really matter here, you can even use butter instead if you like. Feel free to add more or less of any spices you like to your nut mix. In later batches I added chipotle powder, and a dash of spicy mustard powder.
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss to coat all the nuts evenly.
Step 2: Smoker Placement
Make sure your reservoir is inserted below your cooking racks and has a small amount of water in it before starting. We don't want the humidity to be too high inside the smoker for almonds, since we're looking to remove moisture from the nuts. Start your smoker and let it get up to about 120°F (50°C), then add your nuts to a grilling basket so they don't fall through the grill. Spread the almonds around the basket to ensure maximum coverage.
Close up the smoker and monitor the temperature to ensure it stays around 110-120°F (40-50°C), and let smoke for 2 hours.
After a few hours open up your smoker and remove a few almonds, allow to cool and then taste. Are they crunchy? Do they taste smokey? You can easily add more wood to create more smoke and leave them in the smoker for longer until you get the taste you like. It's really tough to mess this recipe up, so experiment and have fun with it.
Step 3: Snack Time!
Allow the nuts to cool after taking them off the smoker, then enjoy! These smoked almonds are best enjoyed fresh, but can easily be stored in an airtight container for about a month.
Smoked almonds are a great introduction to how a smoker works, and operating at a low temperature. As with all skills, learning your particular smoker and refining the technique may take some trial and error, but it's really easy once you understand that the key to smoking is low and slow; if you do that you really can't go wrong!
For more on smoking, check out this my Smoker Class!
Share a picture of your smoky, slow cooked things in the comments below. I want to see all the delicious things you make and will try on my smoker, too!
Happy making :)