Give A Classic PB&J An Upgrade By Breaking Out The Smoker

Grilled PB&J cut in half
Grilled PB&J cut in half - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

The classic combination of peanut butter and jelly is — to legions of its lovers — a flawless, timeless, and transcendent culinary situation. That said, for some taste seekers, there's always room for improvement and experimentation; if you are one of them and happen to be in possession of a smoker, this tip is a game changer. By smoking your peanuts before making a batch of homemade peanut butter, you can give your finished spread an unforgettable new dimension, and your next PB&J sandwich will get a major upgrade.

Beyond its simplicity, part of the reason why a perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich is so popular probably has at least something to do with its comforting familiarity. But with this slight variation, there's the possibility of something totally new within a recognizable framework. The nuanced flavors that come together in this iteration — unctuous, salty, and roasty peanut butter, sweet-tart fruit jelly, and the touch of smoke that complements and unites both of those main ingredients — elevate this old favorite to complex new heights.

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Smoked Peanut Butter Practicalities

Spreading peanut butter on bread
Spreading peanut butter on bread - Halk-44/Shutterstock

Given that peanut butter is the pantry staple you can easily make at home, another major plus side of making this smoked peanut butter is that you won't need any additional ingredients. You're still using nothing more than peanuts and salt, plus an optional sweetener like honey or maple syrup. Some recipes call for an oil, like vegetable or peanut, which helps you dial in your perfect consistency. But if you're accustomed to making your own peanut butter and have honed yours to perfection, the added step of smoking shouldn't make much of a difference to the texture. Once you have your smoked spread, it's just a matter of slathering it onto your choice of bread with your preferred jam or jelly.

Of course, the downside to this delicious dish is that it's a bit of a process. It requires equipment, in the form of the smoker, and also time as it can take several hours to complete the smoking step. You can experiment with a handheld tube smoker like the Breville Smoking Gun, which is a compact contraption known to speed things up, but it may not yield quite the same depth of smoky flavor as a traditional setup. This may be a more ideal way to test out infusing store-bought peanut butter with a smoky taste as well, since this tool can be used on spreads like jams (you can smoke this, too, for an additional smoky boost to your PB&J).

Pairing Your Smoky PB&J

Peanut butter & jelly with bacon
Peanut butter & jelly with bacon - Michael Kraus/Shutterstock

Even though this is technically a three-ingredient situation: peanut butter, jelly or jam, and bread, the smoky profile invites all kinds of fresh inspiration for your go-to sandwich combination. Before making your peanut butter, you can decide between type of peanuts — from straight-up to honey-roasted — which will give you slightly different flavor profiles. (Keep in mind, nut choice may inform your smoking technique: Cold smoke is preferable if they're already roasted, while hot smoke will help raw peanuts toast up).

For your jam or jelly, consider the kind of fruit that might work best with smoke, like peaches, figs, and pears. Smoked salt is our newest food obsession, and you can try adding a bit of that to taste for an extra dose of smoky flavor. And because smoke is so well-suited to being a savory element, you can add a spicy touch with cayenne pepper or smoky paprika, or even use a barbecue rub to season your peanuts before converting them into butter, infusing your own flavors throughout the spread. You can also throw your sandwich on the grill after you've assembled it to really drive home that extra dimension — or even add bacon for another smoky layer that boosts your protein content. No matter how you spin it, a smoky PB&J is the sandwich upgrade you never knew you needed.

Read the original article on Daily Meal