Barbecue Hall of Famer, writer and best-selling cookbook author Steven Raichlen has a new volume of recipes out that grilling enthusiasts won’t want to miss. Burners of wood and utilizers of combustion by-products (smoked-food lovers, we’re looking squarely at you) will be thrilled and delighted by Project Smoke, a book dedicated to all things smoke-infused. Happy grilling season!
This simple smoked Camembert delivers big flavors (and great looks) by combining two distinctly American live-fire cooking techniques: planking and smoking. The former imparts the aromatic taste of charred cedar; the latter endows the cheese with complex smoke flavors undreamed of by French cheesemakers. The prep time is a couple of minutes; the wow power is off the charts.
Fuel: Hardwood of your choice — enough for 10 minutes of smoking on a grill or 30 to 45 minutes in a smoker.
Gear: 1 cedar plank or other wood plank, such as hickory, oak, or alder, preferably 6 inches square, available at grill shops and most supermarkets. I’m partial to my Best of Barbecue brand, available at amazon.com. Note: You can also buy cedar boards at a lumberyard, but make sure they’re untreated.
Shop: My cheese of choice is French Camembert or a small (5- to 6-inch) Brie cheese.
What else: I like to smoke-roast the cheese at a high temperature (400°F), but you can also smoke it low and slow at 250°F.
- 1 Camembert or small Brie cheese (8 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons pepper jelly, tomato jam or apricot jam
- 1 large jalapeño pepper, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- Grilled or toasted baguette slices or favorite crackers, for serving
For the Camembert
Set up your grill for smoke-roasting and preheat to medium-high (400°F).
If you’re charring the plank (this step is optional, but it gives you a lot more flavor), place it directly over the fire and grill until singed on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set aside and let cool.
Place the cheese in the center of the plank. Spread the top with pepper jelly using the back of a spoon. Shingle the jalapeño slices on top so they overlap in a decorative pattern.
Place the plank on the grill away from the heat and toss the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Smoke-roast the cheese until the sides are soft and beginning to bulge, 6 to 10 minutes.
Serve the cheese on the plank, hot off the grill, with a basket of grilled baguette slices or your favorite crackers.