Grill Your Eggs For Standout Smoky Flavor

The term "smoked eggs" is infrequently tossed about in culinary circles, but it's far from a fringe idea. Chefs have likely been creating versions of these eggs for centuries in places such as Israel, Denmark, and Vietnam, sometimes tied to religious traditions and observances. The method varies considerably, involving whole eggs that are raw or pre-boiled, and ones that get their smoky flavor from a grill or wood-fired smoker. 

Some smoky egg versions take mere minutes, while others slowly smoke or grill to perfection over two or more hours. There's even a ritual that keeps the embers slow-grilling all day or night, awakening your senses to what may be the most delicious breakfast you've had in ages — or at least the most anticipated. 

Let's explore the methods of grilling or smoking eggs for rich, aromatic flavor, as well as a few other smoke-infused eggy ideas for brunch, cozy campfire snacking, or eggs-for-dinner surprises. 

Whole eggs grilled or smoked

There's really no need to pre-boil eggs destined for the grill, since they go from hot grate to plate in roughly 10 minutes, give or take, depending on your yolk preference. Just heat up the grill, place raw eggs directly on the grate, close the cover, and let them sizzle away on their own. 

You'll likely get grill marks on the interior egg whites rather than the outer shells, which may gather their own spotty eggshell marks. Peek under the grill hood occasionally to check for cracked shells, and rotate about halfway through to keep the whites from overcooking over the direct flame. A hot tip for doneness is to gently spin the egg; if it happily spins around, it's likely cooked. Once off the grill, remove the shells as soon as possible, or slide them into a cold-water bath to stop further cooking. 

If you're a wood-fire smoker devotee, there's definitely a place for smoked eggs in your repertoire of recipes. You can start with raw eggs and let them slowly smoke over two hours, or give them a head start on your stovetop. Hard boil the eggs, then peel off the shells and place them one by one in the outdoor smoker. About 10 to 15 minutes at 225 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, as you don't want to ruin the texture of the whites by overcooking. 

Muffin tins and skillets for smoke-flavored grilled eggs

While whole shell-on eggs are placed directly on the grill or smoker grate, other versions need some help from sturdy high-heat cookware. One fuss-free way to cook smoky, multi-ingredient egg cups is with a standard grill and durable metal muffin tins. If possible, choose a pan with a non-stick surface for even heat conduction. At the very least, lightly coat each muffin cup with cooking oil. 

Simply fill each muffin cup about halfway with your chosen ingredients, and pour beaten eggs over the top. Experiment with options such as bell peppers, onions, salsa, fresh spinach, mushrooms, and cheese, with pre-cooked ham, sausage, prosciutto, or bacon strips. Dice or grate vegetables and cheeses into small pieces so the cooking times coordinate with the eggs, which can take as little as three to eight minutes on medium-high grill heat. 

To make an omelet or egg scramble, follow the same procedure but use a sturdy cast-iron skillet. You can also upgrade deviled eggs with a few minutes on the grill.  

If you really want to connect with the smoked egg phenomenon, go way back in time to the Sephardic Jewish method for grilled eggs, known traditionally as "huevos haminados." This requires a hardwood fire, not charcoal briquettes since the eggs need smoldering embers and ashes from the wood. Once the flames die down, bury whole, uncooked eggs inside the warm ashes and let them slowly smoke throughout the day.