For years, I’ve been smoke-roasting blueberry and raspberry crumbles. I even smoked a crumble made with cactus pears on my Primal Grill TV show taped in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Here’s the smoked version of an American classic—apple pie—and it was inspired by a restaurant in my summer stomping grounds, the Outermost Inn on Martha’s Vineyard. “I think apple pie should step on the dark side,” says its one-time chef and the recipe’s creator, Michael Winkelman. “Give me bacon. Give me whiskey. Give me smoke. Give me a dessert that means business.” I give you Winkelman’s smoked apple crisp.
Smoked Bacon-Bourbon Apple Crisp
YIELD: Serves 8
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
SMOKING TIME: 45 minutes to 1 hour
FUEL: Apple wood, of course—enough for 1 hour of smoking (see chart)
GEAR: A 10-inch cast-iron skillet
WHAT ELSE: You can cook this crisp low and slow in a traditional smoker, but you’ll get a crisper topping if you work at higher heat. This is a good dish to smoke-roast on a charcoal grill.
For the Filling
- 2 strips artisanal bacon cut crosswise into ¼-inch slivers
- 3 pounds crisp, sweet apples like Honeycrisps or Galas
- ⅓ cup packed light or dark brown sugar, or to taste
- 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
For the Topping
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and placed in the freezer until icy cold
- ½ cup crushed gingersnap cookies or granola
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to 400°F.
- Make the filling: Fry the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring with a slotted spoon, until crisp and golden brown, 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a large bowl. Pour off and reserve the bacon fat for another use. Don’t wipe out or wash the skillet.
- Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the bacon. Stir in the sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the bourbon. Taste the mixture for sweetness, adding sugar as needed. Spoon the filling into the skillet.
- Make the topping: Place the butter, cookie crumbs, flour, white and brown sugars, and salt in a food processor. Grind to a coarse mixture, running the processor in short bursts. Don’t overprocess; the mixture should remain loose and crumbly like sand. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
- Place the crisp on the grill or smoker rack away from the heat. Add the wood to the coals and cover the grill. Smoke-roast the crisp until the topping is browned and bubbling, the apples are soft (they should be easy to pierce with a skewer), and the filling is thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve the crisp hot off the grill or smoker. Extra points for topping it with vanilla Smoked Ice Cream (recipe below).
Smoked Ice Cream
Place the ice cream in a shallow bowl over a large flameproof bowl of ice. Keep this in the freezer until you’re ready to smoke the ice cream.
On a charcoal grill
Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high (400°F). Place the ice cream over its bowl of ice on the grill. Add 2 cups unsoaked wood chips to the mounds of embers. Cover the grill and smoke until you see a light patina of smoke on the ice cream, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the ice cream over with a spatula and smoke the other side the same way. Remove the ice cream from the grill. If it melted too much, refreeze it.
In a smoker
Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the ice cream over its bowl of ice in the smoker. Add the unsoaked wood chips to the fire. Smoke as described previously. You may need a bit longer to put a patina of smoke on the ice cream.
With a handheld smoker
Place the ice cream in a large glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open. Place the bowl over a pan of ice. Fill and light the smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Insert the tube of the smoker, fill the bowl with smoke, withdraw the tube, and tightly cover the bowl with the plastic wrap. Let infuse for 5 minutes. Repeat once or twice more, until the ice cream is as smoky as you like. If the ice cream starts to melt, refreeze it.
About the Book:
From America’s “master griller” (Esquire), a step-by-step guide to cold-smoking, hot-smoking, and smoke-roasting, and a collection of 100 innovative recipes for smoking every kind of food, from starters to desserts.
Smoke is the soul of barbecue, the alchemy that happens when burning wood infuses its magical flavors into food. Project Smoke tells you how to make the alchemy happen, with Raichlen’s seven steps to smoking nirvana; an in-depth description of the various smokers; the essential brines, rubs, marinades, and barbecue sauces; and a complete guide to fuel, including how each type of wood subtly seasons a dish. Then the recipes for 100 enticing, succulent, boldly-flavored smoked dishes, including Bacon-Crab Poppers, Cherry-Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Slam-Dunk Brisket, Jamaican Jerk Chicken—even Smoked Chocolate Bread Pudding.
Illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, it’s a book that inspires hunger at every glance, and satisfies with every recipe tried.
Buy the Book