Delicious smoked cream cheese: a flavorful appetizer

Smoked cream cheese is a delicious and surprising appetizer that is made with just two ingredients - cream cheese and a flavorful dry rub. By smoking the cream cheese in a pellet grill for a couple of hours, it transforms into a creamy and savory dip that will impress your guests. In this article, we will guide you through the process of smoking cream cheese and provide you with variations and serving suggestions to enhance your culinary experience.

Table of Contents

The Easiest Smoked Cream Cheese Recipe

To make smoked cream cheese, you will need full-fat cream cheese and a homemade dry rub. The dry rub consists of brown sugar for a touch of sweetness, chili powder, cumin, and paprika for a hint of spice and smoke, and garlic powder and onion powder to bring all the flavors together. If you don't have time to make the dry rub, you can also use your favorite store-bought BBQ rub.

Start by spreading the dry rub on a rimmed plate. Coat the cream cheese with the dry rub, gently pressing it into the surface until the entire block is coated. To enhance the smoky flavor, score the top of the cream cheese in a cross-hatch pattern. If desired, drizzle with olive oil or spray with olive oil spray for added richness.

Transfer the cream cheese to a disposable aluminum pan or cast iron skillet and place it in the pellet smoker preheated to 250 degrees. Smoke the cream cheese for approximately 2 hours until the edges of the score lines begin to pull away from each other and the center is warm. You can test if it's warm by inserting a butter knife into the center for a few seconds and feeling the end of the knife. Once it's warm, the cream cheese is ready.

To serve, drizzle the smoked cream cheese with honey and garnish with sliced green onion for added sweetness and freshness. It pairs perfectly with sliced French bread, Ritz crackers, bagels, crostini, vegetables like carrots and celery, apple slices, pita chips, and tortilla chips.

Tips for Making the Best Smoked Cream Cheese

  • Make your own crostini to elevate the appetizer. Drizzle olive oil over slices of French baguette and bake them until crispy and golden brown.
  • Scoring the cream cheese is an important step that allows the smoky flavor to penetrate the middle evenly. If the cream cheese sticks to the knife while scoring, slightly wet the knife or use a paper towel to clean it between slices.
  • The cream cheese is done when the cross-hatch pattern becomes visible, indicating that the slices have pulled away from each other. Test the warmth of the cream cheese by inserting a butter knife into the center. If it's warm, it's ready. If it's cold, give it some more time.
  • If you're serving a large crowd, feel free to smoke multiple blocks of cream cheese at once.

Smoked Cream Cheese Variations

Smoked cream cheese is a versatile appetizer that can be customized to suit different tastes. Here are some delicious variations to try:

Jalapeno Popper Smoked Cream Cheese

Coat the cream cheese with the dry rub and smoke as directed. Sprinkle sharp cheddar over the cream cheese and smoke until melted. Top with sliced pickled jalapenos and crispy crumbled bacon. Serve with Ruffles potato chips.

Mediterranean Smoked Cream Cheese

Season the cream cheese with Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Smoke as directed and top with sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve with slices of pita bread or pita chips.

Taco Smoked Cream Cheese

Season the cream cheese with homemade taco seasoning or your favorite store-bought brand. Smoke as directed and top with diced pickled jalapenos. Serve with tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips.

Everything Bagel Smoked Cream Cheese

Season the cream cheese with everything bagel seasoning and smoke as directed. Top with capers or lox and serve with bagel chips or sliced bagel pieces.

Apple Pie Smoked Cream Cheese

Turn the smoked cream cheese into a dessert dip. Season the cream cheese with a cinnamon sugar blend and smoke as directed. Top with your favorite pie filling, such as apple pie filling, and serve with graham crackers or Nilla wafers.

Fig Jam and Pecan Smoked Cream Cheese

Coat the cream cheese with a cinnamon sugar blend and smoke as directed. Top with fig jam and toasted pecans. For an extra sweet crunch, try candied pecans. Serve with crispy crostini.

Bacon and Pepper Jelly Smoked Cream Cheese

Coat the cream cheese block with the dry rub and smoke as directed. Top with crumbled bacon and your favorite pepper jelly. Serve with Ritz crackers.

Choosing the Right Wood Chips

When smoking cream cheese, it's recommended to use a mix of apple and hickory wood chips. Hickory and mesquite have strong flavors that are traditionally used for meat, so blending them with milder woods like apple, oak, maple, or cherry will provide a balanced smoky taste. For more information on wood chip selection, you can refer to our in-depth article on the topic.

How long does it take to smoke cream cheese?

Smoking cream cheese at 250 degrees Fahrenheit typically takes around 2 hours. However, the smoking time can vary depending on the desired level of smokiness and the temperature used.

Does cream cheese melt in the smoker?

No, cream cheese does not melt in the smoker. Instead, it becomes incredibly creamy and spreadable, absorbing the smoky flavors.

How long does smoked cream cheese last?

Smoked cream cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

How do you know when smoked cream cheese is done?

Smoked cream cheese is done when the cross-hatch pattern becomes visible, indicating that the slices have pulled away from each other. It should also be warm and creamy in the middle. You can test the warmth by inserting a butter knife into the center for a few seconds.

Should smoked cream cheese be refrigerated?

Yes, smoked cream cheese should be refrigerated after it's cooked. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Smoked cream cheese is a unique and flavorful appetizer that is easy to make and will impress your guests. By following the simple steps of coating the cream cheese with a homemade dry rub and smoking it in a pellet grill, you can create a creamy and savory dip that pairs perfectly with various accompaniments. Try different variations to add your own twist to this versatile recipe. Whether you're a seasoned smoker or a beginner, smoked cream cheese is a must-try dish that will elevate your culinary skills and delight your taste buds.

If you want to know other articles similar to Delicious smoked cream cheese: a flavorful appetizer you can visit the Appetizers category.

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