I found some Long Island Cheese Pumpkins at a local farmers market and wanted to try my hand at Smoked Pumpkins. Man, am I glad I did. We have used smoked pumpkin purée for several recipes now.
I have always wanted to use smoked pumpkin in recipes. I finally got the opportunity to make it myself and was really surprised at how easy it was. It is really hands off, and virtually foolproof. That is my favorite kind of recipe!
Pumpkins – I found some Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, which are a heritage variety. You may find them labeled as “Cinderella” pumpkins as they have the classic fairy tale shape and coloring. These are meaty and only grow to six to ten pounds, which makes them perfect for the grill. This is one of the most popular varieties for making pies.
Apple Wood – The mild smoke of the apple wood works wonderfully with all vegetables. Best of all, you really don’t need a lot. A nice, light smoke does the job perfectly. Too much, and you run the risk of overpowering the squash flavor.
🔥 Smoking Instructions
Step One: Cut the pumpkin in half. Be extra careful and use a sharp knife. You can seed the pumpkin at this step, but I found it much easier to wait until after the smoking is over. The pumpkin flesh is much softer and it is effortless to remove them at the end.
Step Two: Heat your grill to 250 degrees on indirect heat. For gas grills, turn off the center burners. For the Big Green Egg, add a plate setter.
Step Three: Add a couple of handfuls of Apple wood to the grill. Add it straight on the lump charcoal. For gas grills, add a smoker box.
Step Four: Place the pumpkin halves on the grill. Keep the cut faces angled upwards. Throughout the smoking process, the moisture in the pumpkins will drip, and it is much better to keep that inside the pumpkin.
Step Five: Let them smoke for about two hours, or until they are fork tender. The goal is to smoke them, not grill them, so keep the temperature low and steady.
Step Six: Remove the pumpkins from the grill and let them cool. Once cool, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then, scoop out the meat of the pumpkin.
That’s all there is to it! The smoked pumpkin will be used in several recipes over the next few weeks.
💡 Recipe Tips
Don’t use decorative pumpkins for this. You definitely want a variety that was bred for its meat.
It is easy to turn this into a purée and storing it. Place a few cups into the food processor and let it run for a minute or two. The pumpkin is so soft after smoking that it won’t take long to make a consistent texture.
Store the purée in a lidded container in the refrigerator for a week. To freeze, scoop it into a freezer safe Ziploc bag. Push as much air out of the bag as possible and freeze.
Keep the seeds for roasting. They will have a nice smoky flavor and will make for a great, healthy treat.
- 1 Pumpkin do not use decorative gourds
Prepare the Pumpkin
- Choose a small to medium sized pumpkin and cut it in half. I chose a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin which I found at a local vegetable stand.
- There is no need to remove the seeds at this point. In fact, it will be much easier to remove them after the smoking process is complete.
Smoke the Pumpkin
- Heat the grill to 250 degrees and set it up for indirect heat. For a Kamado style grill, add the plate setter. For a gas grill, turn off the center burners.
- Right before you add the pumpkin, drop in a few pieces of apple wood. Apple produces a mild smoke that works well with vegetables. Do not try to produce the big billowy smoke – that looks great for photos, but the smoke flavor will overwhelm the dish. A little smoke will go a long ways.
- Keep the pumpkin on the grill until it is fork tender. For the small/medium sized pumpkins, it took about two hours.
- Remove the pumpkins from the grill and let them cool. Scoop out the seeds and then scoop out the flesh to serve or include for other recipes.
- Purée the meat in a food processor by adding a couple of cups and letting the food processor run for a minute. It is extremely soft and will purée nicely.