How To Smoke Pretzels Flavour - The Easy Guidelines

Pretzels are a classic food that can be enjoyed in many ways, from smoking them to baking with them. Pretzels are a great snack food and can be enjoyed plain, with some cheese, or dipped in mustard.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy pretzels is to smoke them.  This article will teach you how to smoke pretzels the easy way.

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What are pretzels, and how can they be smoked?

Pretzels are a dense and crispy form of bread that originated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire sometime around the 15th century. They are generally baked, but can also be pretzel rolls or twists. This article will focus on smoking pretzels; the rollings are a bit more difficult to smoke, but they can be smoked, just not as well as the plain pretzels.

Few people know that you can smoke pretzel sticks or twists too! The reason to do this is because homemade pretzels (the ones you make by hand) tend to be dense and not very crispy.

Pretzels are often formed into logs before being baked. Any pretzel roll can be smoked. Store-bought pretzels are already rolled and do not need to be done again.

Smoking is an excellent way to add flavor and texture to pretzels, but it may also make them crunchier. They are also easier to digest when prepared this way. Smoking the pretzels before eating them allows you to eat them plain or with something else like mustard. 

If you are a beginner in smoking food, you may want to start with a small amount of charcoal or chips. You can add more charcoal later as your comfort level increases with it. 

Here are some guidelines on smoking pretzels

  • Get a full pound of charcoal and carefully punch holes in the center. This will help slow down the burning process. 
  • To get the best results, make sure that your smoker is up to temperature before you begin smoking because cooler temperatures will yield lesser smoke that may be impart an unwanted taste to your pretzels. Once you've preheated your smoker, set it at a temperature that is high enough for the fire to burn properly but not too hot. 
  • If you don't have a smoker, you can still smoke pretzels. You may want to use this method when you want to smoke pretzels but don't have a smoker. 
  • The pretzel comes in two parts which are the dough and the skin. You must know how to separate them before smoking. 
  • Once you've made the dough, wrap it around the charcoal that has been punched into the center of your pretzel and place it in your smoker. With this method of smoking, most of the heat is generated on the outside and directs into your dough. The skin will act like a cooling agent as it protects your interior dough from over heating. 
  • When the dough reaches a golden brown color, leave it in the smoker for about an hour. This will allow the pretzel to absorb most of the heat from the charcoal. 
  • Smoke your pretzels on a regular basis until you are comfortable with how much time you must leave them in the smoker for for them to be done. You may want to smoke only one or two pretzels at a time. 
  • Once you've smoked your pretzels, they can be eaten plain or dipped into mustard or chocolate sauce.

Materials supplies to smoke your pretzels

  • Pretzel rods

You will need pretzel rods (4 per pretzel) for smoking. They are shaped a bit like sticks and almost look like mini long-stemmed cigars.  There is usually a small loop on the bottom of each rod that you can grab on when using them. You can find them in most grocery or convenience stores, sometimes called "dipping sticks" if they have them in the frozen food section.  You can also find them in your local smoke shop, if they sell smoking supplies.  You can also order them online or get them from a smoke shop near you.

  • Smoker

You will need a smoker to smoke your pretzels.  It is VERY important that the smoker be food safe, so make sure it is made out of wood and not plastic.  I did not include a picture of this item because smoking supplies are not always available in stores, so I opted to link you to the Smoke Cartel website where you can purchase one of these smokers in a variety of sizes; however, any food safe wood smoker will work just as well.

  • Smoke Mop

A mop is used to apply extra moisture and flavor to the pretzels using your favorite flavorings.

  • Broders

These are optional pieces of equipment that can be used in place of toothpicks if desired. Broders are basically wooden sticks that have a sharp point on the bottom; you could also use toothpicks.

How to smoke pretzels

  • Step 1:  Smoke your pretzels by lighting your smoker, adding smoke to the top of the smoker and placing pretzels on sticks.
  • Step 2:  Place the rod into the bottom of your smoker.
  • Step 3:  Once you have placed about 4 - 6 rods on top of each other, place squares of aluminum foil over them (or use a mop).
  • Step 4:  Add wood chips to the top of all rods. You can also add other ways to get smoke into the pretzels; for example, you could cut vents in a tin can and place that over the rods.  I have also heard of people using aluminum pie pans to add a bit of extra flavor.  Just make sure that you place it around the rods so smoke has access to the pretzels as well.
  • Step 5:  Place the lid on your smoker and wait for about 1 hour or until the pretzels are finished smoking (see note below).

Note:  The cooking time on these can vary greatly depending on how much smoke you put into them, the temperature of your smoker, and your personal taste.  I recommend starting off with only 20 minutes if this is your first time making these; then adjust from there based on how they taste. The time will also depend on the temperature of your smoker; you want to make sure that it is between about 175 and 200 degrees to get the best results.  You can check your smoker's temperature using a thermometer.

  • Step 6:  Test for doneness by biting into one or two rods. If they are done, they will taste like them but have a slightly richer flavor.
  • Step 7:  Enjoy your finished pretzels and wash your smoker, mop, rods and utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water once they are all done smoking (see note below).

Note:  If you have used a mop to apply flavor to your pretzels, make sure that it's COMPLETELY dry before putting it away. Otherwise, mold could grow in the future.  Try using a wooden dowel rod instead of a toothpick if you don't want to use borders.

How to make your own Pretzel flavors

  1. Add the following ingredients to a mixing bowl: 1/2 olive oil, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, and 2 tsp sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved in oil and butter.
  2. Mix together 10-20 pretzel rods with salt until they are evenly coated, then set them aside.
  3. Form an "X" with the pretzel rods by placing them side by side and wrapping them around your index and middle fingers in a criss-cross pattern.
  4. Roll the pretzels on a flat surface in oil, then dip into sugar mixture before rolling in salt to coat evenly on all sides.
  5. Remove pretzels from fingers and place on sheet pan. They will harden and become crisp within a few hours; let them sit at room temperature to ensure the most flavor.
  6. Once they have hardened, store them in an airtight container to avoid sogginess when they are stored.

What to expect after smoking pretzels

The pretzels will smell a lot like a campfire after smoking them; however, the flavor from the smoke is not extremely noticeable. The pretzel rods are mostly just salty.  Also, you will notice that there is little to no grease on top of these pretzels even though they have been cooked in vegetable oil.  These pretzels are served plain, so they taste like salty sticks.  You may want to serve them with mustard or chocolate sauce, which tastes delicious and counters the saltiness well.  If you want to get creative, however, try pairing them with some cream cheese and chopped onions.

Store-bought pretzels are usually pre-sliced already; so, you should be able to just break off a piece or two and enjoy it right away.  You can store the rest of the pretzels in an airtight container for up to a week before your first use as well.  If you plan on making your own fresh pretzels in the future (which I highly recommend), when making the dough using this recipe, cut it into even sections to allow them to cook evenly.

Use caution when smoking these pretzels; they can be very hot.  I recommend using a pair of food-safe kitchen tongs to grab the pretzels from the smoker.  You can also place some aluminum foil over the rods to save your hands a bit of pain if you are not wearing gloves. Also, if you can't get them to your mouth for whatever reason, make sure that you put them down on a hard surface as quickly as possible. You could also serve them with mustard or chocolate sauce; these go great with pretzels and help counteract their saltiness without masking their delicious flavor.

FAQs

How long do hard pretzels last?  

If kept in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator, pretzels will last for about 2 weeks.  If you prefer not to refrigerate them, they will last for about a week at room temperature.  If you would like to freeze them, store them in an airtight baggie.

How long do pretzels last after opening?  

If refrigerated, pretzels will stay fresh for 4 to 5 days.  If unrefrigerated, their shelf life is about 3-4 days.  If stored at room temperature and exposed to air, they will last for about 2-3 days.  These pretzels do not have a "sell by" date on them; however, it is a good idea to try and eat them within the first few days after opening them unless you are freezing them.

This recipe makes about 12 large soft pretzels or 24 miniature soft pretzels.

Can you freeze soft pretzels?  

Yes.  You can wrap them first in plastic wrap, and then put them in a large freezer bag.  This will allow you to keep them for up to six months, but they will not be as fresh or as tasty as the pretzels that you cook and eat right away.

If you plan on freezing your pretzels, it is best to use the large recipe size (recipe makeup: 1 large recipe, 1/2 oz all-purpose flour).

What does baking soda bath do for pretzels?  

This is essentially a pretzel salt bath.  It is a process in which the pretzels are soaked in the baking soda solution and left out to dry.  During this time, the baking soda has time to react with the sodium nitrate found in salt and then permeate throughout the entire pretzel.  The reaction between sodium nitrate and other compounds is what gives pretzels their distinctive bitter aftertaste.

How do you keep pretzels warm for a party? 

When you are serving soft pretzels, it is preferable to serve them hot; however, if you want to keep the pretzels warm for up to an hour before serving, the easiest way to do this is to wrap them in aluminum foil.  You can also transfer them from the smoker into a roasting pan with a lid and put it in the oven, but be sure to watch carefully so that they don't burn.

Can you eat year old pretzels?  

Yes, you can eat pre-made hard pretzels that are over 6 months old.  However, they will be much softer and stale, so it is best to eat them within 3 months after they have been baked.  If you would like to store soft pretzels for up to six months after making them, place them in the freezer before placing them in an airtight container; this will allow you to freeze and thaw without losing any flavor or quality.

Can a person on a low carb diet eat pretzels? 

Yes; pretzels are low in fat and relatively high in protein.  They are a high carbohydrate food, but they do not raise blood sugar levels as much as other carbohydrate-rich foods like breads or pastas.

What is the origin of pretzels?  

The word "pretzel" comes from the German word Bretzel, which means "little arms." It is believed that the original pretzel shape was made by crossing two rods of dough over each other; this may have been done to represent crossed arms or folded hands.

Conclusion

Smoking pretzels is a great way to enjoy a delicious snack and get your nicotine fix. Pretzel smoking is easy to do and you can create different flavors. So go ahead and try it out! If you are new to the smoking process,and don't know how to smoke pretzels we recommend reading this article and reading beginner's guide to smoking pretzels. Finally, always be sure to take proper safety precautions when smoking foods, including using a fire extinguisher if necessary.

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