Start Smoking Your Green Beans For A Bolder Flavor

To borrow a phrase from the award-winning Jason Reitman film, we want to "Thank You for Smoking" — veggies, that is. Smoking vegetables is an easy way to impart a huge savory flavor to vegetables. But, whatever folks are smoking, according to sales statistics, they're smoking a lot of it. Per retail data tracker The NPD Group, U.S. foodies dropped a whopping $4.9 billion on smokers and related products in 2020 alone. And according to smoker-purveyor Traeger, as of 2020, about 60% of U.S. households have a grill and more than 30% own two or more grills; That's over 100 million grills scattered throughout the yards of home cooks nationwide. As chef Anthony Bourdain once famously put it, "Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start." 

But smokers and grills can do far more than just facilitate a classic Fourth of July hotdog fry. Get ready for the best vegetarian-friendly cookout of your life. Introducing: green beans. You've probably met before. But, now, it's time to smoke 'em.

Since green beans have a naturally high water content, explains grill master Char-Broil, they won't dry out too much during smoking. Plus, they make the best Bloody Mary garnish ever and add a smoky dimension to your tired winter salads. They're also a stunning dinnertime accouterment to a filet mignon and some garlic mashed potatoes. Here's how to make it happen.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Green beans are particularly easy to smoke because you can leave them in their pods, says MasterClass – no extra prep work necessary. Simply trim the ends and toss them on the smoker. To infuse those tender green beans with a killer smoky flavor, a wood pellet smoker is the way to go. Applewood and cherrywood chips impart milder smokiness, says the outlet. Hickory and mesquite wood chips will pack a bolder smoky punch. Char-Broil recommends using cherrywood, too.

Per Bear Mountain BBQ, the ideal cook time for 3 pounds of green beans is three hours in the smoker. Presumably, one hour per pound of green beans is the sweet spot. Just be sure not to compromise their structural integrity by cooking for too long. To avoid a flavorless, mushy mess, says Pioneer Smoke Houses, don't turn the heat above 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you're ready to clean a pile of melted veggies from the bottom of your smoker, it's not a bad idea to place those green beans on a baking sheet while you smoke them, just in case. From there, simply cover in vegetable oil, season, and close the smoker lid. You could even smoke them with bacon, onions, and apple cider vinegar for an extra kick, says Bear Mountain BBQ.