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Rethinking Smoked Almonds

cmayna

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john,
I noticed that when trying to sprinkle salt at the end, the salt just bounces off the almonds probably due to how dry they were. Any suggestion? I will say that having the almonds any saltier than what the brine offered, might be too salty. Thinking, what if we added just a little more salt to the brine to help reduce the desire to add more salt at the end of the smoke session.
 

johnmeyer

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I add salt at the end and then put some on top of them when I put them in the jar. The salt in the jar does begin to stick because no matter how long you cook them, there is still moisture in the nuts, and it will come out while they sit in the jar, and the salt will then stick.

If you really need more salt, try putting it on at various times during the smoke, when you take them out to rotate the trays.
 

ab canuck

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John that sounds amazing, I just read this to my wife and have her interested!!! I love almonds and have been thinking of trying to smoke some so this is on the list for sure. Thx. for sharing and the step by step!!! Point for sure...
 

johnmeyer

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John that sounds amazing, I just read this to my wife and have her interested!!! I love almonds and have been thinking of trying to smoke some so this is on the list for sure. Thx. for sharing and the step by step!!! Point for sure...
Thanks!!
 

cmayna

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Thanks John for the reply. I actually like the almonds without any additional salt besides what we see in the brine. My wife took a bag of them to her work yesterday and everyone went crazy. Thanks for introducing this ever so simple recipe.
 

spg1

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I am really glad I found this post yesterday, my wife brought home a bag of almonds and I figured I would try smoking them. Just like others have said, my past attempts have been lacking to say the least. My only regret is that I only smoked half the bag of almonds. I will definitely be doing this recipe again.

I only made 1 change to your recipe. Instead of using plain sugar I used John Henry's sugar maple rub. I have not gotten around to buying amnps yet for my MES smoker. So I used a torch to get the wood smoking at the lower temps.

Thanks for sharing your recipe!
 

johnmeyer

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Glad it is working for you! I'm still making these quite often and, unlike my other smokes where I'm never quite sure how it will turn out, I am getting very consistent results with this recipe.
 

Winterrider

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Got another batch of these in the smoker as we speak. Haven't made for awhile and very easy. Nice little snack for hunting season :emoji_wink:
Thanks John***
 

cmayna

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Brought a bag of these on a Salmon fishing trip which included 7 other fishing buddies. The almonds were gone in no time. Yum!
 

spg1

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Funny this was replied to today. I just made another batch today! The few samples I tried were very good.
 

solman

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1. Prepare the brine using two cups water, 1/3 cup table salt, and 1/3 cup sugar. I also use three shots of Jack Daniels (two into the brine, and one for me). Stir until dissolved.
johnmeyer johnmeyer
i want to try this, but was wondering if you can taste the JD at all? in another post, i think you said in the end all you can really taste is the salt and smoke. i'm trying to avoid sugar and the JD, so if in the end you can't even taste them, my plan was to skip them altogether and just do a simple salt/spice brine.

also, have you tried this with pecans, or other nuts besides almonds?
 

johnmeyer

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First of all, I've given up posting on this smoking meat forum after getting one too many "call outs" from the food police, like the one I responded to in my final post a month ago. 99% of the people on this forum are absolutely wonderful, which is why I've made 2,000+ posts and stayed here for three years, but there are a few that have caused me problems.

Other than this one mention I have not made any comment about this, privately or publicly, and plan to say nothing further.

However, since I started this particular thread and since I got a notice that there had been activity, let me answer your question, and then go away again.

The JD is completely useless in this recipe, so you can skip it without missing anything. The reason I even mentioned it was that when I was doing my original almond smokes using the sugar-based recipes (the ones that got so sticky), the JD added quite a bit of good flavor to that sugar mixture, and came through nicely in the final product. I don't entirely understand the chemistry of what that happens with sugar, but not with my sugarless recipe, but it does.

So, in my simple recipe, I have found that the only thing that "sticks" to the nuts is the smoke and salt. The JD gets lost.

I have not tried my recipe with any other nuts but, to my taste, I think walnuts or pecans would need some sort of sugar or something similar, in order to taste right.

What I'd recommend is that if you want to try other nuts, just take a little of the water/salt mixture you are using for the almonds, and soak various other nuts in it. Then, smoke those nuts at the same time you do your almonds.
 

noboundaries

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John, you inspired me to blow the dust off my smoked almond recipes and do a little experimenting in the oven today. (I always do oven tests before moving to the smoker.) I wanted quick, crispy, and flavorful.

It worked! I got all three by brining in hot salted water for ten minutes, drying in paper towels, coating with a smidge of oil and seasoning, then 350F on parchment covered cookie sheet for 15-20 mins (highest top shelf, no turning). Remove and cool completely. Won't be crispy until they cool.

My wife took one bite, said "Oh, these are really good. They'll make great stocking stuffers." Guess I'll be headed to Costco since the price of almonds have dropped so much.

Thanks for the inspiration and my latest Christmas directive!

Edit: I was thinking gifts for family members and friends, which I've done in the past. Now my wife wants me to make enough for her whole team at work, too. :emoji_scream: And I was just killing time today.
 
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spg1

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I am going to make another batch soon and I would like to add some heat to the almonds. Any suggestions on how to add some heat without going overboard?
 

Winterrider

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Light sprinkle of cayenne mixed with liquid might be a starter.
 

johnmeyer

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I got all three by brining in hot salted water for ten minutes, drying in paper towels, coating with a smidge of oil and seasoning, then 350F on parchment covered cookie sheet for 15-20 mins (highest top shelf, no turning). Remove and cool completely. Won't be crispy until they cool.
You've come up with some interesting things for me to try.

1. Hot brine. I hadn't thought of that. Did it peel off the almond "bark"? I always use raw almonds, and even in cool water the bark almost comes off, especially if you ignore my guideline and soak for half an hour instead of ten minutes.

2. Oil. The original recipe from Jeff (I think it was his) used butter, and I could never get them to dry out. But, that was butter, and it was a lot more than a "smidge." Can you define how much is in your smidge? (And don't tell me that your smidge is bigger than mine ...).

3. Temperature. I have always been smoking these and my MES barely makes it to 275° F. However, the idea of finishing in the oven at high temp for a few minutes might help with the drying. I'll have to try that.

Thanks!
 

spg1

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Light sprinkle of cayenne mixed with liquid might be a starter.
I am am about half way through a batch where I added 1/4 tsp of cayenne. So far I can't tell the difference, but I see how they turn out.

Thanks.
 

Winterrider

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1/4 tsp would be pretty light, think I would dive into at least 1 full tsp and go from there in future. I think I will try that next time.
 

spg1

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1/4 tsp would be pretty light, think I would dive into at least 1 full tsp and go from there in future. I think I will try that next time.
I will calibrate my light sprinkle up some for the next batch. He he
 

noboundaries

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Hey John,

Like I said, I was experimenting. Only roasting about a cup and a half of raw almonds like you get at Costco. I had enough for three different batches.

1. Hot brine. Just wanted an easy way to dissolve the salt (2 Tbs). The skins did not come off in the 10 minute brine, and the salt melted immediately. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I've had an almost full bottle Wright's liquid smoke in the fridge with a 2011 date on it. I added a tsp to the hot brine since I was using the oven. Gave the final product a HINT of smoke flavor, but nothing like I get in the smoker.

2 Oil. I just grabbed the canola oil next to the stove. After draining and paper towel drying the nuts, I put 2 tsp of oil in a bowl. Added 2 tsp of seasoning. Stirred it together. You don't want a paste but a runny slurry. Add a little oil if too thick. Add the nuts and stir until well coated. Too much seasoning overpowers the almond flavor, so go light, not heavy.

3. Temperature. I experimented with 350F first yesterday, then 300F. 300F did not work. At 20 minutes I cranked the heat up to 350 and they got to the brown look I wanted in 8 more minutes. I made another batch today and used 350F. They were ready in 18 minutes.

Below is yesterday's first batch (left) and the final batch I cranked out today (right side and too much seasoning). One batch is already gone.

20191029_170425.jpg
 
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