Hickory Smoked Peanuts
These Hickory Smoked Peanuts are surprisingly easy to make, and they’re a fun and unique snack for the next backyard party!
Growing up, my sister and I spent a lot of time running through the woods in upstate South Carolina. My grandparents lived in a small town where everybody knew everybody else. My Grandpa was the town magistrate, so he really did know everyone. Occasionally, I would go with him to work and read comics in the back row of the court room. However, the best days were when Grandpa would play hooky from work and take me fishing. Or when peaches were in season, he would “drive me up” to the local orchard where we’d pick peaches and then proceed to eat one on the tailgate of his beat-up old pickup.
Another favorite activity was grilling in the backyard. My grandpa built his own grill/smoker using cinderblocks and an old metal highway sign. (Remember that part about everybody knowing everybody? I’m sure he got that old sign from a friend at the highway department.) The grill was right under a massive hickory tree, and each Fall I’d go around collecting hickory nuts in an old plastic bucket. He’d throw those nuts right onto the coals and the smoke would contribute to the flavor of whatever happened to be on the grill.
Well, that was all 30 years ago. However, last Fall, we were hanging out with some of our friends who live out in the country here in upstate New York. They have a bunch of land, and we were meandering down a path behind their house. That’s when I saw hickory nuts on the ground! I hadn’t seen those in years. I immediately started collecting them to bring back home to my smoker. (Laura just looked at me and shook her head. My thought is there are far worse things I could be doing than collecting hickory nuts for later use. So there.)
Back last summer, I posted a tasty recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream. When writing that post, I stumbled across Jehangir Mehta, a NYC restaurateur who uses peanut shells in his smoker. That got me thinking about whether I could smoke actual peanuts. I took me a couple of months, but I finally got around to testing that theory. The answer? Yes, you can make smoked peanuts, and, yes, smoked peanuts are delicious!
Hickory Smoked Peanuts
For these Hickory Smoked Peanuts, I used hickory nuts from my buddy’s yard. However, I supplemented those hickory nuts with some actual chunks of hickory wood that I picked up from Home Depot. (I usually keep large bags of hickory, cherry and mesquite wood chunks around for whenever I fire up the smoker.) Since I was going hickory here, I used hickory wood. About 30 minutes later, the smoker was up to temp and puffing away…and it was time to add the peanuts!
To be fair, I wasn’t sure if smoked peanuts would work. I read a ton of forums on smoking, and I came away with a mixed bag of results. In the end, I decided to go with raw, shelled peanuts. It seemed like you can smoke peanuts in-shell, but the smoke flavor doesn’t really penetrate through the shell very well. Fortunately, I found a bag of raw peanuts at my local grocery store, so I went that route. (Raw peanuts are also readily available on Amazon, and they aren’t too expensive.)
Instead of finding a grill pan with small holes in the bottom, I elected to turn my entire grill grate into a pan. I simply wrapped foil around the whole thing, and then punched a bunch of holes in it. The holes were big enough to allow smoke to come through, but they were small enough to keep peanuts from falling through into the coals. After about 45 minutes, I noticed some of the peanuts were beginning to turn black. I decided I was close enough, so I pulled ’em all off and let the nuts cool. (Word of warning: the warm peanuts will be soft. They will harden back up once they cool.)
One bite. That’s all it took. One bite of these smoked peanuts, and I was hooked! I was shocked at how easy it is to make smoked peanuts, and these make for one heck of a tasty snack. Even Robbie got in on the action. He loves peanuts, but I wasn’t sure if he’d go for these since they looked different than the traditional cocktail peanuts that he eats. But he grabbed a handful, ate one and then gave me a thumbs up while saying “Perfect, Dad!” Man, that melted my heart right there. I hope you get a chance to make these smoked peanuts at home, and I hope you give ’em the thumbs up as well. Happy smokin’, my friends!
Did you make a batch of these Hickory Smoked Peanuts at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Hickory Smoked Peanuts
- 2 cups hickory woodchips
- 16 oz. raw shelled peanuts
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Place hickory woodchips in a large bowl of water for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove grilling grate from smoker and wrap with foil. Poke holes in the foil so that the smoke can go through without the peanuts falling into the charcoal. Set grill grate aside.
- Preheat smoker to 250°F.
- Using a medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients; toss until well combined.
- Drain water from woodchips and place them on the hot coals.
- Place foil-covered grate back into smoker and spread peanuts evenly on top.
- Smoke for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. (Note: Keep a close eye on the peanuts near the end to ensure they don’t burn.)
- Remove peanuts from heat and let cool completely. (Note: Peanuts will be soft when hot. They will turn crunchy as they cool. If peanuts are still not crunchy when cooled, you can return them to the smoker for 5-10 more minutes.)
Looking for other smoker recipes? Check out a couple of my other favorites below!
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I do really enjoy smoked food (salmon, cheddar) so I know I’d love these smoked peanuts! Talk about a delicious snack for the weekend! It’s been forever since we’ve used our smoker (well, probably last summer so it really does feel like forever) so I think it’s about time. Love to give these a try, David! I may just have to double the batch though 😉 Pinned! Happy weekend! Hope all is going well with the new puppies!
I’m with ya, Dawn…I really enjoy all sorts of smoked foods, too. Smoked cheese is one of my favorites! However, I’ve gotta say that these smoked peanuts were a tasty snack. We’ll definitely be making these again sometime this summer. And thanks for the well wishes with the puppies – everyone is happy and safe, but things are a bit hectic here quarantined with a 4-year-old and 2 puppies! 🙂
I’ve had hickory smoked almonds, but never peanuts! Love this idea, David! Perfect snacking pair to a weekend cocktail!
Oooo…now I have to try smoking some almonds! That’s my next project. 🙂 Thanks for the idea, Marissa!
I really love smokey flavours in food – and these just look so tasty. I am sure I couldn’t stop eating them.
Such a lovely story of the old smoker under the tree. I love memories like that!
I’m with ya on smokey flavors in food, too, Alex. I love pulling out the smoker for everything from smoked meats to now these smoked peanuts. I need to figure out smoked cheeses next! Thanks so much, my friend! 🙂
we are a huge peanut fan here. I will definitely try this recipe. spiced peanut is our staple snack you know. Sometimes I just fry them and season it with salt and pepper. Adding garlic powder is kinda new to me as I never thought of adding garlic powder in peanuts.
Yes! I’ve made peanut chaat several times before, and it always disappears SO quickly. These smoked peanuts are a delicious treat. The smokey flavor adds such a fun underlying taste. Hope you had a great weekend, Priya!
Those peanuts look so tempting. I love that you are such an adventurous cook.
Haha! I’m laughing at you calling me adventurous, Jeff. I do like to mix things up and try new ideas…but if I had my way, I’d probably eat a cheeseburger every night. Maybe with a side of these peanuts. 🙂
Since you did all that running around in NC growing up, did you eat boiled peanuts?! I could never understand the appeal. I much prefer your smoked peanuts – these I would pull over for! The perfect road trip snack 🙂
Oh man, I just couldn’t ever get behind the boiled peanuts. They’re soggy! I tried ’em when I was a kid. Nope. I tried ’em again as an adult. Nope. I feel like I’m betraying my Southern roots, but I just don’t like boiled peanuts. I much prefer them in smoked form! Also…road trip? What’s that? I only know our street and the occasional road to the grocery store. Hah.
Smoked peanuts eh? These look and sound delicious! I’m jealous you guys can get your BBQ’s out more than we can in Scotland. I’ve still to pull mine out of the shed here for its obligitary once a year fire-up!
Neil! It’s time for an intervention. You and the BBQ need to become one. New York state has some pretty terrible weather – it was snowing (!!) here over the weekend. In May. Snow. WTF. But you know what? I was out there grilling in the snow. Now I won’t pull out the grill when it’s inches and inches of snow, but a little cold/rain/snow showers? That won’t stop me! I challenge you to pull out the grill more often this year. Let’s start with once every 3 weeks. Is that a reasonable challenge? 🙂
I have never eaten smoked peanuts before. I bet these are so delicious!!
I had never eaten smoked peanuts before, either, Dawn…but they’re so tasty! I love smoked foods, and these peanuts rank up there on the list of delicious snacks/appetizers for sure!
I love smokey flavor in my food! And I LOVE peanuts. . .now I’m craving these. I don’t have a smoker but my dad does so next time I visit I’m totally trying this recipe. They sound delicious!
So these smoked peanuts are a double winner for you, Kelsie! I’m telling ya…these didn’t last long at all. I want to try this concept again with different nuts. I’m thinking smoked pecans would be pretty darned delicious, too. Oh! What if you took those smoked pecans and used them in a dessert? Talk about a sum greater than the individual parts right there!
I actually haven’t tried smoked peanuts before, this would be a good idea that is definitely worth trying. Love the recipe.
I hadn’t tried smoked peanuts, either, Raymund. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if this recipe would work. But it did…and smoked peanuts are delicious!
Awww the compliments from our little chefs are the absolute BEST! That is so sweet that Robbie appreciates your expertise and creativity. And speaking of creativity, these peanuts sound absolutely amazing!!! I totally see how smoking them shelled would mean more flavor. I can almost taste the combination of smoky hickory flavor and peanut just from looking at your gorgeous pictures. Such a great idea David, I will be trying this!
You are totally right about compliments from little chefs. The thumbs up is pretty amazing! 🙂 There is SO much flavor going on here in this recipe, Shannon. Smoked peanuts are my new favorite snack. You do have to be careful that the peanuts don’t burn and you don’t “over-smoke” them…but they’re delicious! I want to try this concept out with pecans next. Maybe with a spice rub on them, too.
This is so interesting! I love how you came about making these smoked peanuts and it is such a great idea. I don’t even know if I’ve ever had smoked nuts. I love all the steps that you’ve used to make these and they would be perfect for a barbecue or party!
To be honest, I wasn’t sure this concept of smoking peanuts would work…but it did! You’ve gotta be careful that the peanuts don’t burn due to the oils, but these are a new favorite snack around here. Now we just need the quarantine to wrap up so we can start entertaining again!
Oh, nuts, I missed this one when you posted it. Better late than never.
I enjoyed you sharing your memories with your Granddad. You know David, reading it was like watching an old Andy Griffin show. It sounds like a blessed Opie type memory for you.
We also used to collect and save hickory nuts for use in my uncle’s smokehouse. But, we never smoked nuts. Lots of sausage, bacon, and ham but never nuts. If I can find raw nuts online here I’ll give a try. Boiled nuts are not my thing either.
Haha. I appreciated the “oh nuts” comment there, Ron. 🙂 Oh man, talking about the Andy Griffith show really does take me back. As I recall, my granddad actually loved watching that show. That and Atlanta Braves baseball games. Good memories! I’d give anything to go back to those careful days as a kid romping in their backyard.
So I highly recommend picking up some raw peanuts to make this recipe. Raw peanuts are a little harder to find, but I did get lucky and found them at Walmart of all places. (I’m not sure why raw peanuts would have a high enough demand for Walmart to carry them? Works for me though!) I suspect co-ops would also be a good place to find raw peanuts. Either way, make this recipe! Just watch the peanuts closely as (1) the oils can burn and (2) they can become too smoky. But there is a sweet spot there and these Smoked Peanuts are worth the effort!
What a fabulous snack/appetizer. I love smoky flaovors and paring it with peanuts is brilliant. Fun to make, too! 🙂 ~Valentina
I love smoky flavors, too, Valentina! I wasn’t sure how the peanuts would work, but I’m rather pleased with ’em. Such a fun and tasty snack! 🙂
This produces some mighty fine tasting peanuts
Thanks so much, Ken – glad you enjoyed ’em!