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"What It Takes" Smoked Whole Yellow Cauliflower with Jerk Spice

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Whole smoked cauliflower is a delicious and healthy side dish that is perfect for any occasion. This versatile vegetable can be cooked in a smoker, on the grill, or in the oven. So if you're looking for something new and delicious to add to your menu, be sure to try smoked cauliflower!

Smoked cauliflower is a great way to add some flavor to your meal, and it's a healthier alternative to traditional sides like potatoes or rice. Plus, smoked cauliflower is easy to prepare and only takes a few minutes to cook.

This smoked cauliflower recipe is Caribbean inspired plant-based barbecue side dish that's a great alternative to traditional meat options.

This smoked cauliflower is the truth! One of the things I love about cauliflower is that its mild flavor allows it to easily take on other flavor characteristics such as the applewood smoke used in this recipe.

whole smoked cauliflower on plate

This whole cauliflower recipe was inspired by the cauliflower at 18th and Vine BBQ in Dallas which is my hometown. 18th and Vine is one of my favorite spots to hit when I'm in town. They have a great beer selection and are creative in the different meats and vegetables they smoke including whole cauliflower.

To be completely transparent, the chef/partner Scott Gottlich is a former schoolmate from high school, but regardless you should check-out the spot if you're ever in Dallas.

This smoked cauliflower is the truth! One of the things I love about cauliflower is that its mild flavor allows it to easily take on other flavor characteristics such as the applewood smoke used in this recipe.

This smoked whole cauliflower recipe is part 2 of a series of Dallas inspired recipes for the month. It was inspired by the cauliflower at 18th and Vine BBQ in Dallas. 18th and Vine is one of my favorite spots to hit when I'm in town.

They have a great beer selection and are creative in the different meats and vegetables they smoke including whole cauliflower. To be completely transparent, the chef/partner Scott Gottlich is a former schoolmate from high school, but regardless you should check-out the spot if you're ever in Dallas.

Why a smoked vegetable instead of traditional meat on the grill?

As my family continues to move more and more to a plant-based diet (my goal is to get only 20% of my daily food calories from meat and the rest from plant foods), cauliflower provides many options.

We pretty much use it as a substitute for any starchy dish (mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, etc.) as well as a substitute for meat such as vegetarian tacos. Being a self-proclaimed pitmaster, smoking cauliflower is a perfect fit for my diet progression.

Beats and Eats (music to pair with smoked cauliflower)

Today's song is by N'dambi another former schoolmate but in this case college at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Her music has inspired many of my dishes over the years.

The music is modern, mixing different genres like rock, funk, and jazz, but definitely grounded in classic r&b with emphasis on the blues part. Good blues and smoked food go together. This contemporary recipe deserves newer soul tpye music.

BBQ Cauliflower Ingredients

This recipe requires less than 5 ingredients - one whole head of cauliflower plus jerk spice, olive oil, and lemon juice. You can make your own spice mix such as this jerk rub or buy a store-bought pre-mixed one.

How to Smoke A Head of Cauliflower (Step by Step)

Step 1: Boil Cauliflower

Bring a large pot of seasoned water to a boil. You can use simply just kosher or sea salt or your favorite spice mix, such as the jerk rub spice mix I used.

Cook for 5 minutes EXACTLY starting from the time you drop the cauliflower into the pot. Flip the cauliflower with a large spoon after the first two minutes.

whole yellow cauliflower in poaching liquid
Place cauliflower in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes EXACTLY starting from the time you drop the cauliflower into the pot. Start stem side down. Flip the cauliflower with a large spoon after the first two minutes.

Step 2: Drain the cauliflower

Remove the cauliflower head from the pot of water. Transfer the cauliflower stem side down to a colander and drain for 10 minutes.

whole cauliflower draining in a colander
Transfer the cauliflower stem side down to a colander and drain for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Season the cauliflower exterior

Mix ¼ cup of olive oil with spice mix and then cover entire exterior of cauliflower with the mixture.

whole cauliflower draining in a colander
Mix ¼ cup of olive oil with spice mix and then cover entire exterior of cauliflower with the mixture.

Step 4: Smoke the cauliflower

Place the cauliflower heads in a preheated smoker setup for indirect grilling. Close the lid. Smoke the cauliflower for 45 minutes to an hour, maintaining the temperature inside the grill at around 250 degrees until they are fork-tender but not mushy.

cauliflower smoking on the grill
Smoke the cauliflower for 45 minutes to an hour, maintaining the temperature inside the grill at around 250 degrees until they are fork-tender but not mushy.

Step 5: How Do You Serve Smoked Cauliflower

Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board. Slice cauliflower in half lengthwise, then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise, so that you have a few thick smoked cauliflower steaks. Optionally if you prefer smoked cauliflower florets then cut the head into smaller pieces.

Move the cauliflower to a platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice and remaining olive oil, then with additional spice mix to taste. Lemon zest is a good finishing touch as some parmesan cheese.

Serving Suggestions

This is a vegan main entree for 1-2 people but for larger groups this is a great side dish. Pair with any of the following:

Instant Pot Coconut Braised Brussel Sprouts

Curried Collard Greens

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Collard Greens Slaw

Vegan Collard Greens

Expert Tips for Smoking Whole Cauliflower

  • Definitely follow the pre-smoking steps to add extra flavor. The key to this recipe is boiling the cauliflower in SEASONED broth/water. The boiling step softens the cauliflower up and makes it easier for the whole head to absorb the smoke
  • Feel free to use your favorite spice seasoning for the recipe, as cauliflower really does work with any flavor. So don't feel obligated to use jerk spice
  • Do not try and speed up cooking by increasing temperature. You'll end up with a dark exterior and uneven flavor
  • Baste with coconut or olive oil. Oil helps with moisture and acts as an adhesive for the spice seasoning.
  • Smoking time will vary depending on size of cauliflower and temperature inside the grill.
  • For optimal smoke flavor, soak wood chips or chunks in water and add to your smoker box during cooking. I prefer fruit wood chips like apple or cherry wood.
  • Optional: Cut the vegetables into thick slices and place the smoked cauliflower steaks on the grill grate directly over the coals and grill for about 3 minutes per side, until they are lightly charred.
  • Whether serving as smoked cauliflower florets or steak slices top with a sauce or relish. Choose from any of these:

Smoked Yellow Cauliflower Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will this recipe work for traditional white cauliflower?

I recently found a few different colored varietals of cauliflower including yellow, which I used in this recipe. I could've easily used traditional cauliflower, as the texture is identical and taste differences are subtle. The difference between colored vs. white is the yellow color comes from the presence of more beta carotene. The color is actually what drew me to this varietal.

whole smoked cauliflower on a plate

Is this Smoked Cauliflower Keto?

Smoked cauliflower definitely qualifies as a keto cauliflower recipe. Cauliflower is a great low carb substitute to any starch. With so few ingredients, this recipe easily meets the keto criteria.

How is this cauliflower flavored?

It's a very simple recipe it's essentially the whole cauliflower, olive oil infused with a jerk spice rub, and wood smoke. Now you can always roast the cauliflower whole, but you'll miss the smokiness provided by the smoker.

The jerk spice is optional, as any of your favorite spices will work. The recipe calls for olive oil, but coconut oil is a really good alternative for flavor. The coconut gives this recipe an even more distinct Caribbean flavor profile.

What temperature should I smoke cauliflower?

This is not a recipe to rush. Low and slow is the tempo! Definitely stay between 250 - 275 degrees. Cooking time will be close to an hour.

Can I Make This Recipe In The Oven?

You can, but this becomes an entirely new recipe. You lose the smoky flavor, but perhaps you can replicate with smoked sea salt and smoky paprika. Obviously this approach makes this more of a roasted cauliflower cooking process, but is still very good.

Is This Smoked Cauliflower Recipe Keto - Friendly?

Yes, feel free to add this to your list of low carb recipes if you're following a keto diet or just looking to cut carbs.

For similar cauliflower recipes try these:

Cauliflower Curry

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Jerk Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Cheesy Parmigiano Reggiano Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower Potato Soup

Cauliflower Steak

Other Jerk Based Recipes

Instant Pot Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken Thighs

Jerk Baby Back Ribs

Smoked Jerk Chicken

Jerk Smoked Oxtails

Whole Roasted Jerk Cauliflower

Jerk Marinated Onion Steaks

Braised Whole Cauliflower w/ Coconut-Wine Sauce

Successful diet/lifestyle changes require confidence; you gotta know you got what it takes. Not so much from a can I mentally do it but do I have easy access, a plethora of options, and the skills to make the change seamless from a lifestyle perspective.

The beauty of this recipe is that it's just good regardless of your dietary preference. For a comprehensive post about cooking whole cauliflower see my post How To Cook Cauliflower.

Whole smoked cauliflower is a flavorful side dish that opens things up to a whole new way of cooking that is also perfect for any occasion. This recipe is easy to follow, and the resulting delicious smoky flavor makes it definitely worth the effort.

If you are looking for a new way to prepare cauliflower head, or just want something different to add to your menu, be sure to give this smoked cauliflower recipe a try. You won’t regret it!

If you make this flavorful keto cauliflower recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists. 

Jerk Smoked yellow Cauliflower

Smoked Cauliflower with Jerk Spices

Whole cauliflower basted with jerk spice infused olive oil and slow smoked on the grill.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 4
Calories: 402kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Prepare a smoker/grill for indirect grilling according to product instructions.
  • In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add ½ cup salt then lower in the cauliflower.
  • Cook for 5 minutes EXACTLY starting from the time you drop the cauliflower into the pot. Flip the cauliflower with a large spoon after the first two minutes.
  • Transfer the cauliflower stem side down to a colander and drain for 10 minutes.
  • Mix ¼ cup of olive oil with spice mix and then cover entire exterior of cauliflower with the mixture.
  • Place the cauliflower heads on the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid. Smoke the cauliflower for 45 minutes to an hour, maintaining the temperature inside the grill at around 250 degrees until they are fork-tender but not mushy.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board. Slice cauliflower in half lengthwise, then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise, so that you have a few thick slices.
  • Optional: Transfer the slices to the grill grate directly over the coals and grill for about 3 minutes per side, until they are lightly charred.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to a platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice and remaining oil, then with additional spice mix to taste.

Notes

  • Definitely follow the pre-smoking steps to add extra flavor
  • Feel free to use your favorite spice seasoning for the recipe, as cauliflower really does work with any flavor. So don't feel obligated to use jerk spice
  • Do not try and speed up cooking by increasing temperature. You'll end up with a dark exterior and uneven flavor
  • Baste with olive or coconut oil. Oil help with moisture and acts as an adhesive for the spice seasoning.

     

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 467mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 83.6mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




Jo

Monday 20th of July 2020

I love cauliflower is all forms. With it looks this good and packed with amazing flavors, it's definitely going into my weekly menu list. So good!

Kathryn Donangelo

Monday 20th of July 2020

This was such a great way to cook cauliflower. Super simple and delicious! Definitely making this again.

Sam

Monday 20th of July 2020

Wow this looks amazing and so flavourful! I love cauliflower but have never prepared it like this yet. Will have to try it!

Neha

Sunday 19th of July 2020

Sounds like a quick and easy recipe to me! I have some cauliflower in my refrigerator right now. Will bake it your way.

Paige

Sunday 19th of July 2020

Whoa ...does this ever look GOOD! I love the idea of smoking it and getting all that delish smokey flavor in there! YUM!