Smoked Cabbage a keto fabulous side dish, slow smoked on the grilled and topped with a creamy pear-lime sauce.
This post was updated September 21, 2019
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Smoked Cabbage Recipe Inspiration
This smoked cabbage recipe was truly inspired in every way by DJ Jubilee’s bounce song, “Get It Ready, Ready.” If you’re from the South and spent any of your college years in the late 90s/early 2000s era then you know the song, and you also know you don’t sit still when you hear that clap intro. As I “walked it like a dog” while smoking jerk chicken and preparing a Caribbean cabbage as some point I flipped the lyrics from “do the tenth ward” to “do da smoked cabbage” since “do da smoked jerk chicken and Caribbean cabbage” didn’t work right.
I literally started thinking about making smoked cabbage at the point and used the leftover cabbage wedge to start experimenting. Overtime I was able to develop the version of the recipe featured in this post. Smoked cabbage was in hind-sight was an easy transition for me how much I had practiced with several other smoked vegetable recipes for beets, eggplant, and cauliflower over the previous year.
Smoked Cabbage Ingredients
This recipe only calls for a head of cabbage, a few spices, and some olive oil.
How to Smoke Cabbage
Step 1: Prep The Cabbage
Remove the thin outer leaves from the cabbage, then cut the cabbage into equal size wedges
Step 2: Season the cabbage
Coat the cabbage with olive oil and season it well with simply salt and pepper
Step 3: Smoke the cabbage
Preheat smoker to 250 degrees F. Arrange the four wedges on a smoker tray (if available), otherwise place directly on greased grill grates. Smoke the cabbage with the smooth side down for 20 minutes. Flip and smoke on one of the wedge sides another 20 minutes. Then flip to remaining uncooked wedge side and smoke for the last 20 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Smoked cabbage: Taste Profile
The meat of the cabbage should be moist and tender, vs. dried out. It also shouldn’t be overly smoky. You want just enough smokiness to both temper that raw cabbage bitterness and infuse that wood smoke essence into leaving flavorful roasted undertones.
A sauce or dressing is optional and if you decide you need one any salad dressing you have on hand can work or you can use the fancy pear vinaigrette recipe I include at the end of the post. I pair this dish with any of the following:
Black-eyed Pea Salad
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best type of cabbage for grilling/smoking?
Great smoked cabbage, starts with choosing the right cabbage. Firm is what you want, green or purple doesn’t matter but Napa or Savoy are no-nos. Smoked cabbage requires firmness in order to withstand the low and slow smoking process vs. wilting into a sloppy mess.
How to season this cabbage recipe?
Most of the seasoning will actually come from the smoke so you can keep the seasonings really simple. This is pretty true of cabbage recipes in general as
cabbage has a naturally unique flavor that doesn’t require much in the way of enhancements. I used a simple mix of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Another reason to forego complex seasoning is the pear-lime sauce that I recommend as an accompaniment. It’s a simple recipe that mimics that familiar ranch dressing served over a wedge salad. But this ranch is kicked up and you’ll want to use it on pretty much everything.
How Long To Smoke The Cabbage?
Low and slow is the tempo for smoking cabbage. It takes time, but is so worth the wait. Don’t fret over the time, as slow and low also frees you from babysitting the grill. Use the time to pull together your other menu items. Low and slow translates to a steady 250-275 degrees for about an hour. You want to cook long enough for some crispy char to develop on the edges and the meat of the cabbage becomes pretty tender. The edges should look like burnt edges of newspaper.
What To Do With Leftover Cabbage?
We generally do not have leftovers unless I intentionally make extra and reserve some for a smoky Coleslaw. I’ve never tried it with a mayo based slaw, but I suspect it would pair nicely.
Is There Any Special Equipment Needed?
The key to smoking anything, especially vegetables like cabbage is a smoker/grill that maintains a reasonably steady temperature. Otherwise, it will require a lot of attention and supervision which is not good. As for tools, a grill pan is really handy. I use mine when cooking any vegetables or seafood. They make it easy to flip the cabbage as well as move the cabbage if needed.
For similar recipes like this one, try these:
If you make this smoked cabbage please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Though optional, I highly recommend the sauce for not only use with the cabbage, but on other salads and grilled foods. It’s that good. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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FOR THE CABBAGE
- 1 large green or purple cabbage
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Fresh herbs (cilantro or thyme sprigs)
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 whole limes juiced
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 pear (green) cored and chopped roughly
- 1 jalapeno de-seeded and chopped
- 2 green onions trimmed, green and white parts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
FOR THE CABBAGE
- Adjust the heat on the smoker to low and cover. Allow the heat to reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the thin outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half in the direction of the core and then half each to create quarters
- Coat the cabbage with 1/2 the olive oil and season it to taste with salt and pepper..
- Arrange the cabbage quarters on their side on a smoker tray. Place the tray in the smoker and cover. Smoke the cabbage with the smooth side down for 20 minutes. Flip and smoke on one of the wedge sides another 20 minutes. Then flip to remaining uncooked wedge side and smoke for the last 20 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with sauce.
FOR THE SAUCE
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix well. If too thick feel free to add more of the liquid ingredients. Taste and tweak as necessary.