Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower

My all-time favorite game time food is smoked Buffalo wings  ̶  or maybe I should say it used to be. This Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower is a hot contender for the number one spot. Seasoned and then smoked, the cauliflower takes on a more complex flavor and a fantastic crunch. Blis Blast Hot Sauce, which this newsletter has recommended frequently, and a bit of butter make for a quick homemade Buffalo sauce that cannot be beat.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 8
Image of Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower

  • 1 dried pasilla chile
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried shallot
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 cauliflower heads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (we recommend Blis Blast)
  • Blue cheese dressing for serving
  • Oak wood chunks for smoke

Prepare the smoker for 225°F smoking with oak wood (see detailed instructions for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet following the recipe). Smoking duration will be 3 hours.

Discard the stem from the pasilla chile. Coarsely chop the chile, seeds and all. Place the chopped chile in a spice grinder, add the dried shallot, and grind to a relatively fine powder. We love the Hario Skerton coffee grinder for this task. It will require a couple of passes through the grinder, but the extra flavor you get from freshly-ground spices is worth the effort.

Combine the ground chile and shallots with the salt, paprika and sugar.

Discard the cauliflower leaves and cut the heads down into bite-size florets. They can be rather large because the cauliflower will shrink substantially while it cooks.

Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet or cutting board. Season on all sides with the spice blend.

Transfer from the baking sheet into the smoker. If your smoker grates or shelves are too open to support the pieces of cauliflower, use a pizza screen to hold them.

Smoke for 3 hours at 225°F with oak wood for flavor.

Remove from the smoker. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the hot sauce. Remove from heat and fold in the cauliflower. Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Note: Although a dedicated smoker is ideal, this recipe is also good for cooking in a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill using our wood pellet smoking inserts.

Setup for the Kalamazoo Smoker Cabinet

If smoking only the cauliflower, load the smoker with 2 to 3 pounds of hardwood lump charcoal. Clip the pit temperature probe to the center of the bottom food grate and set the BBQ Guru pit computer to 225°F pit temp (you will not be using the food temp probe). Fully open the chimney, ball valve, and fan shutter. Light the charcoal (see owner’s manual) and preheat the smoker for 1 hour to ensure even heat throughout the heavy stainless steel food chamber. Once the BBQ Guru computer indicates the pit has reached 225°F, about 30 to 40 minutes, reduce the fan shutter opening to 50%. After the first 45 minutes of preheating, add 2 large oak wood chunks to the ash pan below the charcoal fire. The embers from the fire will fall on the wood to create flavorful smoke.

Place the seasoned cauliflower directly onto the center food grate in a single layer. Close the door tightly and smoke for 3 hours, replacing the spent oak wood chunks approximately every 45 minutes.