When a guy named Meathead says his favorite thing to smoke is a fruit, you must pay attention. And nothing is simpler to make either on a grill or smoker than Smoked Cherry Tomato Raisins. And yes, tomatoes are botanically fruits, but you can call them veggies if you wish.
They are superb for snacking, on salads, on a pizza, in pasta, baked into breads or focaccia or biscuits or muffins, on baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, in stews, with cream sauces or soups especially with mushrooms, in pot pies, in roulades like porchetta, on a BLT, stuffed into chicken breasts or pork chops, in omelets or scrambled eggs, or anything you would do with raisins or sundried tomatoes.
If you have a garden as we do, in August we are swimming in tomatoes. It is breathtaking how many cherry tomatoes one plant can produce, and if you have two or three you are swimming in them. This is what to do with the ones you don’t pop in your mouth while picking them.
Cherry Tomato Raisin Recipe
Smoked cherry tomato raisins are easy to make and a great addition to any salad, pizza or pasta.
Makes. As many as you can fit.
Takes. About 6 hours.
Special tools. A grill topper or something to keep them from falling through the grates when they shrink. I prefer Frogmats.
1) Prep. Pop the stems off the tomatoes and stab them 3 to four times with the tip of a sharp knife so moisture can escape.
2) Fire up. Set the temp for a smoker or the indirect zone of a grill to about 200 to 225°F. Don’t get much hotter than this. Spread the tomatoes around on a grill topper on the cooking surface trying to leave a little room between them. Throw wood on the fire to get some smoke rolling. Every 60 minutes throw on some more smoke wood. And after 3 hours roll them around a bit. When they have shrunk to about 25% of their original size, darkened, but before they start to get hard and are pliable like raisins, they are done. If you plan to keep them for more than a few days, throw them in the fridge. I make bags full and freeze them for use year round.
"Nothing is better than a tomato you grow. There's something about it that's different than a tomato you can buy."Tom Vilsack, Former US Secretary of Agriculture