Smoked oats create a grown-up, sophisticated granola with a flavor that’s likely to transport you to your favorite campsite. The combination of dried fruit and dark chocolate tilt this version into the sweet treat category—meaning it’s delicious with almond milk or yogurt for breakfast, or sprinkled over vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. Using dry milk powder helps the granola clump together and adds a terrific crunch.
- Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high.
- When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, remove the cooking grate and place a drip pan with 1 inch of warm water on the side with no coals, and add your smoke source (chips, chunks, or log). Return the cooking grate to its position, allow it to preheat, and then carefully wipe the grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.
- Place the oats in a disposable aluminum pan or atop two sheets of heavyduty aluminum foil (crimp the edges of foil upward to create a rim and prevent the oats from sliding off).
- When the fire begins to produce a steady stream of smoke, place the oats over indirect heat, close the grill, vent the grill for smoking, and smoke for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on their size, density, and the heat), until they’ve darkened a few shades, typically from the perimeter of the pan inward (which is why you want to stir them a time or two for even results). The smoking time is a general guide and assumes an internal temperature of around 300°F (150°C), but if the heat in your grill fluctuates, or, say, you’re battling the elements, use your eyes and nose as a guide. If the oats are tinged with color and have a rich smoky smell at 20 minutes, pull them. If they’re still pale after 30 minutes, give them another 10 minutes over the heat.
- Remove the oats from the grill and let them cool and dry completely. At this point, they’re ready to be prepared as you normally would—no need to adjust the usual cooking methods. In the meantime, store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
- Position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 300°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, and salt in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the smoked oats, nuts, the seeds, milk powder, and flaxseed meal. Pour the warm syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the moistened oats evenly between the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, then stir the granola with a metal spatula and switch the baking sheets to the opposite racks to ensure even cooking. Bake for 20 minutes more, then stir and switch the baking sheets again. Continue baking until the mixture has a fragrant, toasty aroma, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove the granola from the oven and season with salt to taste.
- Cool the granola on the baking sheets, breaking up any unwieldy clumps with the spatula. When completely cool, transfer the granola to a large mixing bowl and mix in the coconut, cherries, raisins, and chocolate. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Reprinted with permission from Thank You for Smoking by Paula Disbrowe, copyright © 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit Johnny Autry © 2019.