Smoker Recipes: Banana Bread

Sometimes we get a one-track mind. Take for instance a smoker. I never thought beyond smoking meats or grilling meats, until Joni VanEssen said she smoked her banana bread.

The first time I heard her say that I stopped in my tracks. “You WHAT?!” She began to explain that she made good use of her smoker in the summer by using it to smoke her banana bread. It made such delicous bread, they smoke their banana bread year around.

Banana’s are good for you

Now, how does one go about smoking banana bread in the smoker? If you go and check out Tinklenber Lumber and Hardware on Facebook and look up August 3, 2018, you will see Joni’s smoked banana bread in a cast-iron skillet. In addition to that, you will have seen she did a muffin demonstration, fajitas, meatballs, and chicken drummies.

At first, I was not thrilled with the idea of a cast-iron skillet containing banana bread, but for the sake of curiosity, I had to try it. Joni uses her favorite banana bread recipe to make this smoker banana bread. You can use your own recipe or try mine below. Poor Diane Kok doesn’t realize she is going to be immortalized in print. Diane shared her recipe from the Randolph Christian School cookbook, circa 1987. Thanks, Diane, I love this recipe!

Banana Bread by Diane Kok

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening- I use butter softened to room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas smashed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans- OPTIONAL

Directions

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs. Sift together dry ingredients. Add alternately to batter with mashed banans. Beat well. Bake in oven 325 for 45 minutes.

Joni has a few tips for smoker banana bread in a castiron skillet:

  1. Set your grill temperature 5 degrees LESS than the oven recommended temperature. This helps in checking less often as you have no glass window to peek in.
  2. The baking time will be about 10 minutes less than the oven.

I, Michele decided to try a loaf pan and a cast-iron skillet smoker banana bread in the smoker. My smoker was set to 300 degrees. The loaf pan was well greased as well as my cast iron skillet.

Just so you all know, I have never used my cast iron skillet for any other purpose than to fry eggs or bacon, so this was a whole new adventure. With my banana bread batter ready, I poured enough into the loaf pan and cast iron skillet, loaded them into a large tray and carried them off to the smoker.

In you go…

Photo By Michele Bruxvoort

With my smoker at 300 degrees, I carefully set the loaf pan and the cast iron skillet inside the smoker closed the lid and hoped for the best.

I nervously paced the kitchen floor trying to decide when to pull out my smoker banana bread. I fretted because I dropped the temperature 25 degrees and so taking it out ten minutes earlier, as Joni suggested, wasn’t a good idea? Or was it? Hmm.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I was impatient, so I opened the lid after 20 minutes of baking on the smoker. Hmm. My, they look like they are almost done. Well, now what? Ok, I will let it go 10 more minutes. Shutting the grill, I quickly ran upstairs and heard the baby monitor. Nuts, he’s up! Better quick get him up, fresh diaper on and then into the highchair so I can go retrieve my bread.

Alas, ten minutes got away on me, but safety first. When you take care of your grandkids it isn’t business as usual- you know what I mean. Anyway, with the baby safe in the highchair, I run downstairs, whip open the lid to find them near well done. Oh, rats!

Quickly, I grabbed the loaf pan and then grabbed the cast-iron skillet. Shoot! The castiron skillet looks really done. But the loaf pan- not so bad. No time to cry over spilled milk, back up the stairs before the grandbaby figures out I left the kitchen!

Photo By Michele Bruxvoort

Up the stairs and into the kitchen, I set the pan down on hot pads and pouted. While I was pouting I fed the grandbaby a snack and let the breads cool awhile.

With a bit of distance between me and failure, I took the loaf pan and freed the loaf. I inspected how “done” the bread crust was. Overall, it really wasn’t that bad. I sliced it open to see how deep done went. Hmm, not terrible, my usual- haha. Slicing again I cut two slices, one for me and one for the grandbaby. Now for a little butter and a slice of cheese. Perfect!

Coffe goes with just about everything

A fresh cup of coffee steamed contentedly while I awaited my first bite. The grandbaby was pounding the highchair tray as if to say, “Me first!” “Ok, you first then” and I quickly cut small buttered pieces of smoker banana bread up for him. He did his usual- pounding the daylights out of whatever is put before him, then greedily grabbing it up and stuffing it in his mouth.

He smiled and looked on the tray for more. Phew! Made it past one critic, now for my turn, but I won’t be needing to smash and stuff the banana bread in my mouth. Taking a bite I rolled my eyes to and fro. Mulling around in my head questions of how moist, was there enough walnuts, how bad was the crust and how was the taste?

I have to say, the bread was different being smoked. It didn’t taste “smokey” just has a unique flavor and I really liked it. I could definitely tell it didn’t taste like the oven-baked banana bread. I really liked it.

Let’s just get this over with

boy disappointed
Image by Anita S. from Pixabay

With one small success behind me, I decided to get on with it and analyze my castiron skillet smoker banana bread. Taking a large spatula, I ran it around the outside perimeter first, then carefully worked my way underneath the bread to loosen it from the bottom. Once I felt it was loose, I grabbed a cookie sheet and slid it on to the cookie sheet.

Yep, she was overdone. Ok, no sweat. First time for everything Michele. Next, I cut it open. Yep, that was nearing overdone too. Sigh. I could smell its “overdoneness” and I was ready to just chuck it into the garbage can. But the Dutch girl in me said to keep it.

So I put it into a freezer bag and buried it in the freezer, which is kinda like your husband burying your favorite barn cat before you notice he hit it with the truck and it’s now dead.

I won’t be defeated by this one fail with the castiron skillet. Next time I will drop the temp to 250 degrees and watch it like a hawk so that the crust doesn’t get overdone, just a nice golden brown.

Till next time friends! Enjoy making good use of your smoker. Here is to good food, good friends and a Corona Virus-free life. Amen!

Michele

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