This weekend I was introduced to a smoked apple butter sauce, and I quickly became obsessed with making a homemade batch. I have never smoked apples, and I have never made apple butter, so this is time management if you ask me. There is very limited information on how to go about this on the wonderful world wide web, but I know how how to make an apple pipe if the need were to ever arise. This was a learning experience for sure. Many obstacles presented themselves along the way, but in the end I think I came out with a pretty good butter than needs only minor adjustments.
I purchased 10 lb’s of local apples. I simply asked what was recommended for apple butter. The best advice seemed to be a mixture of apples that broke down fast in heat like Braeburn, McIntosh, Winesap, Jonagold, and Pippin. That was the easiest of my decisions. I was worried that the apples could be overwhelmingly smoky. I also toyed with cutting the apple or leaving them whole. I decided to halve the apples and did a #5 lb. batch of dry and liquid. The end result that I was most pleased with was the dry. They were not overly smoky, but did have a stronger smokiness that the batch in liquid, which to me did not yield enough.
Both batches were seasoned with whole peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, sliced lemon and a little salt.
The liquid batch had cider beer and water added.
I smoked the liquid batch in the well, with the dry on the grates above.
The entire smoking time was three hours. I would like to try 6, but honestly do not know if its really necessary. What is necessary is a food mill. I tried REALLY hard to skip this, but in my opinion, your just not going to get the results you want unless you have one. I read that you could use cheese cloths or a sieve. I could not find cheese cloths, and the sieve was gigantic pain in the ass and left me with chunky apple sauce. I don’t even want to think about how horrible the cheese cloth would have been. I took me several stores to find but I finally found one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I purchased their cheaper one for $30 but still did not have a smooth consistency. I pressed that through a sieve by hand, which was much easier after being milled but I felt that I would go ahead and pay the difference and get a mill that did exactly what I wanted. I returned it and paid the difference and was much happier with the OXO. It is a weird little contraption, and man it hurt to pay $50 for it. But there are many things that I can use this for other than one time smoked apple butter. I’ve used one several times in food prep to cream potatoes, puree soups and to make perfectly smooth sauces, so it will get used.
I ran the apples through the mill and straight into the crock pot. It was loose, so I didn’t add any more liquid. I put in about a cup of brown sugar, a tablespoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of cardamon. I covered it and let it cook on highs while I went off to do new and exciting things for about 3 hours. I took a small taste, a when the apples were completely cooked and soft, and everything was a sweet as wanted, I let the mixture cool and cupped up some adorably small gift-able sized jelly jars and allowed them to completely cool in the fridge before putting on the adorable small lids.
I certainly am not ready to conquer pressure sealing these bad boys, so I gave them away with only the request of an honest opinion of it. They seemed to be well received, more so by the lovers of smoked foods. The first thing I made was a breakfast bagel with sausage, egg, cheese, and SAB. It was awesome. Finding other uses will be fun. I have made Pork chops with a SAB glaze, toast, I even made a smoked apple butter bundt cake. It was fantastic, but you really couldn’t taste the smoke.