Last weekend we came across a recipe online for a smoked onion dip. We love onions, and we
obviously love the flavor of smoke. So, we looked into it, only to be drastically disappointed. The flavor of smoke was added to the dish by the use of liquid smoke, a dastardly product that true barbecue aficionados avoid like the plague.
First of all, it can be very bitter. Secondly, you might as well admit you have no idea how to impart the lovely flavor of smoke into the food you are preparing, which by definition means you do not know how to barbecue. As a disclaimer I apologize to any reader who may be employed in a liquid smoke factory, but when it comes to barbecue, I have to tell the truth.
So by now, you are probably wondering why I would write a column about something this was utterly disappointing. It is because there is a very happy ending to this story.
I smoked the onions with real hickory and the end result was utterly and unbelievably delicious. We served it as a dipping sauce for a beer can chicken quesadilla and it was a real hit. Since then we have tried it on pulled pork, as a dip for pork rinds and potato chips and as a topping for vanilla ice cream. OK, you busted me. Not on ice cream. That was a bit of an exaggeration.
Here is how you do it. We set up the grill for indirect heat and put on our beer can chickens. When the chickens were 50 percent done, we placed two large vidalia onions that we skinned and halved on the grill opposite the coals. The coals need to have some hickory chips in them from the beginning to impart that smoky flavor.