I like to smoke almonds pretty frequently especially since they are a snack that fits into my low carb lifestyle. I buy my bulk nuts at Natural Grocers and the other day while checking out the bulk section I saw a bag of raw Sunflower Seed Kernels. They were only $1.99 for a one pound package. So I grabbed a bag for my next smoked snack food cook.
Olive oil and a splash of bourbon whiskey are often a part of my almond prep but I wasn’t sure how the tiny, softer sunflower kernels would work with liquid. I was afraid I might end up with more of a batter than individual seeds. In the end I stuck with a smaller splash of whiskey than I would normally use. I also used my base seasonings including sea salt, coarse black pepper and McCormicks Roasted Garlic seasoning.
Smoked Sunflower Seed Kernels Process
I didn’t want to waste the whole pound of kernels if this didn’t work so I only used half the bag. I waited till after my main cook of chicken and a fattie before I prepped the sunflower kernels. I purposely wait till my fire has burnt down with a much lower temperature than I cook on. I don’t use a thermometer for air temperature, I just go by touch. Once I felt the temp was good to go I continued with the prep.
I put the seeds in a glass bowl that I use for my almonds its just the right size for mixing. If you hang around here long enough you will realize I don’t measure much. I poured the sea salt, coarse black pepper and roasted garlic seasoning in and stirred the seeds. After each ingredient I stir and keep adding seasonings until it tastes about right by finger sample.
My usual process starts with the olive oil or whiskey before the seasonings but I just wasn’t sure about these sunflower seeds. After I had the dry mix where I wanted it I then poured in a small splash of Jim Beam Devil’s Cut whiskey and gave it a final stir. I placed a sheet of oil in the smoker and poured out the sunflower kernels on the sheet spreading them out with a spoon. For almonds I poke some holes in the foil to allow more smoke to flow through the nuts. The sunflower kernels are too small so I did not poke any holes in the foil.
I closed the lid on the PBC and went back inside. I checked on the seeds ten minutes later giving them another stir around the foil. After another ten minutes the seeds were pretty close to ready. I stirred them once more and closed the lid. Five minutes later I opened the lid and scooped out a few seeds in the spoon. The crunch and chew was right where I wanted it to be. I folded the foil in, being careful not to let any of the tiny suckers slip out.
After they cooled I grabbed a pinch and popped them in my mouth. I was very happy with the way they turned out. I could taste the smoke and all of the seasonings. They had just the right amount of crunch and chew. Now I wished I had smoked the whole bag.
You probably didn’t expect to read about Sunflower Seed Kernels on a BBQ Blog but here you are. There are so many things I love about Barbecue and Grilling including non traditional food cooked outdoors over fire. I would encourage you to experiment and explore with other foods while grilling and smoking. You just might surprise yourself with a new indulgence you will enjoy eating and cooking.