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How to Make Smoked Cabbage

Learn everything you need to know about how to make Smoked Cabbage!

Whether you are using a Traeger, Camp Chef, or Pit Boss pellet grill, an electric smoker like a Masterbuilt, or just a Weber propane grill, we’ve got you covered. 

smoked cabbage in a pellet grill

We love smoking vegetables like brussel sprouts, green beans, and asparagus, because smoking just brings out great new flavors in many of these vegetables.

We wanted to make a classic side to go with our smoked corned beef, so we decided to make smoked cabbage as well, and it turned out delicious!

We slice the cabbage into quarters, season all the nooks and crannies with a garlicky olive oil, salt, and pepper, and smoke it low and slow until it’s toasty and practically falling apart.

Smoking cabbage is so easy and tasty we doubt you’ll ever cook it another way after trying this!

 

How to Prepare Cabbage for Smoking

a whole head of cabbage

You will need to wash, peel, and slice your cabbage before seasoning and smoking it.

Don’t worry, this part is easy, but make sure you slice in the right direction so that the cabbage doesn’t fall apart on the smoker!

 

Remove the Outer Skins and Rinse

removing the outer leaves from a head of cabbage

You’ll want to remove the very outer skins of the cabbage first.

These loose, greener pieces are a bit too fibrous too eat and will likely just burn in the smoker anyways.

Just cut or rip them off at the stem where they attach.

a whole head of cabbage with the outer leaves removed

Next give the cabbage a good rinse under cold running water and get off any loose pieces of dirt that may have been hanging out under those outer leaves.

 

Slice the Cabbage into Quarters

slicing a cabbage in half

Next we want to cut the cabbage into quarters for the smoker.

This will allow us to season the insides of the cabbage in all the nooks and crannies without needing to chop the cabbage up completely and use a tray.

Doing it this way allows us to more easily move the cabbage around the grill or smoker with BBQ tongs without taking up a lot of room.

Make sure to slice THRU the WHITE STEM!

This will keep the cabbage falling apart on the grill or smoker.

Do not remove any part of the stem.

slicing a halved cabbage into quarters

Slice once with a good sharp carving or slicing knife through the stem to cut the head of cabbage in half, then cut again through the stem to cut each half into quarters.

Now, turn the cabbage quarters facing up to season them.

raw sliced cabbage

 

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Best Seasonings for Smoked Cabbage

Knowing that the cabbage is going to likely be a side dish for a rock star entree like corned beef or a nice beef roast, we wanted to keep the seasonings simple but delicious.

pouring olive oil in a small bowl

First, whisk the following ingredients together in a small bowl:

  • About 3 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder

Don’t add any salt just yet.

whisking olive oil with garlic and onion powder

We like to salt separately from any flavored oils we brush on so we can better control how much salt we are actually using.

Brush on the garlic and onion flavored olive oil generously, with a good silicone basting brush like this one, making sure to try and get into all the little crevices of each piece.

basting olive oil on cabbage to smoke

Make sure to brush the backsides too.

Next, sprinkle some kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper on the oiled up cabbage quarters making sure to season all sides of each piece.

seasoned cabbage before smoking

If you want to use a quick store bought rub to season your smoked cabbage, you can do that as well.

We would opt for something straightforward and savory like Bad Byron’s Butt Rub (contains no sugar), or use a lemon pepper rub such as this one from Lawry’s.

 

Best Woods for Smoked Cabbage

a bag of hickory wood pellets

Cabbage, being a fairly fibrous vegetable like brussel sprouts or cauliflower, will hold up to stronger flavored smoking woods than say a delicate piece of mahi mahi or even a chicken breast.

So mild fruitwoods such as apple and cherry are fine, and will give you a subtle smoke flavor on your smoked cabbage, but you can also opt for a stronger flavor such as alder or hickory.

We especially like the distinctive flavor of these ZGrills hickory pellets on our smoked vegetables, but be careful if you are smoking your cabbage alongside a protein.

Always choose your wood based on what pairs best with the protein first.

 

Best Times and Temperatures for Smoked Cabbage

putting cabbage in a smoker

 

What Temperature Should you Smoke Cabbage?

We wanted to smoke our cabbage long enough for it to really get tender and absorb some good smoky flavor on the grill.

So we set up our pellet grill for 230°F and found it was just the right temperature to get the cabbage gently browned and tender without burning the outside leaves.

 

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Cabbage?

cabbage smoking in a smoker

We let our smoked cabbage slowly cook for about 2 Hours at 230°F.

We made sure to rotate and flip every 30 minutes or so for even cooking.

Just like we do with our smoked sweet potatoes, we continued to re-baste the cabbage with garlic as the leaves relaxed and opened up more while smoking.

smoking cabbage on a pellet grill

Now, if you are pressed for time, you could chop up the raw cabbage into a foil pan, season it, and smoke that way.

It will cook faster than the cabbage quarters will.

However we found quartering them to result in a nice presentation and they were easier to move around the grill without taking up too much space.

 

Setting up your Grill or Smoker for Smoked Cabbage

smoked cabbage in a smoker

New to smoking?

Check out our Complete List of the Best Entry Level Smokers for Beginners Here.

You’ll need to set up your grill or smoker a little different depending on whether you are using a grill, smoker, or a pellet grill like a Traeger or Pit Boss.

Here are the best instructions for setting up different types of grills and smokers to make smoked cabbage so go ahead and skip down to the type you are using!

 

Smoked Cabbage in a Vertical or Offset Charcoal Smoker

Weber 22-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker

Weber Smokey Mountain on Amazon

Fill your firebox or lower charcoal basin with about a chimney’s worth of unlit charcoal and create a small hollowed out depression in the center where you can add your lit briquets.

If your smoker comes with a water pan, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, go ahead and fill it.

Light a charcoal chimney with just a handful of briquets and wait about 15 minutes for them to fully ignite.

Once lit, add the briquets to the center depression you created.

Keep the dampers about 1/2 way to 3/4 open until the temperature is in the 200°F range.

Add 1 chunk of smoking wood once the smoker is up to temperature, put the cabbage in the smoker.

Then slowly close down the top and bottom dampers to about 1/3-1/4 open until you are maintaining a temperature of 230°F.

Smoke the cabbage for about 2 hours, or until the center is tender when pierced with a fork, rotating and flipping onto all sides every 30 minutes or so to cook evenly.

Want to see a list of our FAVORITE Vertical Smokers for 2022?  Check it out here!

 

Smoked Cabbage in Propane and Electric Smokers

a masterbuilt electric smoker with the door closed full of smoke and a pork butt

Propane and electric options are some of the easiest smokers for beginners to start with.

Debating whether to buy a propane or electric smoker?  Check out our COMPLETE Comparison Guide HERE.

 

For Propane: Open your gas valve and light the bottom burner. Adjust it to keep the temperature constant at 230° F.

Add wood chips to your smoking wood tray and once the smoker is up to temperature, put the seasoned cabbage quarters in the smoker.

Adjust the propane valve to continue maintaining a temperature of 230°F.

Smoke the cabbage for about 2 hours, or until the center is tender when pierced with a fork, rotating and flipping onto all sides every 30 minutes or so to cook evenly.

Need a refresher? Check our our Complete Guide to How to Use a Propane Smoker HERE.

 

For Electric: Plug your electric smoker in, open the vents, and turn the temperature to 230° F.

While it comes up to temperature, add smoking wood chips, not pellets, to the smoking wood tray.

Fill the water tray if there is one.

Place your seasoned cabbage on the uppermost racks and close the door.

You will need to refill the wood chips every 30 minutes or so as they smolder out in the chip loader, which will end up being about 3 times during the 2 hour cook.

Smoke the cabbage for about 2 hours, or until the center is tender when pierced with a fork, rotating and flipping onto all sides every 30 minutes or so to cook evenly.

Refilling wood chips is one of the major drawbacks, besides cooking area and temperature range, of electric smokers compared to pellet grills like Traegers and Pit Bosses.

However, we recently found a great solution.

If you are tired of having to reload fresh wood chips into your electric smoker, especially on longer cooks like pork butt and brisket, then check out this Masterbuilt Automatic Slow Smoker Attachment.

It basically burns new fresh wood chips at a constant rate, much like how a pellet grill works, freeing you up to do other things while getting your food nice and smokey!

 

Smoked Cabbage on a Pellet Grill

a pit boss pellet grill making white smoke preheating

Fill the pellet hopper with your choice of smoking wood pellets.

Plug in the pellet grill, let it run through its start up process, and then turn the temperature to 230°F.

Make sure you have the flame broiler CLOSED so that the pellet grill is set up for INDIRECT cooking.

For instance, on Pit Boss and Camp Chef pellet grills there is a special lever to pull to switch from DIRECT to INDIRECT heat.

the direct heat flame on a pit boss pellet grill

You want the flame broiler CLOSED for INDIRECT heat.

When the pellet grill has come up to temperature, place your seasoned cabbage in the cooking chamber and close the lid.

Smoke the cabbage for about 2 hours, or until the center is tender when pierced with a fork, rotating and flipping onto all sides every 30 minutes or so to cook evenly.

Never used a pellet grill before?  Read our Ultimate Guide to Pellet Grills to learn why they are so easy and how to set one up for success every time.

Here is also a list of our Favorite Pellet Grills Priced UNDER $500

 

Smoked Cabbage on a Gas Grill

Weber 45010001 Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Liquid Propane Grill, Black

Check out this Weber Grill on Amazon

On a gas grill you will likely need to use a smoker box filled with wood chips, or a pellet tube smoker filled with wood pellets.

Think you need a fancy smoker to smoke food at home? 

Think again.

Great smoked food can be made right on your current gas grill.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Smoking on a Gas Grill HERE.

If you are unfamiliar with these gas grill smoking devices mentioned above, no worries, we have you covered!

Read Everything You Need to Know about how to use Smoker Boxes here, and see a selection of our Favorite Pellet Tube Smokers here.

Or check out this handy comparison between smoker boxes and pellet tube smokers if you can’t decide which is right for you.

In the case of smoked cabbage, we would opt for the pellet smoker tube since we need longer than the 30 minutes one batch of wood chips in a smoker box will last us.

This will save you the hassle of having to refill the smoker box multiple times while smoking the cabbage.

Light up the end of your pellet smoker tube filled with pellets with a good butane torch (you can’t use a regular lighter for pellets) and place it in the grill as well to add smoky flavor while the cabbage cooks.

lighting a pellet smoker tube with a butane torch

Let the pellets ignite for about 5 minutes than blow out the flame and lay the pellet tube smoker down on the grates next to the cabbage and close the lid.

a lit pellet smoker tube making smoke on a grill

Then set up your gas grill for indirect cooking with a single burner lit on one side and plan for your cabbage to be on the other side.

Light just one burner so the temperature stays low in the 230°F range.

Remember, we are smoking the cabbage INDIRECTLY, like an oven, not DIRECTLY over the burners.

Smoke the cabbage for about 2 hours, or until the center is tender when pierced with a fork, rotating and flipping onto all sides every 30 minutes or so to cook evenly.

 

Smoked Cabbage on a Charcoal Grill

Set up your charcoal grill for indirect cooking with a small mound of unlit briquets on one side and plan for your cabbage to be on the other side.

Make a small depression in the mound of unlit briquets where you will dump the lit ones along with the smoking wood.

a charcoal grill set up for indirect smoking

Remember, we are smoking the cabbage INDIRECTLY, like an oven, not DIRECTLY over the coals.

Light a charcoal chimney with just a handful of briquets and wait about 15 minutes for them to fully ignite.

Once lit, add the briquets to the center depression you created.

Keep the dampers about 1/2 way to 3/4 open until the temperature is in the 200°F range.

Add 1 chunk of smoking wood once the grill is up to temperature, put the cabbage on the grill grates opposite of the charcoal.

Then slowly close down the top and bottom dampers to about 1/3-1/4 open until you are maintaining a temperature of about 230°F.

Smoke the cabbage for about 2 hours, or until the center is tender when pierced with a fork, rotating and flipping onto all sides every 30 minutes or so to cook evenly.

 

Best Ways to Serve Smoked Cabbage

smoked cabbage

You can serve the smoked cabbage “as-is”, giving each guest their own smoked cabbage quarter or half of a quarter!  (Cut the stem off first to make it easier to deal with).

Alternatively, you can chop up the quarters and mix them up in a large serving tray or even use the smoked cabbage in a coleslaw.

Make sure to check for salt after chopping and add more if needed.

Smoked Cabbage goes great with obviously corned beef, but also holiday roasts, ham, bratwurst, and even steak!

And if you are looking for some more great vegetable side dishes you can make on the grill or smoker, try our Smoked Brussel Sprouts, Smoked Green Beans, Smoked Broccoli, Smoked Asparagus, Smoked Carrots, and Smoked Cauliflower.

If you want something a little richer, check out our Smoked Mac and Cheese, Smoked Baked Potatoes, Smoked Baked Beans, or our Sweet and Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes!

Enjoy!

 

What Other Food Can I Smoke?

Looking for some more smoky inspiration?

putting unwrapped baby back ribs back on pit boss pellet smoker

So glad you asked.

Check out some of our other great recipes of smoked and grilled food to try out at your next outdoor BBQ!

More Sides and Desserts

 

Pork

 

Beef

 

Seafood

 

Poultry

 

Lamb

smoked cabbage in a pellet grill

Easy Smoked Cabbage

Learn everything you need to know about how to make Smoked Cabbage!
We brush our cabbage with a garlic and onion infused olive oil, then season and smoke low and slow until it is fall apart tender.
Whether you are using a Traeger, Camp Chef, or Pit Boss pellet grill, an electric smoker like a Masterbuilt, or just a Weber propane grill, we’ve got you covered. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Vegetable
Cuisine American, Australian, BBQ, Mediterranean, Smoked, Vegetarian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 250 kcal

Equipment

  • Gas Grill with Smoker Box or Pellet Tube Smoker -OR-
  • Charcoal Grill -OR-
  • Smoker (charcoal, propane, electric, or pellet)
  • Smoking Wood chips, chunks, or pellets preferably alder or hickory
  • Cutting Board
  • Carving Knife
  • Paper Towels
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • Small Whisk
  • Silicone Basting Brush
  • BBQ Tongs

Ingredients
  

  • 1 head Cabbage raw
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil regular, not extra virgin, use more as needed
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Set up the Grill or Smoker

  • Light or turn on your smoker, grill or pellet grill and set up the temperature to 230°F. If using a grill, only light a small amount of charcoal or light one or two burners on one side for indirect cooking
    a pit boss pellet grill making white smoke preheating
  • Add your wood chunks directly to the firebox of a smoker, or use chips in a smoker box, or pellets in a tube smoker or pellet grill.
    pouring pellets into a pit boss pellet grill hopper

Remove the Outer Skins and Slice into Quarters

  • First remove the very outer green leaves of the cabbage by tearing away at the stem on the bottom.
    1 head Cabbage
    removing the outer leaves from a head of cabbage
  • Next give the cabbage a good rinse under cold running water and get off any loose pieces of dirt that may have been hanging out under those outer leaves.
    a whole head of cabbage with the outer leaves removed
  • Next cut the head of cabbage into quarters by slicing thru the white stem on the bottom. Do not cut off the white stem of the cabbage will fall apart.
    slicing a halved cabbage into quarters

Season the Cabbage

  • In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic powder, and onion powder.
    3 Tbsp Olive Oil, ¼ tsp Garlic Powder, ¼ tsp Onion Powder
    whisking olive oil with garlic and onion powder
  • Use a silicone basting brush to baste all sides of each cabbage quarter with the flavored oil, making sure to get into the nooks and crannies as ucha s possible. Keep about 1/3 of the oil set aside for more basting while smoking.
    basting olive oil on cabbage to smoke
  • Next, sprinkle the kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper onto all sides or each cabbage quarter.
    Kosher Salt, Fresh Black Pepper
    seasoned cabbage before smoking

Smoke the Cabbage

  • Once your grill or smoker is up to 230°F and making smoke, place the oiled and seasoned cabbage in the smoker. Place the cabbage on the opposite side of the heat if using a grill so it is cooking indirectly. Close the lid.
    cabbage smoking in a smoker
  • Rotate and flip the cabbage every 30 minutes or so with tongs to cook evenly. Re-baste with more of the flavored olive oil as the cabbage leaves relax and open more.
    smoking cabbage on a pellet grill
  • Smoke the cabbage for roughly 2 hours or until the very center of each cabbage quarter feels tender when pierced with a fork.
    smoked cabbage in a smoker

Serve the Smoked Cabbage

  • Remove the smoked cabbage from the grill or smoker and set aside to cool slightly before serving.
    smoked cabbage
  • Serve whole as a quarter to each guest or cut off the stems, chop up, and serve in a tray. Taste for salt and mix in more if needed after chopping.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal
Keyword cabbage in a smoker, Cabbage on a grill, Camp Chef, corned beef and cabbage, electric smoker, electric smoker cabbage, Grilled Cabbage, grilled vegetables, Masterbuilt, pellet grill, pellet grill cabbage, Pit Boss, Pit Boss Cabbage, Pit Boss Recipes, Pit Boss Smoked Cabbage, smoked cabbage, smoked vegetables, Smoker, smoky cabbage, St. Patrick's Day, traeger, Traeger Cabbage, Traeger Recipes, Traeger Smoked Cabbage, vegetable
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