Smoked cream cheese with grilled pineapple-pepper relish
“In America, smoked cream cheese is the hit of 2022! We serve it with a delicious grilled pineapple-pepper relish.”
The BBQ scene has its own trends and summer hits that spread like wildfire from backyard to backyard. In the Netherlands we had the ‘make your own grill sausage trend’ and many people have already stuck their teeth into a ‘chicken thigh cake’. In America, smoked cream cheese is the hit of the moment, so it should definitely not be missing here. Because even though the preparation is really ‘peanuts’, eating it will tempt you to imitate the famous when Harry with Sally movie scene in that diner on Manhattan. Especially with the grilled pineapple-pepper relish I came up with for you to accompany it.
(for 4-6 people)
Smoked cream cheese with grilled pineapple-pepper relish:
- 21 oz cream cheese (mon chou or Philadelphia)
- 3 tbsp BBQ rub (such as Smokey’s Pig Powder)
- Grilled pineapple relish
- ½ pineapple, peeled
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ habanero pepper, finely chopped
- 1 fresh red pepper, finely chopped
- 2 peppercorns
- 2 star anise
- 2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp dark brown caster sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- BBQ with lid for direct grilling or smoker
- 1 smoking wood board
- 2 to 3 cherry smoke wood chunks (smoking wood blocks of approx. 5 x 5 cm)
How to make:
Prep: 15 minutes
cooking time: Approximately 4.5 hours
Place the cream cheese in a bowl and stir a little. Shape it into a large ball with your hands. Place two layers of plastic wrap on your workbench and place the ball of cream cheese on top. Fold the foil over the cream cheese and make a rectangle of about 2 cm thick with your hands. Place the cream cheese in the freezer for about 45 minutes to set.
Prepare a BBQ for direct grilling and heat it until a temperature of 392°F is reached. Cut the pineapple into 1 cm thick slices and grill them until they have nice grill marks and start to get soft. Remove the pineapple from the grill.
Convert the BBQ to indirect grilling and reduce the temperature to 230 °F. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan and sauté red onion, chopped chilies, allspice granules and star anise in it.
Dice the grilled pineapple and add it, along with the stem ginger, brown caster sugar and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat until the sugar has dissolved and is slightly caramelized. Set aside. Remove the cream cheese from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and place on a smoking board. Sprinkle with the BBQ rub and, using a small knife, make shallow cuts in the ribbed cream cheese.
Add the smoking wood to the glowing coals and place the smoking board with the cream cheese in the BBQ. Smoke for approximately 2 hours until the cream cheese has absorbed the smoke well and the rub is nicely colored. Spoon the lukewarm grilled pineapple-pepper relish over the smoked cream cheese and serve with crackers. Finger licking good!