Smoked Salted Caramel Creme Brulee is the recipe you need to try if you’ve ever been curious about smoked desserts. It’s a perfect combination of sweet, smoky, and salty for a dessert you won’t be able to resist!
Caramel Creme Brulee
Creme brulee is one of my husband’s favorite desserts, and one of the first dishes he ever made for me when we were first married. I had never really eaten creme brulee before then and I remember being SO IMPRESSED at his culinary skills and feeling quite proud of my ability to select a life partner. Obviously, I had exceptional taste in spouses if he could turn out an awesome creme brulee at the tender age of 24.
Since that time, I have enjoyed many a creme brulee, but I had never made my own. The hubby and I were celebrating hitting 100,000 likes on my Facebook page a couple years ago with a night at the Alton Brown live show one night, and I wanted to surprise him with a sweet treat. Creme brulee sounded like the perfect dessert for such an occasion.
Smoked Creme Brulee
I belong to quite a few BBQ groups on FB and found a recipe for smoked creme brulee on one of the forums. I knew Todd would be absolutely stoked if I could pull it off. And what goes better with some good smoky flavor? A little salted caramel! Hence this amazing dessert was born. Behold the goodness of this smoky salted caramel creme brulee!
The rich cream tastes so amazing with the addition of the salted caramel and that little hint of wood smoke flavor just enhances everything for the better. It’s definitely not “smoked,” per se, rather it has just that subtle hint of smoky flavor. The method itself is quite simple, and I want you to know that if I can make this, you can make this! It sounds ambitious to attempt creme brulee on the smoker, but it is easier than pie (seriously, because pie can be hard!)
Tips for Making Caramel Creme Brulee
Before you begin, here are some helpful tips when making caramel creme brulee on your smoker.
- Watch the temperature. Keep an eye on the temperature of your grill. Consistency is key to this recipe. So make sure to watch the temperature of your smoker throughout the baking time. If you can maintain a good, stable temperature on your grill then it will take around 30-35 minutes to cook. Keep in mind that every grill is going to be a little different!
- Use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. Just like cooking your steak to the perfect temp is easier with a thermometer, so is setting a custard. Grab your trusty thermometer (ThermoWorks Mk4 for me), and go to town. You want your creme brulee to come off of the grill when it reaches 165 degrees F.
- Cook until the custard is just set. Along with watching your temperature in the smoker, another important thing is to watch your creme brulee. You want your custard to be set, but still just a little wobbly. This makes for that perfect texture that practically melts in your mouth.
I think you’re ready to dive in! Make sure to leave a comment below once you’ve tried this recipe. I think you’re gonna love it!
More Caramel Dessert Recipes
Check out these other tasty caramel recipes from Hey Grill Hey!
- Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp with Salted Bourbon Caramel
- Cayenne Caramels with a Pretzel Bacon Crust
- Dark Chocolate Caramel Brownies with Bacon Salt
Caramel Creme Brulee Recipe
Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own caramel creme brulee on the smoker at home. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying masterclasses, podcasts, and so much more.
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Smoky Salted Caramel Creme Brulee
- 2 Tablespoons super fine sugar (for topping the creme brulee)
Salted Caramel Custard
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- ⅔ cup super fine sugar ((not powdered sugar, can be found in the baking aisle))
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 5 egg yolks
- Preheat the smoker. Preheat your pellet grill (or other indirect smoker) to 325 degrees F.
- Make the vanilla cream. Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise down the center and remove the seeds. Put all of the seeds and the pod in with the cream. Heat the cream over medium heat until it just comes to a boil (watch so it doesn't boil over). Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let set for 10 minutes so the vanilla can infuse the cream.
- Make the caramel. While the cream infuses, pour the 2/3 cup super fine sugar in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to HIGH and watch carefully as the sugar melts. Turn the pan around, swirling the melted caramel with the unmelted sugar (but don't stir) until all of the sugar is melted and the caramel is a nice amber color. Turn off the heat and sprinkle on the salt.
- Combine the caramel and the cream. Remove the vanilla pod from the warm cream, and then carefully pour the cream over the hot caramel. Whisk constantly as you stir, the caramel will bubble up quite a bit and everything will combine.
- Whisk the eggs and caramel cream. In a large heatproof glass bowl crack the eggs and the egg yolks, and whisk until the eggs are just combined. Slowly pour the caramel cream over the eggs in a slow, but steady stream while whisking vigorously. If you pour the cream on too fast or without whisking, you can basically scramble your eggs (you don't want to do that). Strain the mixture over a fine sieve into a large quart measuring pitcher.
- Fill the ramekins with the caramel cream. Place 6 ramekins on a baking sheet. Pour an even amount of the salted caramel cream into each ramekin until they are about 3/4 full. Carefully transfer your baking sheet to the grill and pour enough hot water into the bottom of the baking sheet until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cook the creme brulee. Place the ramekins on the grill grates of the smoker. Close the lid and cook the creme brulee for approximately 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the custard reaches 165 degrees F. The custard should be set but still a little wobbly in the center.
- Cool the custard. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow the custard to cool to room temperature.
- Make the crunchy caramel topping. Dust the tops of each with about a teaspoon of sugar and caramelize with a blow torch. Cool for a few minutes before garnishing with fresh berries and serving.
**This post was originally published in April 2017. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.