Last summer I wrote about the miracle that is smoked cream cheese. Aside from being a delicious appetizer that can be seasoned a number of ways, these bricks of cream cheese are a smart way to use up any free real estate you have on your smoker while you’re preparing meat and other foods (you don’t want to waste any of that precious smoke!). This year, I took smoked cream cheese to a whole new level by smoking some sweet onions alongside it. The result? Some of the best onion dip I’ve ever had.
The smokiness, while present in the end product, isn’t overwhelming, and it adds a complex flavor to the dip that makes it downright irresistible. Adding a tiny pinch of MSG, just barely enough to taste, will keep everyone coming back for more, even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what makes it so good. The onions add a mildly crisp texture and a contrasting sweetness to the rest of the ingredients, most of which are probably in your pantry right now.
I brought this dip to a recent family gathering and I’ve never seen my father eat so much of my cooking in one sitting. He suggested I start a business selling my smoked onion dip, and since he’s a pretty picky eater, I’ll take that as a sign he liked it. Who knows? Maybe this is the formula that’ll get me rich. Too bad I’m about to give away the secret recipe.
Smoked Onion Dip
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced into thick rings
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 (8-oz.) brick of cream cheese
- 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 8 oz. sour cream
- Pinch of MSG (such as Accent or Ajinomoto brand)
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Set your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
While smoker is preheating, in a large bowl, toss the onion slices in vegetable oil and kosher salt until evenly coated. Place the slices on a sheet of aluminum foil and fold up the sides, creating a shallow wall around your onions.
Put the cream cheese on a separate sheet of aluminum foil and fold up the sides the same way as before. Using a knife, roughly slash the surface of the cream cheese in diagonal lines. Sprinkle black pepper and garlic powder evenly over the top.
When the smoker has reached the proper temperature, transfer the cream cheese and onions (still in their foil baskets) to the smoker. Smoke for two hours.
Remove the cream cheese and onions from the smoker and allow them to cool for 20 minutes. Once they’re cooled, dice the onions and transfer to a large bowl with the smoked cream cheese, sour cream, MSG, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Using an electric whisk or a wooden spatula, mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Chill mixture in refrigerator for at least one hour so the flavors can come together. Remove from fridge just before serving. Serve with your favorite crackers or potato chips.