We have a tradition of making party mix around the holidays, and baking it over wood and charcoal really kicks the flavor up a few notches! Instead of our usual recipe with cheese puffs and pretzels, I thought it would be fun to experiment with a sweeter profile, so I added some M&M’s. It certainly is a hit at our house.
Mixing the dry ingredients
To get started, mix the following in a bowl:
In a small kettle, make your sauce:
Melt the butter and mix it with the other sauce ingredients. You can substitute the last two items with your favorite seasonings. The Meadow Creek rub is pretty salty, so if you swap it out with a rub that’s low in salt, you might want to add some regular salt or even seasoned salt.
Pour the sauce over your dry mixture and stir it well. There should be enough butter to coat all the cereal. Dump the mix into a 9×13-inch aluminum pan.
On the grill
Lid on with vent on the pan side
For this recipe, I used my Weber kettle grill, fired with 100% hardwood lump charcoal on the one side and a chunk of apple wood. I set the pan on the opposite side with the lid turned so the vent was directly above the pan. You can use a regular smoker, such as an offset, and it will work just fine.
Besides giving the mix a smoke flavor, you want to bake the sauce into the cereal. At 225–250 degrees F, it will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours. On my Weber kettle, I used a bit too much charcoal, and the grill ran at 400 degrees, so 45 minutes was almost too much. But who doesn’t like lots of tiny, crunchy, savory Cheerios?
The time is not critical, but you want to kiss it with smoke and heat it enough to crisp the cereal. If you’re cooking at higher temperatures, stir the mix every 15 minutes; at the lower temperature, every 30 minutes should be enough.
After you take the mix off the smoker, let it cool for fifteen minutes and add 1 cup of M&M’s. If you add them straight off the smoker, the candy will melt and split.
Tip: If you’re making this for Valentine’s day or a date night snack, use the red and pink M&M’s.
Try freezing some party mix in an air-tight container or in a vacuum sealed bag. I think it tastes better after a couple of weeks in the freezer, because the flavor has more time to mix.
This recipe first appeared in Issue 41 of StoryQue magazine.
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