Every now and then, I find myself face to face with an idea for a food that I just can't stop thinking about. Several months ago I was at Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe in Rochester, MN grabbing some goodies and saw in their deli case, smoked hard boiled eggs. As soon as I saw them I knew what had to be done, I needed to make deviled eggs with smoked hard boiled eggs. I bought a couple of the eggs just to try, because I could have been way off and smoked eggs might have been terrible. The eggs were delicious and as I sat in the car driving to work all I could think about was how could I smoke eggs and make smoked deviled eggs.
A couple of months passed and I was still thinking about those smoked eggs. I don't own a regular smoker I just have a stove top smoker and it works completely different than a regular smoker. I didn't figure that the eggs would need to be cooked for a long period of time but they would need a sufficient amount of time to give them a great smoke flavor. When I finally got around to making the smoked hard boiled eggs, I hard boiled them as you would any other egg. I made a simple brine of water, salt, sugar and a couple of bay leaves and brined them for 24 hours. After the brine I put them all in my stove top smoker and added hickory flakes to the smoker and placed the smoker on the stove top, after the wood started to smoke I put the whole smoker in the oven on its lowest setting, around 170 degrees. Every 45 minutes I would add another tablespoon of hickory flakes, bring it back to a smoke and put it back in the oven. I did this for three hours until the eggs were a beautiful brown color. I let the eggs cool for about an hour and tried one of them. It tasted just like the egg I had at the butcher shop.
The next step was to turn these smoked eggs into deviled eggs. Some might ask, why would you mess with something that was already pretty awesome. Deviled eggs don't really need a lot of help to make them better. There might be a few purists out there who think this is going overboard, and they might be right, but I had to try it at least once. So I cut all the eggs in half and took out all the yolks and then was stuck, I didn't know what I wanted to do with the filling. I am sure I could have just used any deviled egg recipe and been happy with the results but I wanted to go overboard and so I did. I crisped up some pancetta and mixed in the rendered fat and the pancetta and also stirred in some black pepper, mayo, ancho chili powder and just for shits and giggles some sriracha. I piped the filling into the eggs and gave them all a sprinkle of chipotle powder.
I have eaten a lot of deviled eggs in my life, both of my grandmothers make fabulous deviled eggs. I have eaten them at every family holiday gathering and sunday brunch and picnic for 30 plus years but I can honestly say that this was the best deviled egg I have ever had. The eggs were smoky and salty and the filling was as creamy and smooth as any I have ever had, with little crunchy smoky pieces of pancetta and just a little heat from the chili powder and sriracha. I for one really enjoyed them, I served them at a party I had and they went pretty quickly. I am sure some people didn't enjoy them as much as I did, and thats OK we all have different tastes and just because I enjoyed them doesn't mean everyone will. I would love to try them again with confit'd duck gizzards, of course that might be going to far.