Appetizers and Drinks, Grilling
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Smoke Roasted Aioli

I learned how to make aioli in Paris, in a class with Susan Hermann Loomis. She taught us to pound garlic in a mortar and pestle, stir in the eggs, and then slowly, ever so slowly, drip in the oil. The aioli was   awesome with fresh vegetables, and I vowed to make it as soon as I got home.

Of course, once I got home, I took the easy way out. I used a food processor instead of endlessly pounding with a mortar and pestle. The results were not good – a slap in the face of sharp, raw garlic, followed by a hint of bitter. I set the recipe aside, to try again someday.

Someday turned into years. This year, there was a surge of interest in food processor mayonnaise. Bittman did it, then Kenji Alt made a small batch with a stick blender. I thought it was time to resurrect the recipe, but I kept remembering the bitter garlic.

Then I saw Jamie Purviance make smoke aioli by smoke-roasting garlic on the grill, and mixing it with jarred mayonnaise. smoked. Smoke-roasted garlic! That’s was it, the missing piece to my recipe.
*And, hey, you know me, any excuse to add a grilling component to a recipe…

I needed to add a lot more of the grill-roasted garlic, but the results were perfect – garlicky, sweet, with a hint of smoke.

Looking for the best mayonnaise you’ve ever had? The perfect dip for your next grilling party? Make your own garlicky aioli.

Recipe: Smoke Roasted Aioli

Adapted From:

Susan Hermann Loomis Cooking at Home On Rue Tatin
Mark Bittman Food Processor Mayonnaise []
Jamie Purviance Weber’s Smoke

Cooking time: 45 minutes


  • Aluminum Foil
  • 2 cups wood chips (gas grill) or fist sized chunk wood (charcoal grill)
  • Food Processor


Smoke roasted garlic

  • 1 medium head garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 8 cloves of smoke roasted garlic (about half the head)
  • 3 egg yolks (preferably from pasteurized eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)

Suggested Accompaniments:

  • crunchy vegetables cut into sticks or bite sized pieces
  • grilled potato or sweet potato wedges
  • pita bread wedges
  • potato chips (my guilty pleasure)


1. Prep the garlic:
Cut the top third off the head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Wrap the bottom of the head of garlic in aluminum foil, leaving the cut cloves exposed.

2. Smoke roast the garlic:
Preheat the grill, then set up for cooking on indirect medium-low heat (300°F). (For my grill, this means my smoking burner and one burner on the other side of the grill at medium, and all the other burners off.) Add the smoking wood to the grill and wait for it to start smoking, about five minutes. Once you see smoke, put the foil-wrapped garlic on the grill, near the smoke but not directly over the heat. Close the lid and cook until the exposed garlic cloves are golden and the whole head is soft, about 45 minutes.

3. Make the aoli:
Let the garlic cool down for a couple of minutes, then squeeze the cloves out of the head of smoke-roasted garlic. Put 8 cloves in the food processor, and save the rest for another recipe. Add the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and salt to the food processor. Turn on the processor and slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil. (If your food processor has a hole in the pusher, pour the oil into the pusher and let it drip into the processor work bowl.) The aioli is done when all the oil is emulsified.


  • This is the best vegetable or chip dip ever. Think of “french onion dip” on steroids. I love it with fresh, sweet vegetables from the farmers market – carrots and radishes in particular. But my guilty pleasure is to eat it with potato chips.
  • Aioli is from Provence, so extra virgin olive oil seems like it should be in this recipe, right? Don’t use it! Food processors beat up olive oil too much, releasing bitter flavors from the oil. Use a neutral oil, like grapeseed oil.
  • Super-easy version – Jamie Purviance smoke roasts the garlic, mashes it with a fork, then stirs the mashed garlic into 2 cups of store-bought mayonnaise. Done.
Hole in the pusher tube for your food processor =>
aioli or mayonnaise is easy

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Adapted from:

Susan Hermann Loomis Cooking at Home On Rue Tatin
Mark Bittman Food Processor Mayonnaise []
Jamie Purviance Weber’s Smoke

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Filed under: Appetizers and Drinks, Grilling


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

1 Comment

  1. smoke juice says

    wow..!!! Superb list of delicious dishes. Want to try at home this weekend.. As I actually get hungry by just reading the recipe it self .. Thanks for this post.

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