Origin: Greek, European
Method: Grill, Smoker, or OvenJump to Recipe
Smoked Moussaka is one of our favorite dishes to use up some of our eggplants from our garden each summer. This rich eggplant lasagna has layers of minced ground beef and lamb between grilled eggplant and is topped with a creamy egg and feta custard. Our version then cooks this dish in our smoker for an extra layer of smoky goodness. While there are other fantastic variations of this dish throughout the Balkans and the Middle East, our version is based on the classic Greek version of this fantastic dish.
Making the Smoked Moussaka
To make the moussaka you will need to prepare 3 layers for the finished dish: the custard layer, the meat layer, and the grilled eggplant. You will then assemble the moussaka and finish it on your smoker or in your oven.
Prepare the Custard Sauce
To make the custard sauce for the Smoked Moussaka you will need plain Greek Yogurt, feta cheese crumbles, crème fraiche, eggs, flour, and nutmeg.
You want to use Greek yogurt for this dish. Greek yogurt is a more concentrated yogurt that has been strained to remove excess whey and liquid from the yogurt. If you can't find crème fraiche, you can substitute sour cream for this recipe.
to make the custard layer combine the yogurt, crème fraiche, feta and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl and mix well.
In a seperate small bowl, add the flour to the beaten eggs and mix to combine.
Finally, combine the egg mixture and the yogurt mixture and stir well to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until needed.
Prepare and Grill the Eggplant
Prepare your grill or smoker by preheating it to 350 degrees.
Remove the ends from the eggplant and then, using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the eggplant lengthwise. About a ¼ inch thick tends to work well so the eggplant is pretty thin but still thick enough to hold up to the grilling.
For those interested in a quality mandolin, the Swissmar Borner V-Slicer has been the best and longest lasting mandolin that we have ever owned.
Lightly oil the grates and apply a thin layer of oil to the slices of eggplant. Grill the eggplant for about 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through. This also helps to cook off a bit of the eggplants moisture reducing their bitterness and preventing them from getting mushy in the Smoked Moussaka.
Next, grease a 9x13 pan or large cast iron pan. Place the cooked eggplant in an even layer on the bottom, overlapping slightly if necessary.
Making the Meat Sauce for the Smoked Moussaka
To make the meat sauce you will need:
- 1 pound Ground beef or lamb
- 1 Yellow Onion, diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
- ½ teaspoon each of Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper (or Aleppo Pepper)
- ½ cup Red Wine
- 14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes, Preferably Fire Roasted
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- ¾ cup Beef Broth
As mentioned you can use beef or lamb for the Smoked Moussaka. We typically do a 50/50 mixture of both, but feel free to change your ratios to fit your tastes.
If you have extra ground lamb, then be sure to give our Lebanese Baked Kibbeh: Kibbeh Bil Sanieh, Korean Style Beef and Lamb Lettuce Wraps, or Cevapi-Balkan Style Kebobs, with Ajvar a try.
To make the meat sauce heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meat, onion, and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and the meat is cooked through. Next, add in all of the spices, salt, and sugar and stir to combine. Add in the diced tomatoes with the liquid, red wine, and beef broth. Stir to combine.
Bring the meat mixture to a brief boil then reduce heat to low and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. This step typically takes 45 minutes to an hour, so it is a good time to fire up your smoker and, if you did not already, to grill the eggplant.
When most of the moisture is cooked off from the meat mixture, remove from the heat and reserve until you have completed making the other layers.
Smoking and Finishing the Smoked Moussaka
When ready to cook, layer the meat mixture on top of the grilled eggplant layer.
Next, top the meat mixture with the cheese mixture and spread evenly on top.
Sprinkle the top of the moussaka with the breadcrumbs.
Bake/smoke the moussaka, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. If using a pellet smoker or oven, you can leave uncovered the whole time. If using a charcoal or wood burning smoker you may choose to cover half way through cooking to prevent it from taking on too much smoke flavor.
Remove from the oven/smoker and let sit for about 5 minutes before dividing and serving.
If desired, top with a little more crumbled feta and some fresh oregano.
Serve warm and enjoy!
If you want to try more of our lasagna and layered dishes then be sure to check out our Florentine Style Salmon Lasagna, or our Smoked Lasagna.
For more Greek inspired recipes give our Grilled Souvlaki (Greek Chicken Skewers) a try.
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- 9x13 pan or large cast iron pan
- Grill, Smoker, or Oven
- 2 Eggplants Sliced Lengthwise ¼ inch thick
- ⅓ cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
- 1 pound Ground beef or lamb
- 1 Yellow Onion diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 Tab Fresh Oregano
- ½ tea Cinnamon
- ½ tea Black Pepper
- ½ tea Crushed Red Pepper or Allepo
- ½ cup Red Wine
- 14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes Preferably Fire Roasted
- 1 tea Sugar
- ¾ cup Beef Broth
- ¾ cup Greek Yogurt
- 3 Eggs beaten
- ½ cup Creme Fraiche
- 4 oz Crumbled Seasoned Feta
- 1 Tab Flour
- ¼ tea Nutmeg
- Heat your grill or smoker to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the grates and grill the eggplant for about 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through and after cooking off some of their moisture.
- Grease a 9x13 pan and place the cooked eggplant in an even layer on the bottom, overlapping slightly if necessary.
- In a large skillet combine the meat, onion, and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and the meat is cooked through.
- Add in all of the spices, salt, and sugar and stir to combine.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, with liquid, red wine, and beef broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. This step typically takes 45 minutes to an hour, so it is a good time to fire up your smoker if you did not already do so to grill the eggplant.
- When most of the moisture is cooked off, layer the meat mixture on top of the eggplant in the 9x13 dish
- Combine the yogurt, creme fraiche, feta and nutmeg and mix well.
- Add the flour to the beaten eggs and stir to combine.
- Add the egg mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir well to combine, then cover and place in the fridge until needed.
- When ready to cook, top the meat mixture with the cheese mixture and spread evenly on top.
- Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake/smoke the moussaka, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. If using a pellet smoker or oven you can leave uncovered the whole time. If using a charcoal or wood burning smoker you may choose to cover half way through cooking to prevent it from taking on too much smoke flavor.
- Remove from the oven/smoker and let sit for about 5 minutes before dividing and serving.
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