Vanilla Ice Cream Pairs Perfectly With Smoked Brisket

Whether you're a fan of the unusual combination or not, you've likely heard the buzz about one surprising ice cream topping that many people swear by: a generous drizzle of olive oil. However, here's something you've likely never considered serving alongside your vanilla ice cream before — smoked brisket.

Yes, the same brisket you heap on your plate at your favorite BBQ spot. While it seems unusual at first thought, just consider the number of desserts made better with bacon. Smoked brisket contains a lot of the same flavor notes, so could it be a match made in heaven? We reached out to an expert to find out.

"I had never personally thought about combining the two contrasting flavors of vanilla ice cream and smoked brisket," says Robbie Shoults, celebrity chef and third-generation owner of Bear Creek Smokehouse. "After the question was raised, I couldn't wait to get back to the General Store to try it for myself." He topped a bowl of classic vanilla ice cream with finely diced brisket, creating a sundae of sorts, and determined that the offbeat combination actually works. "It is the perfect blend of sweet, smoky, and savory," Shoults declares. We'd definitely suggest a ratio that favors ice cream to brisket, treating the meat more like a topping as Shoults did. If you're intrigued and want to try it out for yourself, we have a classic smoked brisket recipe that's a great place to start.

Amp up that smoky flavor

Of course, this bold combination of flavors might not be what you reach for each night this summer. Chef Robbie Shoults admits as such, saying, "Would I eat it every day? Probably not. But next time, I'll ask for the barbecue sauce, please!" However, it certainly makes an outside-the-box dessert option for your next gathering — if you think your guests will be open-minded enough to give it a try.

If the combination of smoked brisket and vanilla ice cream has your taste buds singing, but you happen to have regular oven-roasted or slow cooker brisket on hand, fear not! You can introduce smoky flavor notes in another way. Try smoking the heavy cream for your next batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. This lends a mellow but pronounced smokiness to the dessert.

Or, if smoking seems a little too advanced for your culinary skills, you can try adding liquid smoke. However, you'll want to be careful, because some brands are fairly potent, and a little goes a long way. Either way, don't be afraid to experiment.