PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 8 to 10 minutes per batch
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple or Cherry
SERVES: Makes 36 cookies
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/4 cup strained bacon fat
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup light molasses (or dark, if that's what you have)
2 cups flour, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cooked bacon, finely chopped into small bits
2/3 cup turbinado (raw) sugar, or more granulated sugar
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (If you don't have parchment paper, that's okay: Just put the cookies directly on the cookie sheet. There is no need to grease it.)
In a mixing bowl, cream the vegetable shortening, bacon fat, and sugar with a wooden spoon. (You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer if you prefer. It's easier.)
Add the egg and molasses, and beat until smooth.
Onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Bring up the edges of the paper and tip the dry ingredients into the sugar and molasses mixture.
Add the bacon bits. Mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined.
Pinch off a small ball of dough and roll it between your palms. If it is too sticky to roll, add just a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If the dough seems too dry, add a little milk, cold coffee, or water.
Put the turbinado sugar in a resealable plastic bag or large bowl. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls roughly the size of walnuts. Drop a few at a time into the sugar and coat on all sides.
Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass. (If you can only fit one cookie sheet on your Traeger at one time, cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap and shape the cookies just before baking.)
When ready to bake, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange the cookie sheet on the grill grate and bake the cookies until they have spread slightly, are nicely browned, and have cracked on top, about 10 minutes. (Check on them after 8 minutes.)
For a chewier cookie, rap the cookie sheet on the grill grate halfway through the baking time. With a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Enjoy with an ice-cold glass of milk.