Buy a stovetop smoker?
April 26, 2005 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Where I live, I can't use a regular smoker. So, in order to be able to smoke meats, fish, and such, I am considering buying a stovetop smoker. But I have my doubts.

I'm certain that it won't impart the flavor that a traditional smoker is capable of. But would it be a good enough approximation of that flavor to be worth the investment? Please let me know if you've had any experience of this particular piece of cookware.
posted by lackutrol to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
I've had great luck with Savu smoker bags, which come in mild (for fish) and strong (for duck and meat etc), but I've never used a real smoker so I have nothing to compare it to. Also, if I were smoking stuff in quantity, I think the stovetop smoker would be more cost efficient.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:46 PM on April 26, 2005

There's just no way a stovetop smoker (like one of the Cameron's smokers) will give you the same depth of flavor, and you can only do hot smoking.

However, if you have no alternative, the stovetop smoker does produce nice results, with some practice. It uses special very fine woodchips, and they're easy to overextract, which gives you a sharp burnt flavor instead.
posted by Caviar at 11:07 PM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: Not that anyone's misunderstood, but it occurs to me that I should mention that I am worried about meats being more or less steamed with this device. Also, if anyone has recipes or techniques that work well, please feel free to post them.
posted by lackutrol at 11:19 PM on April 26, 2005

I wouldn't worry about the meats being basically steamed, water pans are often used to control the heat in real smokers and the wet heat helps keep the meat jucier. Things are of course going to be different on a stove where you aren't smoking for 15 hours at a stretch, but it should be fine.
posted by TungstenChef at 5:25 AM on April 27, 2005

Best answer: Christmas before last, I received a Cameron's smoker as a gift. I haven't used it lately. I'll say this: it smokes the HELL out of things. If you follow their directions you'll end up with stuff that tastes, to me, flatly carcinogenic. The taste isn't subtle.

One of these days I'll start experimenting with it to get better results: maybe lower temperatures for longer times, and fewer wood chips. Although you can use a Cameron's smoker to steam things, there's no steam in the regular smoking process.

One pleasant surprise was that it did NOT completely smoke up my apartment. My place smells like I've been cooking stuff, but it isn't too bad.
posted by coelecanth at 7:20 AM on April 27, 2005

I do not have an official stovetop smoker, but I have smoked many things on my stovetop using an improvised smoker. I also have an outdoor smoker, and (for hot-smoked items) get the same results with each.

I began using this recipe for tea-smoked cornish game hens, using my wok (and a lot of aluminum foil) as my smoker. The results were fantastic, and gave me the courage to experiment further. Assuming you turn your stove's exhaust fan on, there is hardly any smoke in the room, and clean-up is a snap. I now regularly smoke fish and small cuts of meat in my wok rather than fire up the outdoor smoker.

So, in short, my answer is skip the investment and smoke in what you've already got. Start with the hen recipe (the meal really is sooo good!), and go from there. Happy smoking!
posted by ewagoner at 7:41 AM on April 27, 2005

I'll second ewagoner on trying your wok. I made tea smoked chicken once that way that was tremendous. (Thanks for the reminder - I have to do that again.) Just make sure you generously line the top with tin foil to trap the smoke inside. And you might have to weight the top.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:23 AM on April 27, 2005

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