Friday 27 April 2012

How To Use A Stovetop Smoker

Since the introduction of the stovetop smoker into our home we've used it time and time again, have played around with six different wood chip flavours (both alone and in combinations) and are constantly coming up with new ideas of things to smoke. Not only does it cook great, it gives amazing flavours, is very easy to use and best of all, it's really fun experimenting with it.

Here's a really simple step by step guide with photos to show just how easy it is to use a stovetop smoker.

  • Preheat a hob ring on high
  • Tear a square of tin foil from the roll and fold it in half
  • Place into the bottom of the smoker
  • Take a tablespoon and a half of your chosen wood chips and place in the center of the tin foil
preparing stovetop smoker
As You Can See It's Well Used!
  • Put the drip tray directly on top of the wood chips
  • If you are smoking something that you don't require the cooking juices from (to make a gravy or sauce), line the drip tray with tin foil (this makes cleaning it easier)
  • Place the cooking rack in the drip tray
smoker lined with foil
The Smoker Is Now Ready For Food
  • Put your food onto the rack
how to smoke food
Here We Have Gouda, Apple and Bacon About To Be Smoked
  • Close the lid almost all the way leaving a small gap (a centimetre or less) so you can see when the wood chips start smoking*
  • Place the stovetop smoker onto the preheated hob ring
  • Wait until smoke appears and close the lid fully
  • Lower the heat to medium
  • Smoke for the desired time or until food has cooked through
* if you are cooking something that is large and the smoker lid won't cover, use tin foil to make a tent. The easiest way to do this is to join two sheets of tin foil together by folding the edges to make a seam. This makes it wide enough to fully cover the smoker and its contents. Leave a small corner of the foil open so that you can see when the wood chips start smoking, then fully seal.

It's incredibly simple huh?

If you haven't smoked foods before just wait until the smell fills the air, it's one of the most homely, comforting smells I can think of, just like having a log fire nearby.

If you want to enter the mouth watering world of stovetop smoking I would highly recommend the Camerons Stovetop Smoker UK / US. That's the one we have as you can see in the photos. I bought it from Amazon a couple of years ago as a Christmas present for my OH and it hasn't disappointed.

We had been talking about our shared love of smoked chicken but how expensive and scarce it is to find around here. That's when I had a light bulb moment and realised what a great thing a smoker would be to have in the home. I'd say that we use it at least 4 times a week, you only need a tablespoon and a half of wood chips and they're inexpensive, so in terms of buying smoked foods compared to smoking our own, the smoker has paid for itself and then some. It's a breeze to clean too.

What I really love about smoking our own foods is that with a selection of 6 wood chip flavours we get to experiment with combinations. Our current favourite is Pecan and Bourbon Soaked Oak, we've used it on chicken, pork, bacon and cheese and they've all be an absolute delight. The apple and asparagus were a little unusual but if there's ever any space left I do like to throw something in as an experiment! Words of advice - Don't smoke mushrooms. I can't begin to tell you what it tasted like but it was pretty grim.

There's lots of wood chip flavours available so you can be as reserved or daring as you choose. Camerons offer: Apple, Cherry, Pecan, Alder (sea bass smoked with this is divine), Hickory, Oak, Bourbon Soaked Oak, Maple (next on my list!) and Mesquite.

See the listings here: UK / US

When you think that they come in 1 pint tubs at very inexpensive prices and you only use a tablespoon and a half for each smoking session, then you realise that this is a very affordable way to liven up meal times. The wood chips last for ages.

Here's a selection of Free From G recipes that are smoked:

Pork Belly Strips
The Zombie Bacon Bomb
Chinese Style Spare Ribs
Barbeque Spare Ribs
Chicken Empanadas
Cheese, Chicken and Bacon Bites

If you enjoy smoking foods or have recently been converted I would love to hear from you!

Have wonderful weekends.

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