Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Smokin'

I’ve been having fun with my new kitchen toy, a stovetop smoker.

What I love about thrift stores is that you never know what you’re going to come across. The strategy I use is to have a short list in my head of things that I’m keeping an eye out for, but be open to something totally unexpected. At Goodwill, a few days ago, I found a Camerons Stovetop Smoker still in the box unused, with all the cups of wood chips and instruction manual still there. I got it for $8. List price is $50.

At first I’d been thinking it would replace a smoker like those Little Chief smokers, but then I realized it’s more of a cooker that makes your food nice and smoky. It is nice heavy-duty stainless steel and very easy to use for all types of food.

Here’s how it works: The pan is set up in layers. In the bottom of the pan you make a small pile of the wood chips, then set the drip pan down there. The rack goes on the drip pan, the food on the rack, and then the cover slides across the top. You set the stove burner to medium, and presently the chips begin to smolder, the pan heats up inside, and the food cooks. Any stray wisps of smoke go up the hood vent turned on low.

So far, I have done a pan of thick sliced potatoes, salmon fillets, and homemade chicken sausage. The salmon turned out the best. It was moist and smoky-flavored. Cold, it makes an EXCELLENT addition to a salad. The potatoes were nice, but next time I’ll slice them a little thinner and maybe add some liquid to the drip pan to add moisture. The sausages taste lovely and smoky, but I needed to leave them in long enough to get maximum smoke flavor which left them a little drier than I would have preferred. But a ground patty would take in the smoke in fast order, so maybe I’ll try that next time.

One fun part of this kit is the 4 little cups of chips. I knew I liked hickory, but didn’t know about the rest of the varieties. I’ve used alder and oak so far, and am anxious to try the cherry.

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