Stovetop Smoker Issues
I've had one for several years and use it mainly to smoke rainbow trout, salmon fillets or mussels. Because it is hot smoking, you're not going to get the same type of smoking effect that you'd get with cold smoking. Also, the smoke flavor is more subdued. But I still like it for a change. I use fairly generous amounts of sawdust. Also, don't close the cover all the way until smoke is actually coming out of the unit. You'll definitely need to run your stove vent during the process! I've found it worked best with a longer, slower cooking process. I cook the salmon filets for around 15 minutes (which is longer than you'd expect). On the plus side, I've not had a problem with things drying out too much.
You've probably looked here, but this is the cameron smoker web site list of recipes.
As Carole says, you can't duplicate barbecue with it, because if you make it hot enough to burn the wood it's far too hot for "low and slow" cooking. Since my main interest is BBQ type stuff (as opposed to fish/seafood), I have tried to develop a hybrid technique - put some spareribs in, put it on the stove long enough to get the wood smoke going (10-15 minutes), then put the whole thing into a 225° oven for a few hours. After I take it out, I wrap the ribs in foil and let them cool before unwrapping them and finishing them off on the grill. It's questionable whether the mild smoke flavor I get from this technique is worth the trouble, it's a pale imitation of real BBQ, but I don't have a place for a real outdoor smoker so this is the best I can do. I once tried one of the recipes in the booklet that comes with the Cameron smoker, cooking it entirely on the stovetop, and found that it had an unpleasantly harsh smoke taste. If I had it to do over again, I don't think I'd bother buying the stovetop smoker. I also have never been able to prevent smoke leaks, though it does help to cover the leaky spots with foil.
I've had mine for probably 10-15 years. After a while the lid leaked considerably and Cameron sent me a new one which works much better. It does leak some smoke but the stove vent works well enough to control it.
Because it does create a very moist final result, the recipes that I make most often take advantage of that. The rainbow trout needs to sit a day in the fridge before you serve it. I usually use alder chips. I like what comes from the home smoker much better than what I can buy at the market – not as dry. With the mussels, I smoke them in the shells (of course!). Then after they've cooled I remove them from the shells and typically serve with a garlic mayonaise on top of a bed of mixed greens that have been tossed with a light balsamic vinegar and oil dressing. Again, I think the moist nature of the mussels help. The mussels can be used immediately after they've cooled. Also, they'll last a quite a while in the fridge so you don't have to use them all at once.
I did try ribs once but as jkent said, they just didn't come up to par. I mainly do seafood. Also, I don't like any of the harsher chips like hickory – alder is my favorite.