Stovetop smoker -- any experience?
I live on the 8th floor of a condo building, and although I knew that according to condo rules, balcony barbecuing was absolutely prohibited, I bought a small "Smokey Joe" by Weber last year. Although we only actually barbecued once a month, for some reason, last summer we were never caught.
Stupid me -- this summer I used last summer's hardwood charcoal, which had survived the winter sealed in a heavy plastic container (one of those that contains 30 pounds of olives for Greek restaurants) but somehow it had indeed gotten humidified. So huge plumes of smoke erupted from the grill and blam, we were nailed. So, *sigh* no more nights of happy grilling any more.
But a friend recommended an alternative, something I'd never heard of -- a stovetop smoker.
To be specific, a Cameron's stovetop smoker. These go for about $45 on Amazon, and I'm seriously considering getting one. Basically, the result I want is that the cooked item comes out tasting and smelling like it had been grilled.
I tried liquid smoke in a marinade, but it came nowhere close.
Does anyone know of these things and can provide info on their purchase? A Canadian option would be a huge bonus.
Thanks in advance!
I have a stovetop smoker and it works fine on fish and vegetables. You put some ground wood chips, which come with the smoker, in the center of the base and put the drip tray on top of the chips. Put the wire rack on top of the drip tray and arrange the food on top of the rack. Close the smoker and put it on top of a single burner. Medium heat setting will give you the best results. There will be wisps of smoke escaping but not a lot. Time of cooking depends on the food and the Camaron's smoker comes with a nifty small cookbook. It also comes with a small variety of different wood chips, i.e. apple wood, cedar, alder, hickory, etc. Have fun, great for an apartment.
When I first started reading this thread I couldn't help but think about what a bad idea this is. Then I remembered my aunt talking about this. She said her's is very easy to use and really does make the food taste like it was grilled.
I myself have an electric smoker. Our complex has the same rules about grills and whatnot on the balcony but my smoker has not been noticed yet. It really doesn't expel much smoke and there's no fire to deal with.
I have one and have been using it for years. I had an electric smoker (barrel type) for years, and then moved without it. The Cameron's can give your food a smoky flavor, but nothing like a real smoker. Certainly not grilled, more like roasted, as there is no direct contact with the heat source.
I have made chicken, ribs and pork tenderloins in the Cameron's, and I have used a variety of fine wood chips, which you can purchase on line. Basically, you need to get the wood smoking before you close it up completely. For this reason, I actually use it outdoors on my gas grill, as I do not want my house smelling like there was a fire. Also, if you are looking to finish on the grill, a gas grill is a good alternative for post-smoker cooking.
You need to be careful that the food does not cook too quickly, as a closed Cameron's tends to get very, very hot -- up to 400 degrees or so is not uncommon. This is much hotter and faster cooking than the "low and slow" that I now use with my Masterbuilt Digital Smokehouse (outdoor use only). Be sure to keep the heat source on as low as you can. You can decide to finish on the grill for things like crisping chicken skin, or not.
Like RGC, I also have a stovetop smoker. I rarely use it now, but it does work to a good degree. The problem is that it will smoke up inside the house/apartment, so it is what it is. This is the one I have.
Here are several older posts about stovetop smoker. You can search for them.