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Stovetop Smokers

I have a new stove-top smoker (can I say the name - Cameron's). Youtube videos seem vague and contradictory.
1) What is your favorite type of wood to use?
2) Do you use high heat or medium?
3) What about time?
3) What is your favorite thing to smoke?
4) Do you have a method that works great?

All comments appreciated.

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  1. I have the Cameron and pull it out every now, and then to smoke bone-in chicken breast for salads, chowders, and such. I do sausages in a pinch for making jambalaya, or gumbo and don't have andouille. Marinade, or apply dry rub on pork tenderloin prior to smoking, then pan sear to brown. Whole shell-on shrimp is excellent for shrimp cocktail, or surf & turf. Oh yes...smoked sea salt! Easy to make.

    2 Replies
    1. re: letsindulge

      I have one that I've never used. Y'all have inspired me to dig it out and give it a try. Have you used it on an electric or gas stovetop? What about temperature as the OP asked?

      1. re: Leepa

        I used mine on my previous gas stove.

    2. I've only done salmon, so far. Cooked about 15 minutes on medium. I think it's best to cut into portion sizes before smoking; more surface area and quicker cooking. Marinaded with brown sugar/salt/pepper, which caused moisture to seep out before cooking, giving a dryer dish.

      1. I would add, from recent experience, do not fail to line the bottom tray with foil, because you can get some seriously burnt-on gunk if you don't.

        1 Reply
        1. re: andabien

          Yes, I wrap the bottom pan to catch drippings and I place a small square of foil over the pellets before I put the pan on top to avoid the carbonized mess on the bottom. I did eventually get rid of it all.

          I used my Cameron to smoke baby back ribs over hickory pellets in winter. I use med/high heat and more time than the instructions call for, then finish on broil, briefly.

        2. Have a Cameron's that I found at a yard sale... NEVER even outta box. Came with little containers of fine wood chips... maybe 4 different types?

          Dpn;t use it a lot. Think first time was to "smoke" a corned beef brisket after simmering. Was pleasantly surprised that didn't smoke up whole house.

          1. I hope this thread gets some 'love.' I've had a Cameron smoker for a few years but have barely used it. I recently tested it and it's induction-capable which matters to me.

            10 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              I've used mine many times over the years, and love it.

              1. re: pikawicca

                Hey, girl! If you have time could you elaborate. As in what kinds of foods (vegetables?), seasonings, etc. x,c

                1. re: c oliver

                  Best ever -- a whole standing rib roast (covered with heavy-duty foil) smoked one hour w/mesquite chips, then finished roasting in oven. Amazing.

                  Corn on the cob -- really fresh corn, brush w/EVOO, sprinkle w/salt, smoke w/hickory 15 mins.

                  Any fish fillet -- smoke 10 mins w/any kind of wood (apple is nice), finish w/quick pan sear.

                  I smoke MANY halved Roma tomatoes, then oven dry and freeze. These add a wonderful smokiness to many dishes, e.g., vegetarian chili.

                  My favorite new kitchen toy is a smoke gun that you can use to add smoke flavor to items you don't want to cook. Made a killer smoked spinach salad last week.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    GREAT! Saved. Now, give us a link to that smoke gun. You have the best toys :)

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      "I smoke MANY halved Roma tomatoes, then oven dry and freeze. These add a wonderful smokiness to many dishes, e.g., vegetarian chili."

                      Okay, now these I have got to try. Thanks!

                  2. re: pikawicca

                    Possibly a stupid question here - but do you get smoke escaping when you open it?

                    Mr Tacos has recently started mentioning getting one of these, but the kitchen is not equipped with the best exhaust fan, and I don't really want to deal with a home that smells like a Lockhart smokehouse.

                    On the plus side, there's a door to the patio right next to the stove, so we could just pick up the smoker, step outside and open it?

                    1. re: tacosandbeer

                      Unless you use an excessive amount of chips, there shouldn't be much, if any, residual smoke.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Thanks! I have to admit - the idea of bringing a little Texas to this miserable British winter is appealing. Might go ahead and start looking for one!

                      2. re: tacosandbeer

                        Start the smoker slightly open, on high heat. The minute you begin to see smoke, close the top and reduce heat to medium. You should get almost no smoke outside the smoker. Check some Youtube videos for mor info.

                  3. I've been using an electric burner, so I guess the heat is more concentrated. I imagine a flame would be better.

                    1. About once a month I bring home a filet of salmon or halibut from Costco, then cut it in thirds for two dinners (cooking for one) and smoke the last portion in the Camerons. I believe their manual and Web site answer most of your questions--low heat, 20 minutes for fish (start timer only after smoke starts coming out), apple and/or aspen chips. IMO, there is no need for a bottom pan liner since there is nothing left but dried carbon dust after use. I also smoke halved tomatoes for smoked tomato soup and smoked tomato sauce for mussels (awesome). More info and recipes on my Web site.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: GeezerGourmet

                        I didn't mean the bottom pan, when I mentioned using foil. Yes, there is nothing but ash there. I was suggesting foil for the inner tray.

                      2. I have a stovetop smoker too. Nordicware I think.


                        I like mesquite wood, but I haven't tried enough to know
                        I cook until it is done. I say about 4 hours for pork shoulder.
                        I like pork butt or pork shoulder
                        I don't have a method which I have perfected yet.

                        1. I really appreciate these tips and advice. I think a smoker will be my next kitchen toy.

                          1. I am going to have to try those tomatoes! I found these instructions for a homemade smoker; I have everything but the chips so I'll be smokin' soon. http://www.saveur.com/article/Video/V...

                            1. I am intrigued and want to get a smoker now. I found a video on making a smoker using just a large pot, a steamer basket and some tin foil: http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen.... Is this much different from the smokers that you can buy?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: debclark

                                Nope, it's just a vessel to contain the smoke, something to hold the food above it. :-)

                              2. I LOVE my Camerons smoker! One favorite is portobello mushrooms, smoked for 25 min, great on a salad. You can smoke potatoes. The Cameron's book says sliced, but you can't do many that way, so I've halved small potatoes, parboiled them briefly, then smoked them. Yummy! Chicken breasts stay moist when smoked, and turkey thighs are good too. Whole trout, smoked 20 min, then let sit in the smoker for a few minutes. I use apple or alder for fish, hickory or mesquite for meats. Sea scallops 15 min.
                                After a few years of good use, the pan starts to warp, and you need to bend the lid for a tighter fit so smoke doesn't escape while smoking. That's the only negative I've had.

                                1. Well, I'm about a year late (was looking for tips on doing baby portobellos in my stovetop smoker for dinner tonight), but I highly recommend smoked sweet potatoes! Delicious! I cube them up, and usually either make mashed smoked sweet potatoes, and have also made smoked sweet potato soup - so good! Yukon golds, russets, or any other kind of potato has always turned out really good. I've also smoked acorn squash in my Cameron's - wonderful! I've had mine for about 5 years, and it has seen a LOT of use. So much that I ended up also purchasing one of the smaller ones so that I didn't always have to dirty up my large one. One thing I've noticed - store-bought wood chips can result in some bitterness on the outside of the food, and can also cause the drippings to be bitter. The Cameron's wood chips are processed in such a way that there's no bitterness, so I always use their chips now (can get pint sized containers at a decent price from Amazon).

                                  I've used my Cameron's to give a whole turkey a good smoked flavor - just had to make a tight tent of aluminum foil over it instead of using the lid. Depending on size of the turkey, you cook it partway in the stovetop smoker, and then transfer to a roasting pan and finish it in the oven - comes out wonderful, smoky and moist, and much faster than smoking a turkey in an outdoor smoker.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: rmeredithfl

                                    Oh...I didn't realize that the stove top came in other sizes!

                                    1. re: letsindulge

                                      Looks like price has gone up quite a bit on the small one - I think I paid about $28 for mine a couple years ago. It came with a couple of the 8 oz. tubs of wood chips, so $28 didn't seem so bad - not sure I'd want to pay $35 for the small one though (but then again, I don't see the thing wearing out or ever needing to be replaced, so can look at it that way).

                                    2. re: rmeredithfl

                                      Sweet potatoes thanks! I will try. What wood did you use?

                                      1. re: rmeredithfl

                                        Do you precook the sweet potatoes at all before smoking them or cook them the entire time in the smoker?

                                        1. re: Leepa

                                          I don't precook mine at all before smoking them. I do peel and cut them up into small cubes - probably about 1/2", but I'll bet could also cut into "fries" or slices instead so then wouldn't have to deal with them falling through the grate - but can combat that problem by lining the grate with aluminum foil and poking slits into it with a steak knife .. but usually i don't even worry about that since I like to mix my potatoes with whatever drippings there are once they're cooked, so doesn't hurt if a few fall through). They cook pretty quickly cubed up small - sorry, I don't pay close attention to how long I let them cook, I just go check them after about 30 minutes - seems like maybe it's taken 40 minutes or so for them to become tender. I haven't ever tried cooking halves, I always cube them, so they cook quite quickly for sweet potatoes. I sometimes will toss the cubes with some olive oil, lemon juice, and whatever herbs/seasonings I'm in the mood for, before putting them into the smoker. I just know now not to put them on before starting my work shift because SOMETIMES it ends up that I can't take my break when it's scheduled, and then had to sit at my desk in the next room and smell my lovely smoked sweet potatoes turning into charred hard little bits, and not able to do anything about it :( I was so sad, had been looking forward to having smoked sweet potatoes for dinner! Only tried that one time, haha!!

                                          Oh, talking about the aluminum foil reminded me of something else I love to do in my stovetop smoker - organic chicken livers!!! DEELICIOUS!! Definitely must use aluminum foil on the grate to keep them all from sliding through to the drip pan, and I just poke slits in the aluminum foil with an old steak knife. They cook very quickly (I like them to be a bit pink inside, prevents them from ending up with that chalky liver texture!). I usually also toss them with olive oil, or some melted butter, a bit of acid (lemon juice or a bit of nice mild vinegar - I like to use a little vinegar from my jar of pickled ginger if I want to do something other than citrus juice), and some fresh rosemary (or dried if no fresh available) ... I just experiment each time I do it, and it's always good, served up with crostini, a little horseradish sauce, and finely minced red onion - all kinds of possibilities!

                                          1. re: rmeredithfl

                                            Thanks for the detailed explanation! And the chicken livers sound delish! I wonder how those would be in a chicken live pate? Amazing, I'd guess.

                                            1. re: Leepa

                                              I usually morph leftover smoked chicken livers into pate - and yes - it's wonderful! Oh, and when I said I toss them with olive oil, lemon juice (or whatever), and herbs/seasonings - I do that before putting them into the smoker, not after like it sounded. I need to do some soon, been a while, and they are so good!

                                      2. Yes, it's 7"x11", half the size of the regular one, and I love it for when I just want to do a couple of pork chops or one or two fish fillets, it's really nice to not have to clean the large one when I'm only doing a couple portions. I got mine off Amazon a couple years ago, but can't find it on there now - but this company has it (also saw Rakuten.com has it) http://www.atgstores.com/stockpots-st...

                                        1. I think I used hickory probably (haven't done it in a while - well, I did a while back, but I work from home and thought I had the heat low enough to let them go until I was able to tend to them, but instead I burned them to a black crisp that time ;) .. I switch things up a lot, but pretty sure I usually use hickory with sweet potatoes - either that, or oak. Sweet potatoes have a bold enough flavor to handle hickory nicely! I have a bag of pecan hulls I saved that I want to try - I'll bet pecan would be good with sweet potatoes!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rmeredithfl

                                            I make a pizza w/pesto, sweet potatoes, potatoes. I bet smoked s.p would be awesome on it!

                                          2. Chicken livers! Never thought of that! Thanks! I do just about everything else in mine, love it! When I've done sliced potatoes, I can't fit many in laying them out flat - has anybody stacked them?