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Slow and Low Indoor Smoker Ideas

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I wanna be able to slow smoke things like boston butt, tri tip etc, but unfortunately, living in NYC in a studio apartment, i dont have access to anywhere outdoors that i can use a real barbecue. Yesterday i experimented with a stovetop / oven smoker, made from 2 aluminum pans of different depths, hickory chips, and layers of aluminum foil as drip pans and covers. It took me a while to get the wood smoking, and by the time i hit 6 hours and thought to check the temp, it was already at 211 degrees. It was actually still pretty tender and juicy, but i know it could be better.

I tried getting it smoking by leaving the oven door open, and sitting it on the lowest rack, directly above the heating element, the idea being to get the chips smoking while leaving the temp around 200 degrees. (I was afraid of melting the aluminum foil by putting it directly on the stove.) After 2 hours, i realized i wasn't getting smoke, just a little steam from the wet chips, so i carefully put it on the electric burner, and i got it smoking, then put it back in the oven at 250 for a while, repeating the process every so often to generate more smoke. It seemed to be working great, other than the fact it reached 211 degrees after 6 hours.

My idea to achieve the smoking effect at a lower temperature, is to use a tall stock pot, chips on the bottom, and elevated racks, and just crank up the heat on the burner every hour or so to generate the smoke, then turn it back down to low. I'm not sure how low the temp would be inside the pot, but i could experiment with heat sinks towards the top of the pot, to keep the temp down, but allow the smoke to generate at the bottom. Maybe put a towel soaked in ice water on the lid, and change it every time i turn up the heat.

What does everyone think?

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  1. I'm not sure how that will work, and I'd be worried about the amount of smoke..........I bought an Emson pressure combo smoker/cooker that so far I have been pleased with. Has both cold smoke and hot smoke options...........and relatively little smoke escapes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

      I dont think it would generate any more smoke than one of the cameron stove top smokers. I'd also make sure it had a tight fitting lid, and the exhaust would be on. But i'll check out the Emson cooker you mention. Thanks.

      Update: i checked the price; too much for me. I'd rather build one for 25$ at the rest supply house. Worse case scenario i'll just have to use hot smoke.

    2. This is pretty much exactly what i did, only with throwaway aluminum ones. http://www.americanvegetarian.net/201...

      I think i'm just going to go with this method, and experiment with temp control.

      1. Ive seen this done in restaurants on tv looks neat! Don't forget you don't need 'smoke' the whole time. What you get into the meat in the first 3 hours is all you need in my opinion and many others. I have over smoked things many times thinking more smoke the better.

        4 Replies
        1. re: daislander

          So then in your opinion, if i can get it to smoke steadily for the first 3 hours, then throw it in the oven at ~200 for 3 - 5 more, do you think i can achieve that slow smoked falling off the bone result?

          I am thinking of putting a towel with ice cubes / water on the lid of the smoker, to keep the internal temp down, despite having the burner on, that way i can smoke it up, without getting the heat too high. That's the closest way i can think to replicate the slow and low smoker cooking you see in down south barbecue joints. I know it will never be the same without an open flame and a big commercial smoker, but doesn't mean i cant try my best.

          The only remaining piece of the puzzle is keeping the air inside the smoker circulating. Not sure its going to be easy; maybe apply heat only to one side of the pan, and hope the convection currents cause the air to circulate.

          1. re: zakappel

            yes I've done that with a pork shoulder for pulled pork worked fine. I always get my bbq started to late and then it always starts to rain and gust. Makes my oven smell smoky for awhile. Depending on what your doing you could go even lower 190.

            You may be able to pierce or cut/drill a hole in your lid and fix a little flap... Maybe opposite ends, one hole just above the chip level on side of bottom tray and one on lid...

            Someone must have invented something... There seems not to be a lot of bbq people on chowhound id google homemade top stove/oven smokers.

            Sounds like fun project!

            I made some smoked pork chops done in a rib style last night. with the 3 2 1 method but more like 1.5 1 .5 and hit it with smoke a the end to get the chary outside but it was to much.

            I think it would good in the oven because at the end you could take lid off and get the sauce on the outside of the meat dried out a bit. Beucase of your lack of space might get more steamy and air the oven might be a good thing.

            1. re: daislander

              What's your opinion on the amount of liquid you soak the wood in? I soaked it for an hour, then poured 1/2 a cup of water in the bottom of the pan, like i read online somewhere, but the heat wasn't high enough to get the chips smoking. Even after i poured off the water, (which didnt really make sense to have in the first place, but i was trying to follow the advice of others,) it took a while to dry the chips out enough to start smoking.

              1. re: zakappel

                How big are the chips your using? Maybe better to do a blend or try the shredded kind over the chip kind.

                I used to soak for an hour but would take so long to get going.

                Then I tried just a quick 5 min soak which works fine but used no extra water in tray.

                Also tried putting dry chips in, let it get hot enough to smoking point and then add enough water just to moisten so they wouldn't all burn up. Which worked well too.

                I didn't notice you had put extra water in that might have been your prob on getting it smoking.

                Some electric smokers do pulse on and off to keep chips going. but not create to much heat. That way a lot have a burner for the chips and a burner for the smoker.

                Not sure at what temp wood will start to smoke. The shows Ive seen with your method are all on the stove top. They used a big chip and tin foil top with a corner cracked and seemed to be going pretty good. But I think they finished in oven.

                I like your big stock pot idea. Would be easy to raise and lower heat when needed. Sort of like a barrel smoker. You would need a lid vent. Maybe a wire temp gauge to measure temp in pot.

        2. I'm planning on trying something like this for making bacon in a Cameron's stovetop---just starting it on the stove with extra chips and quickly moving it to a 20 0° oven. Might refresh the chips after an hour or so.