I’ve always wanted to hot smoke my own food, but the thought of expensive smokers running for hours at a time put me off! Then a few months back, I found this great video on how to hot smoke meat in 30 minutes on your kitchen stove using an old saucepan and wood dust on Saveur. (Video on how to make a stovetop smoker). The wood dust needs to be either hardwood or fruitwood or, if like me, you like to experiment with flavours, a mixture. Wood dust is available to purchase online.
Smoked sausages and chicken breasts are delicious and it it amazing how after just thirty minutes hot smoking, the meat really does have a smokey colour and flavour. Once you’ve tried it I think you will be as addicted as I am. It is best to brine or salt cuts of meat to draw out some of the moisture and help the smoke penetrate the meat. A liberal coating of salt on chicken breasts for 15 – 20 minutes does the trick, rinse off the salt, dry the meat and you’re good to go.
Still not sure? Why not start your stovetop hot smoking adventures without the brining or salting, with just vegetables ?
Whole garlic bulbs work a treat, but the rest of this post is dedicated to mushrooms and long sweet red peppers which I hot smoke in an old heavy bottomed stainless steel two-tier steamer I picked up at a charity shop (you really don’t want to use your best saucepans for this!).
I tend to use the hot smoked mushrooms the same day for risotto, pasta sauces etc. The peppers when cold can be stored in the fridge for a week or so …. that’s if they last that long. Try the mushrooms and one of the peppers on a home-made pizza, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Back to the hot smoking …. here’s what you do
Prep your veg. Trim the stalks of the mushrooms and give them a good wipe over to remove any growing media. The peppers just need to be washed and dried and stalks trimmed if necessary.
The mushrooms need to be placed in the bottom tier, stalk side up (they will give off water), the peppers the second or top tier.
Prep your “smoker”. A rectangle of tin foil is laid in the bottom of your stainless steel saucepan, add 2-3 tablespoons of wood dust in an even layer and loosely fold over the foil.
Put the veg tiers and lid on the saucepan and place on the stove. I personally don’t add any extra ring of foil to seal the “smoker” as my lid fits quite snug. You will need your extractor fan on though, or your windows open (especially if you have fire alarms fitted …. and you do don’t you).
Start smoking! Need to begin with a high heat to get the wood dust to smoke, then just turn the heat down low to ensure it doesn’t catch fire (flame), you just want the wood dust to smoulder.
Remember, to keep the lid firmly on or all the smoke will escape. After 20- 30 minutes the wood dust will be spent and your vegetables smoked.
You can see from these “before’ and “after” shots just how much colour the smoked mushrooms have taken on (& how much moisture is lost).
If I’m not using my vegetables straight away I tend to let them go cold in the “smoker” before storing in the fridge for later use.
I’m working on how to cold smoke cheese on a stove using ice, so hopefully I will be able to follow this up soon with a cold smoking post.