How to Make a Stove-Top Smoker

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Smoked meats, fish and other foods are popular menu items in restaurants and provide a healthy alternative to many other methods of cooking. Stove-top smokers are becoming more popular, offering nearly everyone the ability to smoke food in a kitchen. But if you don't want to spend a lot of money purchasing a stove-top smoker, you can make one from common kitchen items.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal pan for base of smoker Metal rack Metal lid for pan Aluminum foil
  • Select a pan.
    Stove-top smokers can be made from nearly any type of kitchen pan and don't require an expensive or high-quality purchase. But keep in mind that the pan you choose will become charred during the smoking process, rendering it virtually useless for baking or other uses. Broiler pans, deep metal baking pans and roasting pans work best, but you can choose nearly any pan that fits your needs. A large aluminum baking pan will also work well if you don't want to ruin your metal pans. Pans with a tight-fitting, metal lids are preferable, but not necessary.

  • Insert a food rack.
    The smoking process requires that the food be suspended above the heat source and wood chips, which will necessitate the addition of a food rack. If your broiler or roasting pan came with a rack, this is an easy solution. If not, a metal baking or cooling rack can be used as well. Select one that fits easily inside your pan and will raise the food an inch or two above the bottom of the pan. If you're using an aluminum pan, metal skewers can be pushed through the sides to create a rack for your food. A second aluminum pan with holes in the bottom also can be placed inside the first pan for the same effect.

  • Cover the smoker.
    If your pan came with a lid, it can be used as a top for your smoker. Again, bear in mind that it may become charred and unusable for other pans. Your smoker pan also can be covered with tin foil, which can be thrown away when you're finished. Other possible choices are aluminum pizza pans or a metal cookie sheet.

  • Set up the smoker.
    To use the smoker, place a few ounces of well-soaked wood sawdust in the bottom of the pan. Don't add more water or other liquids because this will steam the food, rather than smoke it. Place the metal rack in the pan and lay your food evenly on the rack. Cover the pan and place it over a stove-top burner set to low heat. Avoid removing the lid during the smoking process because this will cause the loss of smoke and heat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only use sawdust in your stove-top smoker. You can buy this at a gourmet food store or on the internet. Try using your smoker for food other than just meat. Be sure to clean your smoker thoroughly after each use. Be prepared for your smoke detectors to go off when using your smoker inside. Cookbooks dedicated to smoking food can be found online and at local book stores.
  • Be sure to run your kitchen exhaust fan when using your smoker. The handles and lid of a smoker can become extremely hot, even at low temperatures.

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