If you subscribe to my newsletter you know exactly what I was up to on Sunday: building up courage to make a homemade stovetop smoker and cook some hickory smoked chicken. If you follow me on Facebook you know I spent a ton of time not only trying to figure out how they heck I was going to do it but angsting over it too. New cooking techniques can be intimidating and fire scares me so much!
It all started when I wanted to buy this mini stovetop smoker. I had a gift certificate and thought I could get it for a steal. Since I had to buy from the U.S. Amazon site, the shipping and international fees ended up being as much as the smoker. Screw that! Instead I bought a smaller roasting pot for $8 and a steamer for $6. Much more affordable for something I wasn’t sure I was going like in the first place!
To protect the pot I completely covered it in aluminum foil. Then I put some rice on the bottom (many people do this but I am not sure why) and then I added some hickory wood chips that I chopped up a bit in my spice grinder. I do not recommend doing this if you do not want to put your grinder in jeopardy. I just had to try it though, LOL. It worked OK.
I lined the bottom of the steamer with foil to prevent any liquid from falling on the chips. Do not cover the entire steamer though. You want the smoke to get to the chicken.
I placed the steamer on top of the wood chips and then got out a small skinless, boneless chicken breast. I just seasoned with salt and pepper, no oil.
I took out the battery of my smoke detector, opened all the windows in my house except for the kitchen because the air vent is right beside the window. I turned on the vent.
Reg wasn’t home at the time but made me promise to have the fire extinguisher on hand which I did, as well as some baking soda. May seem like overkill but as my dad always says, “Safety first!” I got out my Air Sponge to help soak up the smell of smoke.
You want to cover the pot but leave a space for the smoke to come out so you know when the process has started. I turned the heat up to high. Once I saw smoke coming out I sealed the pot shut and turned down the heat to medium. I let the chicken cook for 15 minutes, which many videos on this subject said would be long enough.
The Reveal from Suzie Ridler on Vimeo
I took the pot out to my deck because I did not want to let all that smoke into my house. Here is the big reveal!
I was so giddy as I was taking this photos (and yes, those are my feet wearing pink Crocs) and thinking to myself, what a weird and wonderful life I lead! After I took all the photographs, updated my Facebook page… I dug into the chicken.
IT WAS RAW! I mean, totally raw!!! Ew!!!
Damn it! I was pissed and heartbroken. I cut it up, sauteed it and tossed it with some noodles and homemade pistachio pesto:
Holy cow is the smoke flavour every strong! And was I every frustrated. Oh well. It was more than edible after I cooked it up and I think hickory would go better with fish than chicken.
My friend Wayne said that I could have cooked it in the oven instead which I might try next time. If there is a next time. He also said stovetop smoking is more for adding flavour than an actual cooking method. I really do not want to cook food inside for too long and fill my house up with smoke.
I will have to meditate on this one for a while and see if there will be a second attempt at stovetop smoking. At least I didn’t pay $50 to go through this hassle! Oh and my smoke detector’s test button is either not working now or I broke the smoke detector. Ah the life of an adventurous foodie…
Jamie Ridler Studios says
Wow, what an adventure! Even requiring a fire extinguisher to be on hand! Thanks for taking us along on the journey.
It’s so cool that, despite the extra step of having to actually cook the chicken, you accomplished the smoked flavour!
Debra She Who Seeks says
Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Play around with it — try different types of wood chips for different flavours — just poach the chicken first! I loved the video of the Big Reveal!
If I know you, you will give it another go and you should, what a cool adventure.
My most memorable smoked dish was at Roger Mooking’s restaurant. It was a Smoked Trout and Warm Fingerling Potato Salad with a Gribiche Dressing and it had these gorgeous fried caper berries in it. I’m not a big fan of smoked meats/fish but OMG this was the most incredible thing I’ve ever eaten. The smoked trout was amazing.
Thanks for sharing your experience, you are a fearless kitchen warrior….oh what will you be up to next LOL?!
Suzie Ridler says
Thanks Jamie and yes, when you bring out the fire extinguisher you know you’re in for an adventure.
Debra, thank you, so glad you liked the video. I am always nervous about making those so that helps a lot.
Ava, oh that sounds amazing and I bet the hickory would do trout justice. How lucky for you to have had that dinner with Roger! Oh and I went out and got some mesquite chips this morning, LOL. Guess I’ll be trying this again!