I used my new Stovetop Smoker for the first time at the weekend. I was very impressed with it. To be honest, I hadn't expected anything as simple as that to be much good, but I was pleasantly surprised. It works on pretty much any type of cooker - even induction hobs - but gas and electric hobs are evidently best. The pan can also be used as a poacher, a steamer or a conventional roasting-pan.
Using it could hardly be simpler. You put a little pile of the wood chips in the base of the pan, put the "drip-tray" directly on top of it and then the grill rack with your food on top of that. Fit the lid and close it until only a small gap remains. Then put it on a moderate heat and wait for smoke to appear, which in my case was only about 2 minutes.When you see the first wisps of smoke appear, you close the lid fully and the cooking time officially begins.
The lid fits pretty tightly and only a tiny amount of smoke comes out. The sample of smoking-wood supplied with mine was Alder, which is apparently considered very mild. The instruction booklet mentions 8 other types, some of which are very much more "full on", such as Mesquite and Hickory.
I chose something very simple and "safe" for my first use of the smoker - some pork chipolata sausages, bought from my local butcher. Cooking time for sausages is given in the booklet as approximately 10 minutes per half pound (which is the weight I had). Not knowing what to expect, I wanted to keep opening the lid to check progress, but I know that is not a good thing to do as it allows the smoke to escape. Nor is it easy, since the lid fits very tightly! Since the booklet mentions that many meats need finishing on a traditional grill to make them go brown and crispy, I had expected my sausages to remain rather anaemic in colour, but I was very wrong. Just look at this:
I served my sausages as a starter, simply cut into pieces and presented with a little bowl of Brown Sauce to dip them in.
The flavour was amazing! Jane said "This is probably the best smoked food I have ever had". What greater accolade could you hope for? I think we are likely to be using this thing quite frequently. I'll probably have a go with chicken next, because we both love smoked chicken as a cold salad ingredient.