So the husband was out of town. Usually when he goes away, I go on a massive cooking binge, making all the things I know he hates. Dishes usually involve lots and lots of olives or mac and cheese with all kinds of pungent cheeses. I also make things that I know stink up the house – which are verboten when he’s around. Which is exactly what I did this past week.
We live in the city. For those of you suburban or country folks, I’m sure we can both trade pluses and minuses regarding our living environs. Living in the city certainly means foregoing space, so a large back patio is not in the cards for us. Therefore, we do not have a Big Green Egg or any kind of super cool smoker or grill. Nope. A mini Weber Q is it for us.
Enter the Indoor Smoker
A couple of years ago, I came across the solution to our problems – the Indoor Smoker. I read numerous cooking forum posts on the subject and saw the success others had. I knew I had to have one for myself. It came with a few small tubs of wood chips, but I even ordered extra wood chips – envisioning smoking everything I could get my hands on. I bought Hickory, Oak, Alder and Cherry – not knowing anything about the different flavors or what they were specifically good for. I just knew that smoking food sounded like something I needed to be a part of.
When the package arrived, I got to work right away. I followed the directions to a T. Put the wood chips in, put the grate on, added the meat, covered the top most of the way, turned the stove burner on, waited for a whisp of smoke, closed the container and hoped for the best. Within 2 minutes, campfire smoked filled the kitchen. I was waiting for the cue from my husband – which came quickly – a glance, an ahem, and an “uh, I think you better turn it off” and my indoor smoking days were abruptly cut short.
In the years that followed, I tried it at least one more time. Again. Fail. It just released too much smoke into the tiny condo that has no kitchen ventilation (save for a cross breeze if I open all the windows in the house). I even tried it on the Weber Q – alas, the smoker was just too big for our puny grill.
So this past weekend…when the husband was out of town…THIS was my shot. And this time I was ready. Once again, I put the wood chips in, put the grate on, added the chicken thighs, closed the top entirely this time, covered every opening in a double layer of foil AND placed a cast iron skillet on top for good measure. I fired up the burner and again, within a few minutes, smoke whisped out the sides. I added more foil and at least I couldn’t see any more smoked. But…the smell.
Well anyway, I figured I could air the place out before he got home. So I let the meat smoke for the full 20 minutes.
The moment of truth
After 20 minutes or so of smoking, I turned off the burner, took the smoker outside for the big unveiling. I pulled the cover off and…totally completely RAW chicken that STANK like cigarrettes.
Well, that’s just great. Screw this.
Totally dejected and not wanting to risk stinking the house up anymore, I turned on the broiler and shoved the chicken under it for 10 minutes. Totally irriated, I threw it in a tupperware and let my visions of indoor smoking go.
The next day, I pulled the chicken out of the fridge as I thought maybe I could use it in a salad or on a pizza. Well lo and behold, it actually tasted pretty good! Definitely smoky, but not totally overpowering and horrid like the previous day.
Ok, next time (and there will be a next time) I think smoking for maybe 5 minutes will do the trick. Then cook like normal cause God knows, it ain’t gonna get cooked in the smoker.
So, uh, are you gonna get one for yourself? 🙂