Burton Stovetop SmokerApr 13, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Grills and SmokersThe Bottom Line Can't afford a big smoker? Try this one, you'll be pleasantly surprised!
This isn't really a charcoal smoker, but it does use wood chips, so I put it here, since there really isn't anywhere else, and you can't add items to Epinions anymore. Explanation over, on to the review.
The Burton smoker is the same model you've seen Emeril use on his Food Network show, "Emeril Live." It's extremely easy to use, doesn't smoke up your house a whole lot, and gives great results for a small investment.
I'd seen Emeril use it two or three times, and was intrigued. When my friend and I stumbled on a stack of these at a local restaurant supply store, we decided to buy one, and share it, and see how we liked it. The smoker only cost $29.99, so we each forked over $15, and brought it home to share. We both liked it so much, we bought another one so we could each have one! Here's why.
This smoker is easy to use! You put a small amount of wood chips in the bottom of the pan. (A small bag of chips is included when you buy the smoker.) You soak these chips for about 30 minutes in water, wine, juice, beer, or whatever you choose. You need to soak them to keep them from just burning, you want them to get hot and smoke. The instructions that come with smoker say to use 1/4 cup of chips, but I use more, because I like a smokier flavor. It also depends on the type of wood chips you use, more on that later.
Now, you just put it on a burner on your stove. I have a flat glass top, so I actually put it across a front and back burner for more even heating, but you don't have to do that. I keep it on medium to medium low heat, and if I'm cooking something a long time, I may turn it down to low. The pan will warp from the heat, it's OK, don't worry about it. You could also take this camping with you, and put it on a charcoal grill, or on your gas grill outside. It will work anywhere you can give it some heat!
OK, you've soaked your chips, now you put them in the smoker pan, in about 1/4 inch of water or liquid. I've found a bottle of beer fills up the pan nicely, so here's what I do. I just pour a bottle of beer into the pan, and then add the chips, and let them soak right in the pan for 30 or more minutes. After that, you heat them up until they begin to smoke. Then, you place the tray over the chips, and put the cooking rack on top of the tray. Your food that you want to smoke goes on the rack, and then you slide the cover on, and lock it down, and cook your food for 30 minutes or less.
I've done chicken breast, halibut filets, pork tenderloin and roast, turkey roast, and steaks in this smoker, and they've all turned out wonderfully. My friend has done salmon, pork, and shrimp, and hers turned out perfectly, too. I've also done pork ribs, and they take longer to get done the way I like them. I've cooked them two hours, and they come out tender and wonderful. Of course, if you cook something that long, you have to add more liquid and chips.
Now to my personal preferences. I don't use the wood chunks, I use the small chips that look more like sawdust. I like the way they smoke better, they smoke more quickly, and are MUCH easier to clean out of the pan after you're done smoking.
I also use beer or wine to soak the chips, and as the liquid in the pan. I've found it adds more flavor to the meats as it steams away, and they chips begin to smoke. I don't heat up the chips until they are smoking, like the directions say, especially when I'm in a hurry. I've found the steaming helps keep the meat tender and juicy, and it boils away pretty fast, so you still get the smoke and smoky flavor from the chips.
I brown or sear my meat before I put it in, in most cases. Your meat isn't going to get brown or crispy in the smoker, because the lid slides on and locks in place, keeping in the steam and the smoke, for the most part. So, if you like brown meat, then sear it before hand. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the results are more appetizing, at least I think so, anyway.
This is really a quick way to cook a lot of different meats. Most that I've done only take 15 to 20 minutes, with the ribs being the exception to that. If you pre-soak your chips, you could throw them in the smoker when you come home from work, heat them up while you're searing the meat, and have your main course in about 20 minutes. Since my rice cooker takes just about the same amount of time to cook a batch of rice, I make a batch at the same time, and in 20 minutes, dinner. This has been a lifesaver for me, since my husband has a new job with really unpredictable hours. I can still make a decent dinner, and have it ready when he walks in the door.
Clean up with this isn't that hard. You spray the cooking rack and tray with cooking spray, and line the tray with aluminum foil, so they are a breeze. The lid, rack, and tray all fit in the dishwasher, so you can be sure they are clean. The whole unit is stainless steel, so it cleans up well. The only hard part is the pan, but after a while, the smoked chips just kind of form a crust. You can't get it off, it was even on Emeril's on TV, he showed it to the camera. So, I don't worry anymore, and figure it's "seasoning" the pan.
I love this smoker, and use it at least once a week. It's one of the cheapest "appliances" in my kitchen, and one that gets a lot of use. If you try one, I'm sure you'll be pleased and surprised. My friend really only thought she'd use it once in a while, and was surprised that she wanted to use it more than that. She's really pleased with it, and so am I! I'm sure you will be too, and besides that, it's FUN to use!
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