Dining i n & o u t
Top tools How to smoke at home
Traditionally, the art of smoking was limited to trained professionals because of the size of the equipment and the overpowering odor of smoke that accompanied the process, but modern tools put smoking within reach of home cooks. The battery-operated smoking gun allows you to smoke virtually everything. Load it with your combustible of choice, point and shoot cool smoke flavor into anything. Because it’s cool, you can smoke anything from salad to meringue. If you want to.
Lighting Up The start of Mary Malouf's smoking habit
It was one of those wedding gifts. Between us, we had accumulated three ex-spouses and had set up households in five different states before we settled together in a small house in Salt Lake City. In short, we had amassed more small appliances—blenders, toasters, juicers, salad spinners, mandolin slicers, hydraulic cork extractors, wine snorkels—than we could use and had no space to store them. And this Cameron smoker, a gift from a foodie friend, seemed like just another kitchen gadget—that year’s bread mixer, pasta machine or panini maker. So, the smoker stayed shiny and untouched in its box, next to a forlorn earth-toned crock pot, for two years. Then one day, as we loaded it in the car with the other detritus of life destined for Deseret Industries, my unreconstructed packrat of a husband said, “Look, it even comes with wood chips! Let’s at least try it once before we dump it.” So we bought a piece of salmon and followed the instructions, sealing it in the pan and placing it over low heat on our gas stove, just to see. Takeout Chinese was always an option. Fifteen minutes later, we considered ourselves smoking geniuses. The fish was moist and rosy, just tinged with the taste of the alderwood. We added a tiny squeeze of lemon. And the house was not, as we had feared, filled with choking fumes. We’re chain smokers now.
U T A H S T Y L E A NDDE S I G N . C O M
Liquid Smoke, that ‘50s favorite, is actually made from real smoke. Who knew? The smoke from wood chips is condensed into solids or liquids, then dissolved in water by a process called destructive distillation.
A stove-top smoker (see Lighting Up) is a more authentic way to get that irresistible aroma. About the size of a brownie pan, the smoker has a rack, a perforated pan and a sealable top, as well as assorted wood chips.
Into the woods
Fas hi oni ng your fi r e flavor Woods from fruit- or nutbearing wood are generally good for smoking, however, avoid woods with too much resin or sap. Mesquite smoke is strong and can overwhelm more delicate foods if you use too much. Cherry and Apple: Slightly sweet and fruity; mild, so good for poultry and ham
Hickory: Popular and pungent, so use it on heavy beef Oak: A strong but not especially pungent smoke; good for beef Alder: Is great with fish, especially salmon Maple: A lighter, sweeter hardwood good with pork
Pecan: Use on large cuts of meat.
Tip: Spice up your smoke by adding one or more of these ingredients to flavor your wood: tea, fresh orange or grapefruit peel, jasmine rice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods and rosemary branches.