Smoking meats over wood - all on top of the stove

September 29, 1993|By Steven Raichlen | Steven Raichlen,Contributing Writer United Feature Syndicate

American cooks are starting to smoke -- their food, that is -- in the sweet-scented haze of smoldering oak, hickory, cherry and alder. Smoked foods are being produced at home on the stovetop, and the process is simple.

Food is smoked to impart the woodsmoke's flavor and aroma, but also to fight fat; like steaming and grilling, it is a no-added-fat cooking method.

Hardwood sawdust or wood flakes can be found in gourmet shops or ordered by mail from C.M. International, P.O. Box 60220, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80960-60220; (719) 390-0505.

Stovetop smoking equipment:

* a wok, Dutch oven or roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid (avoid lightweight enameled steel pans if you will be smoking over an electric stovetop; the heat can melt the enamel)

* fine hardwood flakes or coarse sawdust

* a small, square metal cake pan that fits inside the smoking pan to serve as a drip pan

* a wire rack (two, if using a flat-bottomed pan)

* aluminum foil

Method: Place a large, square piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of whatever pan you're using and sprinkle wood flakes or sawdust over foil. Line drip pan with more foil and place over wood flakes or sawdust. (If using a flat-bottomed pan, place a rack over wood to create an airspace between it and drip pan.) Lightly oil a rack and place over drip pan. Set food to be smoked on rack. Turn exhaust fan on high. (You may need to temporarily disconnect nearby smoke alarms.) Set prepared pan on the stove directly over high heat. When wisps of smoke begin to rise, cover pan. Reduce heat to medium and smoke for time indicated in recipe. (If the lid leaks, seal edges with rolled-up, wet paper toweling. When you are finished smoking, let ash cool completely before discarding it. And remember to reconnect the smoke alarms.

Smoked pork tenderloin

Serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

-! 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and

minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 3/4 -pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, jalapenos and garlic; saute until soft ened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add molasses, vinegar, mustard and soy sauce and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let sauce cool. Marinate tenderloins in half the sauce in shallow dish in refrigerator 1 to 8 hours, turning occasionally. (Reserve remaining sauce for basting.)

Prepare a pan for smoking using 1 1/2 tablespoons hardwood flakes or sawdust. Place tenderloins on the rack. Smoke 25 minutes. Check for doneness: the internal temperature should register 160 degrees. If necessary, continue smoking until the tenderloins are cooked through.

Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal or gas grill or heat broiler. Grill or broil smoked tenderloins, brushing with reserved sauce, until glazed, about 2 minutes per side.

Smoked turkey breast

Serves 6

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 boneless turkey breast half (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), skin and fat removed

In a small bowl, combine garlic salt, onion powder, paprika and pepper. Sprinkle over both sides of turkey breast. Prepare a pan for smoking as above. Pour 1 cup water into drip pan. Place turkey breast on rack and smoke 45 minutes. Check for doneness: the internal temperature should be 170 degrees. If necessary, continue smoking until turkey is cooked, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Mango salsa

Makes about 3 cups

3 cups peeled diced mango (1 mango)

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and toss to mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve within 1 hour.

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