(Photos: Paul Harrison)
(Photos: Paul Harrison)

Living in New York City has a lot of good things going for it — and its fair share of drawbacks. Not having outdoor space for a smoker is a prime example. There are some yards scattered around, but they are few and far between. So up until recently, smoking was not really an option for me. Then my wonderful girlfriend got me a stovetop smoker, a device I had no idea existed, and the game has now changed. This simple gadget uses a hot smoking process, as opposed to cold smoking, which takes much longer and only uses smoke, no heat. This means it gets the job done pretty quickly. And since hot smoked salmon from Zabar’s on the Upper West Side is one of my favorite things, I was stoked to try this bad boy out.

Step 1: Pull all the pieces of the smoker apart.

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Step 2: Lay the wood chips out along the bottom of the main pan; you’ll notice that the wood chips I used are chopped up into really small pieces, and that’s what you’re going to want to use here. If you use big chips, the rest of the apparatus won’t fit together properly, and you also won’t get the level of smoke you need.

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Step 3: Line the drip tray with foil for easier cleanup (optional but recommended), and set on top of the wood chips.

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Step 4: Put the cooking grate into the drip pan.
Step 5: Put a little oil in a small dish, dip a paper towel in it and use that to oil the cooking grates.
Step 6: Season your salmon fillet. I used a mix of salt and brown sugar. It was a good call.

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Step 7: Put the salmon onto the cooking grate.

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Step 8: Close the lid, turn the heat to medium on your stove and wait until you see the first wisp of smoke escaping from the corner. At that point, set your timer for 25 minutes and enjoy the smell.

That’s it. Super-easy, super-delicious and totally different from your normal salmon dinner. If you don’t have space for a traditional smoker (or the time to cold-smoke stuff) but still want to be able to impart that wonderful smoky flavor to food, this is your best option for a reasonable price.

Stovetop smoker, $47.95 on Amazon