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Is it safe to use a smoker indoors?

I recently saw an episode of Jamie Oliver where he created a stovetop smoker using a cracker box and wood shavings. Then, the other night, a friend gave me a mesquite log. I talked about using it in my oven and he warned not to use it indoors, as it releases carbon monoxide. Now I am paranoid about burning wood indoors and wonder what is and isn't poisonous.

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

asked over 4 years ago
7 answers 4561 views

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added over 4 years ago

Um, having used a similar setup on my BBQ, I would say your problem isn't carbon monoxide, it's that your entire kitchen will fill with thick smoke every time you open the over door.

In my opinion, this is a BAD idea.


Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years ago

We have a stovetop smoker that we use inside - it leaks just a teeny bit of smoke but the fan takes care of it - you use the chips designed for it - more like sawdust. Works fine! I would not, however, put a log in the oven. Mesquite is some pretty sturdy smoke, too, so if you use it on your BBQ grill you might want to start sparingly ....


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 4 years ago

Peter and your friend are right. No logs burned indoors because of carbon monoxide and the fact that your house will smell like a fire pit.


Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

Here's a product you might like. "The Smoking Gun". Designed for indoor use.
It basically looks like something you'd smoke 'other items' in.
A pipe bowl..a tube..and a small motor. You fill the bowl with wood shavings light them, and put the tube in a covered container filled with the items you want to smoke.
it has the advantage in that it can add smoke flavor to items like veggies that would wilt under hot smoking.

added over 4 years ago

@Sam1148 - this is so great! How do you find all this information?


Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

@skk I've been lusting after one of those for a couple of years. I think first saw in Popular Science (an article about PolyScience--the company that makes the anti-griddle and other 'tech' kitchen stuff for Modernest cooking).

Unfortunately, I'm in a self imposed ban from bringing home any more gadgets until I follow the "one goes in..and another gets toss rule" in our tiny kitchen. I'd love to make a green tea smoked cold soba noodles with that tho. Come to think of it--I rarely use that crock pot....yes CROCK POT, I'm LOOKING AT YOU.

If you do get one...I might suggest a 'wood rasp' Anitalectric could use a wood rasp to make her own shavings off the log she received.

added over 4 years ago

Two reasons not to do this inside: 1. Carbon monoxide kills; 2. Mesquite smoke will stink up the house for a long time. Could do something similar inside the firebox of your fireplace, with the damper wide open. Suggest building a small fire 1st to get a draft going up the chimney. Safer & simpler: do it outdoors!