From slabs of salmon to peppers and pork and wheels of Gouda, there’s something so enticing about that woody, chest-burning smell that comes from cooking with a little bit of heat and a heavy dose of smoke. But as much as we love smoked dishes, imparting those deep flavors at home can seem particularly challenging. Between the variety of woods and figuring out where to set up a pit, you might even think smoking’s just for the professionals.
But I’ll let you in on a secret: If you have a steamer, you have a (makeshift) smoker. In vegetarian chef Richard Buckley’s new cookbook, Plants Taste Better, he explains how:
Put a piece of foil on the base of the steamer saucepan to prevent the chips from discoloring. Put the smoking chips on the foil and heat the saucepan on a medium-high heat until the chips burn. (If they don’t burn, then use a blowtorch, lighter or match.) Once they are burning well, put on the steamer basket (containing the ingredients intended to smoke) and then put on the lid. Turn down the heat to medium and leave for 1-15 minutes until the desired level of smokiness is achieved.
Neat! Just don’t plan on smoking bacon in the steamer—this hack works best with produce, like potatoes, carrots, beets, or kale. Save your meats and fish (and s’mores) for the pit.
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