As I mentioned, I received a stove top smoker from Santa this Christmas. Thinking about this I realize that perhaps “Santa” saw the benefit of this kitchen appliance when he realized I could now smoke small amounts of meat, fish, etc. without him having to pull out the big outdoor smoker and tend to the fire for hours at a time! No matter. I’m happy to oblige him by smoking everything possible (size is the limiting factor) on top of the stove. Take ribs, for example.
Not long ago one of our grocery stores had a pork baby back rib sale. Buy one rack and get two free. And yes, the one rack was a bit expensive. But the cost, averaged over three racks, was really reasonable. And so much cheaper than going out for ribs. So I got three, we used one and froze the other two. Last week, while planning the menu, the ribs came to mind. I decided to smoke them. Normally we don’t smoke our ribs – just season them, throw them on the grill and serve them with barbecue sauce. But the best ribs are smoked. So here was my chance to have really good ribs without waiting until George could fire up the big smoker.
I began by rubbing the defrosted ribs with a seasoning mix consisting of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayene, thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper. I returned the ribs to the refrigerator for about an hour to let the seasoning do its magic.
The recipe I used tells you to begin by heating the oven to 300 degree F. I placed 1/4 cup of Hickory wood chips into the bottom of the smoker. Just to be clear, these wood “chips” are more like wood shavings. As you can see in this picture they are very small – not the big chips you use when smoking in a larger outdoor smoker.
Then I covered the drip pan in foil – a tip I strongly urge anyone to follow as it really makes clean up easier – added the smoker rack and the rack of ribs, cut in half to fit into the smoker. The smoker lid goes on and is left slightly ajar so you can see when the wood actually begins to smoke. I put the smoker on my griddle burner. This is only the second time I have used the griddle burner on this stove since I purchased the range two years ago. The other time was when I smoked the tasso! Using my griddle on the griddle burner takes up too much of the stove, rendering the other burners unavailable. But I digress.
After the smoke begins to wisp out of the smoker the cover gets completely closed and the smoker goes into the preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Just a note – turn on your exhaust fan as soon as you start smoking to keep the smoke out of the kitchen. This is one of those times when I am so thankful for an externally vented exhaust fan. The smoke goes outside instead of recirculating in the kitchen, especially important as it seems that smoke detectors today are super sensitive.
I checked the ribs at about 2 hours and they smelled fantastic. Just like a barbecue joint. But they weren’t done yet. The recipe called for the ribs to be coated with barbecue sauce and broiled until they were nicely browned. Not in this house. Out to the grill. George took the ribs right from the smoker out to the preheated grill and finished them, without sauce, on the grill. At the last minute he basted them with a little sauce, let that get a little caramelized, and we were ready to eat. I served the ribs with homemade coleslaw and seasoned potato wedges that I ‘baked’ in a covered pan on top of the stove. There were a few ribs left over. Lunch!