From chicken wings to your favorite cheeses, this inexpensive stovetop smoker will change your life. 
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Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Smoked foods are always extra special. That deep, earthy flavor that smoke brings to foods is unlike any other, and while restaurants seem to be going all in on smoking foods, it might be time to do it yourself. 

In the past, smoking foods with an outdoor smoker was all about that low and slow cooking. Meats take hours to infuse with the flavor, so it can be somewhat fussy to maintain the levels of heat and smoke for those ideal conditions. This is great when you have a lovely summer's weekend day or vacation time to invest in that style of cooking. But that shouldn't mean you need to give up that succulent taste during the cold weather months, or when you don't have hours—or a backyard—to devote to your cooking.

The secret to smoking your own foods no matter where you live: the Camerons Stovetop Smoker

And then I discovered the Camerons Stovetop Smoker! This affordable lidded pan ($24.99 on Amazon) works its wonders with a special sawdust that smokes your food right on your cooktop. You get all the amazing flavor in a fraction of the time, and you don't need a backyard (or even a deck). 

Smoking more than meats with the Camerons Stovetop Smoker

I've found that this smoker is ideal not just for bringing smoky flavor to proteins like chicken parts, pork chops or steaks, but also for smoking vegetables and making smoked cheeses, and hot-smoked fish and seafood. I use mine to smoke a combination of tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and mozzarella to toss with pasta, or to smoke chicken breasts and romaine halves for a warm take on a Caesar salad. It is also great to smoke a combination of tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapenos for a smoky salsa. I particularly love making large batches of smoked onions to stash in the freezer to add oomph to all kinds of dishes.

The best meats to smoke in the Camerons Stovetop Smoker

While it is not ideal for the low and slow smoked cooking of cuts of meat that require a long cook to infuse with smoke and tenderize, fast-cooking meats work well, especially cuts like skirt steaks or lamb chops. And I'm confident that smoked chicken wings basted in barbecue sauce will be your new favorite party snack. 

Credit: Courtesy Amazon

How the Camerons Stovetop Smoker works

The smoker is easy and intuitive to use: You add a measured amount of wood sawdust to the bottom of the pan, put the rack over, and add your food. Then you slide on the lid, which seals tight to keep the smoke in, and cook on your stovetop. Meats often benefit from a post-smoking sear, since this style of cooking does not give you browning. There are many different woods to choose from, including intense flavors like hickory or mesquite, or more subtle flavors like applewood or pecan. You can even blend your own mixes: A combination of hickory and apple is great on pork; hickory and pecan are terrific for chicken; and mesquite and apple are wonderful for smoked cheeses.

Is the Camerons Stovetop Smoker worth the price? 

One of the best things about the Stovetop Smoker is its affordability. At under $25, it is an easy thing to take a chance on, and the sawdust tubs are equally affordable. Despite being so well-priced, the unit is solidly made and durable—I have had mine for nearly two decades and it is going strong. The stay-cool handles fold up for easy storage, and the sawdust tubs can be stored inside. It takes up about the same amount of space as a large skillet.

To buy:  Camerons Stovetop Smoker ($24.99),