Smoking in an Apartment





Introduction: Smoking in an Apartment

I live in a country where 82% of people live in apartments, where the concept of having a backyard or any space to smoke meat is most uncommon. So I set out to try and see if it is possible to do this indoors without involving fire-fighters, hazmat suits or N95 masks. As it turns out, stove-top smoking is not that unusual in many countries, but looking for the necessary equipment here would definitely be challenging. Hence this instructable, and hopefully more foolhardy souls can give it a try too, that smoking meat in relatively confined spaces is not impossible...

This instructable will NOT be covering how to dress or marinade the meat; I use various rubs and mustards myself, here I will focus just on the smoking part.

Step 1: Start With Wood Chips or Pellets

Aluminium foil with a handful of pellets (if you use wood chips, soak them first). A 12" x 12" piece will suffice.

Step 2: Make Your Smoke Pouch

Fold the aluminium foil (with the pellets inside) into a pouch, and vigorously puncture the top with a fork. This will allow the smoke to escape.

Step 3: Smoke Prep, Part 2

Place aluminium pouch into the centre of a deep grill pan. My grill pan is about 4" deep.

Step 4: Prep the Drip Tray

Aluminium foil again, over a small baking tray that should fit just at the bottom of the grill pan. This is for easy cleanup. You can also use those disposable aluminium trays.

Step 5: Prep the Grill

Drip tray goes over the pouch with wood chips, and then a baking or oven grill goes on top of the drip tray. In order to keep the smoking environment moist, i usually pour some apple cider vinegar and beer (well, save at least half the beer for yourself) into the drip tray. Other combinations: pear cider, apple cider (the main reason is to just pour out a bit for the smoking and drink the rest yourself. It's an excellent reason to smoke meat)

Step 6: Meat On!

Slap your marinated meat right in the centre, stick an oven safe thermometer deep into the meat. I use a digital thermometer so that i can monitor the temperature of the cooking meat better.

Step 7: Build Your Tent

Grab some large aluminium foil, and build a tent over the whole setup. Scrunch up the edges as tightly as possible; you want minimal smoke escaping into your apartment.

Step 8: Start Smoking!

Turn the heat up high, and wait for the chips/pellets to start burning. Due to the low availability of O2 in the smoking chamber you just built, you will quickly generate loads of smoke. The moment you start to see smoke escaping from the edges, you have just started smoking meat.

Let this process continue for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn the heat down low, and continue cooking/smoking for about an hour or two (i usually buy about a kilogramme [that's 2.2 lbs for you imperialists] of meat). Monitor the heat as much as possible. I sometimes have to turn off the heat for a while to reduce the temperature. You will want to stop when your meat thermometer hits the minimum safe temperature for your meat.

Main point about this is, you want the cooking part to be as slow as possible, to stretch the time it takes to get the meat from room temperature to the safe (USDA, etc) temperature.

Oh. Open your windows. Wide. Full blast on the fans.

Step 9: You Are Smoked!

At the right temperature, you know you are done. Turn off the fire, netflix and chill a bit, and open up your masterpiece. This part is important: let the meat rest for at least 30 minutes, for the juices inside to mush around a bit more.

Step 10: Crisp It Up Just Before Serving, If You Wanna

If you like, you can slather on some BBQ sauce and crisp your meat out in the oven on high (around 200 C) until you see fat bubbling or severe 3rd degree burns over at least 80% of your meat. Remember that your meat is already done, so don't take too long for this.

Step 11:

Rest your meat a little more, cut and serve, smug that you have just provided a neanderthally processed meal for your family.

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    45 Discussions

    Interesting, I'm tempted to try this. Is the smoke enough to set a smoke alarms off though and what about carbon monoxide? .... Mmm I'm getting worried now.

    1 reply

    Well, i would only attempt this on a day with no rain and my windows can be wide open; the smoke is definitely not enough to set off any alarms - the whole idea of the foil tent is to confine the smoke as much as possible. However, be prepared that your kitchen will smell most wonderful for a few days :-)

    I'm from Russia, we can do everything! But I really liked this method. When I served in the Soviet army, we used an old refrigerator, and an electric dust on the medical bath, something to smoke the meat of deer or fish. In the tub with sawdust included electric heater placed at the bottom of the refrigerator is not working, put back the fish or meat. A day later everything was done!


    1 year ago

    Brilliant, I am going home to do this.

    "I live in a country where 82% of people live in apartments"

    Where do you live?

    Nice tutural…need to see how small the wood chips are thought if you please.

    1 reply

    I just updated the instructable with a picture of the pellets i use, but the actual amount I use each time is "a handful"; roughly 2 to 3 tablespoons (I guess..). BY the way, Singapore is the 19th smallest country in the world (277 sq miles) with about 5.4 million people piled on top - hence the apartments :-) We also have a dubious honor of having the most flagrantly inflated car prices in the world.

    This is neat, but why not just do this same method, but in the oven as low as it will go?

    5 replies

    Low temp in the oven isn't high enough to make the wood chips smoke. In this method the chips are in almost direct contact with the heat source. I might try an indirect method though... Put the chips toward one end where the heat is applied and put the meat on the other side, away from direct heat. In theory this should provide a deeper smoke ring in the meat at the expense of a longer cooking time.

    I don't have a gas stove, so I can't do this, but I loved the idea. I have a tiny bit of a concrete porch off of my kitchen. Could this be done oustide with a Rocket Stove??

    I would imagine this method would work on gas or electric. I haven't tried it yet but there are stovetop smoker boxes on Amazon that say "works on any heat source" so I figure it should work on electric.

    I guess that makes sense with a electric stove with that metal ring, but I've got a glass top stove so I'm not sure what I can get away with without potentially damaging it.. It does get hot enough to burn a forgotten pot of ramen to char........ So it may get hot enough to do this as well. I'll check out the Amazon products and see if anyone has any experience with glass tops. I might just relegate this to the "Cool but don't try it" bin for now. Still gotta build my rocket stove too.

    Didn't even think about that. Awesome points!

    I'll give it a try, and share experience.. tks

    Voted. I have a yard and a smoker (and a chef husband), but this is so danged clever and accurate. And that half a beer--great excuse to smoke meat, indeed! I bet the apartment smells fabulous afterward.

    Wow. This is great stuff even for those of us Imperialists who prefer to do it indoors in bad weather!

    5 replies

    I really wish this would have been a little bit more detailed. Still not sure where the wood chips and drip pan go? Cannot tell from pictures alone. ..

    The tin foil package with pellets/wood chips go in the bottom of the cooking pan, the drip pan on top of that and then the grate with the meat. See step 5, it's all there.

    thanks jimbru - i just ripped out a quick sketchup and added to the post - should be clearer for all now - did not expect so many people to be interested...

    Nice picture! Very clear, looks professional :-)