Best smoker for a confined space | Go for a stovetop smoker or a smoking gun

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  April 25, 2022

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If you are a fan of smoked meat but you simply do not have the space for a full-blown backyard BBQ smoker, then you’ll be shopping around for an alternative.

Because is it possible to adopt a smoker in your small kitchen space? Luckily the answer to this question is an emphatic yes!

Smoker For A Confined Space

The best smoker for a small space is a stove top smoker. They are compact and affordable and even the smallest kitchen will have space for one. Another good option is a smoking gun.

Let’s dive into these alternatives to bigger smokers so you can figure out if they are the right option for you.

What is a stove top smoker?

The best smokers for small spaces are compact and portable. They are easy to store away, fit on any countertop and are easy to clean.

A stove top smoker is essentially a pot with a lid on top. It’s a great option if you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive.

You can also find some very affordable versions available online.

Pros & cons of a stove top smoker

This style of smoker does not require any fuel source other than the heat from your stove. For this reason, they are perfect for people who don’t have access to electricity.

However, because these stoves rely on direct heat, you may have to keep an eye out for flare-ups.


  • Simple design
  • Easy to clean


  • Not suitable for large quantities of food
  • May not be able to handle high temperatures
  • Flare-up risk

How to use a stove top smoker

To get started using a stove top smoker, first place a metal pan inside the pot. Then add water so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the pan.

Next, put a tight-fitting lid on top of the pot. Finally, turn on the burner underneath the pot and let it heat up until it gets hot enough to start smoking.

Once the temperature has reached the right level, remove the lid and begin adding ingredients like herbs, spices, or sauces.

After about 30 minutes, you should be ready to serve your dish.

Here is Emeril with some more instructions:

What can you smoke in a stove top smoker?

You might not be looking to smoke larger meats like brisket and large joints of pork, but you’ll easily be able to smoke chicken drumsticks, mackerel or vegetables.

In general, the more delicate the item, the shorter the cooking time. So, if you want to smoke fish, you’ll probably only need to leave it for 10 to 15 minutes.

On the other hand, if you want to roast potatoes, you’ll need to give them at least 45 minutes to one hour.

When it comes to smoking, the key thing to remember is that you can always increase the temperature.

This means that you could potentially smoke longer without burning anything.

How expensive is a stove top smoker?

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to smoke food, then a stove top smoker is definitely worth considering. They tend to cost around $40 to $60 dollars.

While this price point isn’t exactly pocket change, it’s still much cheaper than purchasing a full-blown smoker.

So, if you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive, then a stove top model is a great option.

If you want to try out stove top smoking first, you can try to make your own stove top smoker

What is a smoking gun?

Breville smoking gun for smoking in confines small spaces

(view more images)

A smoking gun is a small device that you can use to cold smoke meat and other foods that is simply wrapped in foil or a plastic container.

It is a very cheap alternative for anyone who is looking to smoke things in a confined space.

The main benefit of this device is that it allows you to smoke foods quickly. Because the process takes less time, you won’t have to worry about overcooking your food.

It is a great way to experiment with smokey flavors in your kitchen, without needing to fire up a complete BBQ.

However, while it works well for quick smokes, it doesn’t allow you to control the temperature as well as a regular smoker would.

As the smoking gun is only suitable for cold smoking, you need to make sure to properly cook or cure the food before smoking.

How expensive is a smoking gun?

A smoking gun is a relatively inexpensive way to smoke food. While they aren’t quite as expensive as a traditional smoker, they do come with some drawbacks.

For starters, most guns cannot reach the high levels of heat as a full-sized smoker. You need to cook the food beforehand and use the smoking gun to simply add a smokey flavor.

Another drawback is that most models don’t come with a smoking box. You will have to come up with your own solution to contain the food and the smoke while smoking.

Usually this is a glass or metal container.

Stove top or smoker: which one should I buy?

There really isn’t a clear winner when it comes to which type of smoker is better. Both options offer their own unique benefits.

If you’re looking to spend a little bit more money, then you should consider buying a full-size smoker. These types of smokers usually include all of the bells and whistles.

It’s important to note that there are different types of smokers available. Some are designed specifically for outdoor grilling. Others are made for indoor use.

Regardless of whether you’re planning on using it outdoors or indoors, you’ll want to make sure that you buy a quality unit.

Quality smokers are built to last. They feature sturdy construction and durable materials.

On the other hand, if money is tight or you simply don’t have the space for a big smoker unit, then a stove top smoker or a simple smoking gun is a good choice.

These are both solid options, so it really depends on what you’re looking for.

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From basic stove top units to full-fledged smokers, there are tons of options out there.

If you have little space in your home but you still want to smoke your meats or vegetables, then a stove top smoker or a smoking gun will certainly be practical alternatives.

Don’t have a smoker, but you do have a good grill? Turn your grill into a smoker like this!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.