You Can Use Your CrockPot as a Smoker

August 07, 2016

I was trying to figure out how to get a smoky flavor without turning on the barbecue because I've got to be honest with you, that thing scares me.

[originally posted in 2008, during my year of slow cooking. :-)]

Did you know you could use your crockpot slow cooker to make a smoker?!  I was trying to figure out how to get a smoky flavor without turning on the barbecue because I've got to be honest with you, that thing scares me.






Day 220.

Alternative title: CrockPot Smoked Brisket Recipe

I have been reading Jared's blog, the CrockPot Alchemist, with interest this year. 

He has the same think-out-of-the-box (crock!) mentality I seem to have when it comes to crockpotting, and not only does he come across as an awfully nice guy you'd like to have dinner with, he is quite funny.

Jared likes things to taste smokey.
He uses Liquid Smoke, and has written about how it isn't a super-scary-chemical-concoction.

But I can't find it. I've looked in about 6 grocery stores around here, and just. can't. find. it. I've emailed a few people who have given me liquid smoke recipes and they can find it at Walmart


We don't have Walmart here. I guess I need to take a Walmart field trip, which is fine by me, because they have the most comfortable tank tops I've ever worn, and I'd like to stock up on layering options for fall. (in case you were wondering. you may have been.)


(PS -- this was written a long time ago. I now know where Liquid Smoke is at my grocery store. ;-)  )

Anyways---since I couldn't find any liquid smoke, and because I was spurred on by the Last Food Network Star when the comedian guy built a smoker, I turned the crockpot into a smoker yesterday.And it totally worked.

The Ingredients.


3 to 4 lbs beef brisket or comparable hunk o' meat
1 to 2 cups mesquite wood chips (depends on size of crockpot), soaked

--favorite spice rub. I used McCormick's Roasting Rub.
--1/2 cup of water. or beer. or wine. or broth.
--parchment paper

The Directions.


Soak your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes, and drain the water.
Spread out a good-sized length of parchment paper on the counter, and put the wood chips inside.

















Fold over the edges of the paper to enclose the wood chips and make a packet, similar to a foil packet (I was worried foil would rust), that fits inside your crockpot completely.

Put it in.


With scissors, cut teeny tiny holes here and there in the top level of the parchment paper to let smoky steam escape.

 
Rub all sides of your meat with spice rub. Put it in the crockpot, directly on top of the parchment paper packet (lots of Ps, there).


Cover with whatever liquid you are going to use. I stuck with water.

Put the lid on and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The meat is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired tenderness. I wanted ours to fall apart, and cooked it on low for 9 hours.


The Verdict.

It worked!

The parchment didn't disintegrate, and the wood chips never touched the meat. The brisket was flavorful and had a definite smoky flavor in each bite.

My spice rub was quite peppery, so after the first few bites, I mostly tasted pepper, but the smoke was infused.


The kids loved it, and called it "the best steak my mom has ever made in the crockpot." It cracks me up that they included the "in the crockpot" part.

I have POUNDS of mesquite chips left, and am interested in smoking some salmon.
Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at August 07, 2016

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Comments

  1. Okay, I have been reading your blog since January and can't wait to check it each morning to see what you have done once again. This is amazing. I have 4 different sized crockpots that are grossly underused. You have just proven to me that you can do ANYTHING in the crockpot and I think I will utilize it more now. Keep it up!!

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  2. Wow! I'm stunned. Did the chips actually heat to the point where they gave off smoke? If so, I'll bet you didn't want to lift the lid of your crock too much. :)

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  3. Hi Maggi,

    I did not lift the lid at all during cooking time, but I think it was mostly steam and not actual smoke that flavored the meat.
    xox
    steph

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  4. Hello crockpot lady,
    your blog and recipes are wonderful.
    But today, I'm more interested in finding out just what kinds of tank tops you're talking about that's so darn comfortable? Please share specific brand names!

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  5. Wow!! You constantly amaze me!
    I love smoked meats, salmon is soon to be running here and they will be plentiful. I'd love to try that here.
    One question, I have a can of Smokehouse wood chips, the size of a tuna can, it has a small hole in the top to let out the smoke flavor as it heats on the grill so it smokes the meat.
    Do you suppose you could stick that in the crock instead of the parchment paper bag of chips? Just wondering...
    I'm so gonna try this, it sounds fabulous!

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  6. That sounds delicious!

    You inspire me, your recipes always sound delicious and I'm so glad I found your blog! I wish I could remember whose I found it through, but sometimes it's one link leads to another, and then before you know it, you've forgotten how you got somewhere!

    I've sent your blog link to several of my family who love to cook, and need new ideas. You're always so creative.

    I cooked a ham in mine a few weeks ago and although no one could tell me I couldn't do it, no one could tell me that they had done it. But it turned out so well and it kept the kitchen from getting hot and was delicious, just putting the ham in there with a Coke poured over it. Southern cuisine at its finest:)

    Thanks for inspiring me!

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  7. I had no idea....off to the freezer to thaw a big "hunk o meat"!!!!

    If you continue to not find liquid smoke, I'll be happy to ship some to you ~ just because I'm dying to see what amazing recipe you'll think up to use it!!! :)

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  8. MUST Try this!!! What a fantastic idea Steph!!!

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  9. WOW! That sounds awesome! I can't wait to try this one.

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  10. Wow, this was such a great idea! How inventive. I now wish I had a brisket waiting for me in the freezer. Maybe I can try it with chicken breasts or *gasp* turkey legs! Oh me oh my! thanks for the inspiration....

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  11. can't wait to try this!!! brilliant!

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  12. I'm guessing that you do not live south of the Mason-Dixon? We have it in abundance - yet another blessing of being Southern! Thanks for sharing your crocking quest - it's great!

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  13. Now that's being creative in the kitchen!! I have a recipe for Kalua Pork that uses liquid smoke and you cook in the oven. I'm thinking it might work using your method in the crock pot! BTW...I can find liquid smoke in most all the grocery stores here in Utah. I find it in the ketchup isle...usually on the top shelf by the "Kitchen Bouquet" browning sauce. Thanks for all your great recipes, and for inspiring me to use my slow cooker more!!
    Cindi

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  14. I don't even like beef but heck, that actually sounds good enough that I might try it!
    I wonder if liquid smoke is even gluten free? hmm... who cares- I like your quick and easy recipe even without it.
    I may try it with Red Bridge though.

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  15. Wow, I am so intrigued. (I have seen liquid smoke, but I have always steered clear of it.)

    Do try the salmon - I am even more intrigued by that. (I have heard of cooking salmon on a plank of wood...)

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  16. That is a wicked awesome idea.

    Liquid smoke kinda freaks me out. I can't wait to try this.

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  17. Wow! Who would have thought it could be done?

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  18. Oh wow, Steph! I never even thought of this technique before. That looks like some delicious brisket. Adam was my favorite on The Next Food Network Star! I was bummed when he didn't win :( If you ever watched Top Chef, the one guy with the blonde mohawk (can't think of his name) made this AMAZING brisket using brown sugar and mustard. When I find the recipe, you HAVE to try it.

    By the way, I made a blog! It's about time.

    http://acupofjoanna.blogspot.com/

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  19. About liquid smoke.....
    I understand why some people are leary of this product...because I was too! It just sounded kinda funky! I had never bothered to read the ingredients list...I just never wanted to try it. Then I tried it in the Kalua Pork recipe, and it was so good! My daughter-in-law is a Celiac, and she can eat this with no problem, so I know there is no gluten in it. Here are the list of ingredients on my bottle of "Colgin Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke":water, natural hickory smoke flavor, vinegar, molasses, caramel color and salt.

    My friend makes the most delicious beef jerkey, and she uses this brand of liquid smoke in her marinade. Give it a try...you just might like it!

    Cindi

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  20. I was just going to post a comment about wanting a crockpot brisket recipe, since weare trying that in the crock today as well - you beat me to it! We didn't use the chips but may try it next time- thanks!

    Kim

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  21. wow! How smart are you! Brilliant!

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  22. I just happened to pick up a bottle at Safeway. Do you have a Safeway near you? I was planning on making pulled pork bbq sandwiches in my crock while on family vacation next week. I'll send the recipe if it turns out!

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  23. Sorry, I didn't mean to be so unclear. I just picked up a bottle of LIQUID SMOKE from Safeway.

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  24. I have never made a brisket but have definitely used Liquid Smoke. Great stuff. I can't wait to try this recipe.

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  25. I just bought you some Liquid Smoke. Shipping address?

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  26. As a thank you for sharing such great recipes everyday, I would love to send you a bottle of Liquid Smoke. Email me your address! :-)

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  27. I think I love you. Smoke, it's what's for dinner. ;)
    Wait, that sounds like a commercial for Camel, or something.
    I have fond memories of hickory smoked turkey from my father, and my husband has no clue. I am GOING to do this. SOON.

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  28. SO I think I read your blog everyday not only for the great recipe ideas but for your random comments about whatever is in your head! I too love Walmarts tanks and have many in different colors! I will definetely try this smoking idea. Looks like fun!

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  29. We live in Alaska, and because of this, my husband goes dipnetting for salmon every year. This year, he only brought home 26, including several Kings, one of which weighed 65 lbs. Anyway, we smoke a lot of salmon. This year, it turned out the best yet. I could literally get sick on smoked salmon. It could be viewed by some as an addiction, I think. Just wanted to let you know that, in my opinion, smoked salmon won't disappoint you. Ever.

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  30. I buy my Liquid Smoke at Safeway. It is by the steak sauce. Let me know if you can't find it and I'd be happy to send you some!

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  31. Wow! I would never have thought you could smoke meat in the crockpot. I'm glad I have you to try all these things out!
    As far as the liquid smoke, I've always gotten it at my local grocery stores, Winco and Safeway. I believe it is down by the BBQ sauce in Winco. It's in a small square bottle, kinda like a little bottle of soy sauce. I don't know if you have Winco or not so this may not help. :) I could always mail you a bottle if you continue having trouble finding it.

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  32. One should be able to purchase liquid smoke in ANY grocery store in the U.S.
    I laughed when you soaked the wood chips and then THREW AWAY the water.
    You could have boiled the water with the wood chips in it and that would have tasted like mesquite.
    Next time you go to the store ask someone who works there!Find the manager and he will know if they have it.If not than can order it for you.

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  33. Where do you live that you don't have a Wal-Mart near you? :-)

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  34. oh you guys are so funny. okay. the kids and I went for a walk and went BACK to the Safeway where I couldn't find it a bunch of times that I looked. I asked someone who worked there, and we stood in the condiment aisle for a good 10 minutes before I found it. 1 kind, 1 brand, and it WAS in a squarish bottle, and didn't look like what I thought it would look like.

    I still didn't buy it (it was $4.95, and I'm not absolutely certain yet how I'll use it) but now I know exactly where to go.

    thank you.
    the Internet rocks.
    you all ROCK.
    xox
    steph

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  35. wow, i cant belive such a hard time finding liquid smoke. i have it by the gallon at our house. (we also live in the south, its pretty much manditory) but i crock an awesome pork roast in liquid smoke and water with some bbq rub. when its done i shred it with bbq sauce. yum!

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  36. Steph,

    I appreciate the shout out. You are far too kind to me. Love the smoker concept. Way to take it to the next level. Sorry to hear you are having problems finding liquid smoke, but it looks like you are quite good at improvising.

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  37. I can mail you some liquid smoke if you like .. just in case you don't get to Wal-Mart anytime soon!

    Will have to try this AND his site.

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  38. This sounds wonderful! I can't wait to hear how your salmon turns out!!! YUM!

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  39. Okay, now THIS I'm gonna have to try! I have made a number of your dishes/recipes and they have ACTUALLY been a hit with my family! Surprise, surprise. You go girl! I would be more than happy to send you some liquid smoke! Here in the "Big Easy", it's everywhere!! Let me know! ;)

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  40. This is a tremendous idea! I'm going to share it with my hubby who will certainly want to try it.

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  41. Publix has liquid smoke too if you have one of those. Here's what I do with it and a brisket. Just before bed, put the brisket in the crock along with the whole bottle of LS. Cook on low all night. In the morning drain the meat. Put it back in the crock and cover with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook on low all day. I used about 2/3 of the bottle until the meat fell apart. Then I shredded the meat and added the rest of the sauce. This is the best BBQ meat you'll ever taste. It's SO GOOD. Thanks for the blog. I am loving your blog and the recipes. My family is thankful too.

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  42. I was just wondering if crock-pot smoking would work. I polled my smoking friends who said no way. Now I can prove them wrong!

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  43. Very interesting concept! I'm thinking that you could have used foil. It's aluminum...doesn't rust.

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  44. Two things: Yes, Liquid smoke is gluten free.

    Liquid Smoke should be in with the other condiments (ketchup, chili sauce, worcestershire, etc..) and it's a very small squarish bottle, and there is usually one row of it so it sort of blends in...mine was found at the very top shelf wedged between rows of worcestershire and somethign else that didnt' make sense....basically, ask your customer service at your grocery store, they will look it up in their system and direct you...

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  45. Okay, so I did it the lazy way. Soaked my wood chips, dumped them in the crock pot, put some poked foil on top and put a hunk a meat on there. Worked fine. Definitely smokey in flavor, but also dry. I don't know why. Anyways, would have been great for pulled pork or beed sandwich meat, or maybe fish. Our steaks were wonderful in flavor, but pretty mucky otherwise. I think that by cooking on the foil, or not in the juices, dried it out. Not sure how to go around that, but I will definitely be trying again. On a good note, tasted kind of like beef jerky. . . any jerky for the crock pot coming?

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  46. wow!!! Im going to tell my husband.. even though we just bought a smoker.. maybe I wont and just surprise him hahaa.

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  47. I have smoked chicken in my crockpot as well. It's one whole chicken, salt to taste, and 1/4 cup of liquid smoke. That seems like a lot of liquid smoke but it's really not overpowering. We really like it. It never occurred to me to use wood chips though. That sounds so good! I really enjoy your blog. It is entertaining and you have so many good recipes on here.

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  48. If you smoked salmon in the crockpot - how long would you cook it?

    I have never even thought to do fish in the crockpot...

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  49. Steph- taht sounds like a fantastic idea! I'll have to try that out-either with the chips OR with liquid smoke.

    Have you ever tried making any cajun dishes in your crockpot? Like Red Beans & Rice (you just make the beans in the crock, and serve over rice) my grandma used to make hers in the crockpot- SO SO YUMMY!

    If you are interested in the recipe, drop me an email- sweetsouthernspirited@coxdotnet

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  50. hey really quick, if you do go to walmart on a field trip, their store brand of soy sauce if gf. la choy must make it. it is way cheaper than most of the gf soy sauces. i use soy a ton and was really frustrated when i was diagnosed with celiac b/c of my love for any asian food. the gf soy sauce is usually pretty expensive so i was jazzed to find out about that. passing it along...

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  51. that's it! now I NEED to get to walmart!

    thank you! what a great discovery!
    xxo
    steph

    we use a lot of soy sauce, too.

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  52. Looks delicious! I'm going to have to try this recipe. Have you tried collard greens in the crock pot? I have and absolutely love them! If you like greens, google the crock pot recipe for them or I can send it to you...I have it bookmarked.

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  53. I read a comment about the meat being dry, it may be the cut of meat. If it is too lean, there just won't be enough fat in the meat to keep it moist.
    Thanks for the great recipe. I'm going to try it this week!

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  54. I don't understand how much water you added to the crockpot for this smoked brisket recipe, please. Did you add enough to cover just the wood chip packet or the packet AND the roast? Thank you so much!

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  55. Hi Anon, I soaked the wood chips, then drained them and wrapped them in the parchment. Then I plopped the meat on top and poured 1/2 cup of water over the meat.

    I was worried about the meat drying out, and had never smoked anything before (on the grill, etc.) so didn't really know how to best approach what I was doing.

    I was pleased with the tenderness of the meat and the slight smoky flavor.
    xxo
    steph

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  56. It took me a while to find liquid smoke, too. But it is SO worth looking for. I use it in A LOT of things. Burgers, steak, chili, pork loin (before I went porkless, that is!), even just a little on turkey before you roast it. Yum! I find mine over with the BBQ sauce. If you can't find it near you, you can order it online!
    http://www.amazon.com/Colgin-Natural-Hickory-Liquid-Smoke/dp/B0005Z8NCM/ref=pd_sim_dbs_gro_1/002-9705890-1639226
    http://www.amazon.com/Wrights-Liquid-Smoke-12-count/dp/B00061KZQM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1218476161&sr=1-2

    Hope that helps!

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  57. Such an awesome idea! I am bookmarking it for my notebook this week. You amaze me!!

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  58. this is so neat!

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  59. Can I just say that you are a God send. I consider it a true blessing to have found your blog. My husband bought a huge brisket last year...it has been taking up too much room in my freezer for too long. I had no idea how to cook it since we don't have a grill at the moment (I really didn't want to heat up the house by using the oven either). Anyway, you came through for me...I'm giving it a try tonight!

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  60. Crock Pot lady, You're my hero!

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  61. I was thinking. If your grocery store doesn't carry Liquid Smoke, you can probably ask the manager if they could order some for you. I'm in Los Angeles and I know Ralph's does this. Maybe Safeway will too? Worth a try. Take care!

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  62. What you don't have a Wal-Mart... Do you live in the USA? Hee hee... I have lived in San Diego County and I had 2... When we moved to the backwoods of NW Missouri I was so sick of Wal-Mart!! I had the choice of driving 20 minutes to a regular old Wal-Mart or driving 1 hour to a Super Wal-Mart.. I just about peed my pants when Target came in...

    Okay back to your blog... just love it!! Sorry I missed you on the Rachel Show!! I am determined to try your Creme Brule... I just called my daughter who was heading to Wal-Mart with a shopping list so I can do the smoked brisket!! Thanks so much for being a fantabulous guinea pig!!
    Meg in MO

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  63. Steph...
    Just a quick question? Are you planning a recipe book? If not you should!!

    Meg in MO

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  64. My BIL is a champion smoker...I'll have to try this and send it to my sister.....

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  65. Believe it or not, I always get my liquid smoke at the 99 cents only store! Cheaper than safeway :)

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  66. Wow I want to try this! I have huge piece of meat in the freezer and nothing to use it for. I was going to make pot roast, but I actually don't like pot roast much. Thank you! Now I'm off to find a chicken recipe for today. :)

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  67. I used my CrockPot as a smoker today and it was AMAZING! Thanks for the idea.

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  68. This is SO COOL. I just started reading your blog and you've reinvigorated my interest in my slow cooker. I'm going to try North Carolina Pulled Pork using the CP as a smoker.

    We have some liquid smoke on hand but I love the smell of wood chips.

    Thanks for the ideas!

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  69. Liquid Smoke is over in the aisle with BBQ sauces and such. Ask you grocer to carry it.

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  70. I found liquid smoke at the 99 cent only store in Arizona and am so excited to use it!

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  71. Just made this today, WOW it was great perfect. Will be making this again and soon.

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  72. so...just an idea...since it's dry if you don't add water, what if you WANT it dry, for sort of a "carne seca" effect...I think I will try soaking mesquite bean pods for about an hour, place in crock pot, cover with pierced foil, add meat rubbed with garlic, salt, cumin, and pepper, and cook. After cooking, dry saute some chili, onion, and tomato in a cast iron skillet, and then add shredded roast....hmmmmm....will let you know how it turns out!

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  73. I tried making a smoked whole chicken in a crock pot. I used wood chips, soaked them, and put them in an aluminum foil to make a foil packet.

    I also used Wright's Liquid Smoke, which I found at Smart & Final. None of my grocery stores had them, not even Safeway. Target said they only carried them seasonally, in winter.

    While the chicken had a smokey flavor, it was also bland. I had started to pour the liquid smoke over the chicken, but then it appeared to "wash" / rinse away my seasoning, So I poured the rest of the amount I was going to use, in the bottom of the crock pot.

    So the blandness of the chicken was a disappointment, even though it was smokey.


    Also, the two prior times I tried a seasoned whole chicken, I didn't like the way it came out. I had tried Stephanie's recipe two prior times, and even though they smelled great when they were cooking, the flavor was still light.

    The only whole crockpot chicken I've been able to make to my liking is her lemon rosemary one. I've made that one twice, and it comes out great.

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  74. Trying this today! Been trying to find a none cumbersome way to smoke a roast for beef BBQ meat but not have to babysit a grill! This seems promising.

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  75. Hello! I've just stumbled across your blog while looking for things to smoke in my crockpot, Moore Wilsons (at least the one in Wellington) sells bottles of liquid smoke it's about $20 from memory :)

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  76. I stumbled across this blog, and was intrigued with your idea of using the crock pot as a smoker. I am so going to try this, and I am looking forward to you trying it with salmon...please post about that when you do!

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  77. I tried this this past Monday and couldn't have been more disappointed,the brisket tasted like wood chips. I might as well have just used the water from the soaked wood chips because that's exactly how it tasted.
    I did everything like it said to do with the exception of adding any liquid. The juices from the fat of the brisket came over the top of the parchment paper and the brisket came out tender and juicy so I don't know what I did wrong. I will not be trying this again!

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  78. I used this "method" with a venison roast a few weeks back, but I packed the venison in tin foil before setting it on the packet of wood. That had to be the most tender and tastiest venison I've ever cooked. I love this concept.

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  79. I don't care what anyone says but "smoking" foods with Liquid Smoke is NOT smoking. I have a smoker so I doubt I'll try the crock pot, but I'm sure you got much better results with your method than anyone ever got with Liquid Smoke. Nice creative thinking on your part.

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  80. followed recipe exactly, no smoke, wasted time and meat, won't be trying this again...

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  81. When you say cover with water do you mean put enough water to cover the brisket? Or just enough to cover the parchment packet?

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  82. Hi Steve, great question. I mean pour on the half cup of water/liquid as listed in the recipe. No additional liquid is necessary. No soggy meat, here! 😉

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