How to smoke fish (and other food)

Instructive pictures

Dutch version of this page

1. The smoker

The parts of a smokerOn the left my smoker, which I got in 1988. I use it regularly, and still functions great. Newer smokers may look different, but essentially they work in the same way.

1 - The box.
2 - The foot of the smoker where you place the burner. But you can also place the box directly on the stove..
3 - The dripping tray.
4 - The grids. In this smoker you can smoke two layers at the same time..
5 - The lid.
6 - The burner. Fuel: burning paste.
7 - The lid of the burner. Can be used as measuring spoon for the sawdust: one spoonful is enough to smoke a whole side of salmon.

Preparation of the smoker
Cured fillets of salmon trout just before smokingTo prepare your smoker, cover the bottom of the smoker with aluminium foil, shiny side up. On this you sprinkle the sawdust (woodchips work better in a cold smoker or on the bbq). Now you put in the dripping tray, and one or both of the greased grids. The food that is to be smoked you place on the grid. Close the smoker and put it on the burner or the stove. Use a large burner on the stove. First turn the heat on high until the sawdust starts to smoke (couple of minutes), then lower the heat.
On the picture to the right there are two layers of salmon trout, salted and dried but not yet smoked.

Smoker on the stove
The closed smoker on the stove
Sawdust before smoking
The sawdust before smoking
Sawdust after smoking
The sawdust after smoking

2. Smoking food in an ordinary pan

Picture on the left: Line a large cooking pan crosswise with two layers of aluminium foil, shiny side up. Sprinkle the sawdust on the foil. Using something to create some distance (little empty cans of tomato purée) place a plate as dripping tray. Use a fitting grid or something like bamboo skewers which have been steeped in water for half an hour. Place the food on the grid or skewers.
Picture on the right: The closed pan. The lid is also covered with alufoil, which is krinkled together with the overhanging foil from the pan to close it off.
Picture on the left: Smoked salmon filet.
Picture on the right: The sawdust on the bottom of the pan after smoking. You can see that the sawdust has not been burned everywhere. Maybe the pan was off center.

3. Smoking food in a wok

In the picture on the right you see the mixture of tealeaves, rice and spices before (lefthand side) and after (righthand side) smoking.

On the left is the wok (with a lid from another pan), with the aluminium foil krinkled shut.
On the left you see the smoked cod just after removing the lid from the wok. You can even see the smoke still rising from the fuel.

I hope to have shown here that you do not necessarily need to buy a smoker to smoke food.
How long the pan or smoker needs to be heated, and how high or low that heat must be, that you will have to find out for yourself. I have given some indications, but so much depends on the material of the smoker/pan, the degree of curing/drying, the quality of the smoking fuel, that I can't give exact data..

All descriptions of ingredients

The editions below are in my possession. Links refer to available editions.
All books mentioned on this site (with short reviews)