Smoking fish not only preserves it, but infuses it with a delicious, subtle smoky flavour that is a real delicacy. Traditional smokers are made from wood and are usually larger than commercially made smokers that come with many barbecue sets, or even stand-alone store-bought smokers. Making your wood fish smoker is relatively simple even for the carpentry-challenged and you can produce wonderfully flavoured fish at home.
Slot 5 pieces of 6-foot, 1-by-5 tongue and groove pine boards together. Remove the tongue from the outermost board. Repeat with 15 more boards, so that you have four panels, measuring 25-inches by 6-foot.
Position 2 pieces 6-foot 1-by-2 lumber along one long side of two of the panels and secure in place with 1 3/4-inch nails and a hammer. These are the sides of the smoker.
Position two lengths of 22-inch 1-by-2 lumber on the top and bottom of the short sides of these two side panels and secure with nails. Position two more 22-inch 1-by-2 pieces centred on the top and bottom of one of the remaining panels (the back) and 5-inches above and below the top and bottom of the last panel (the door).
Measure up 18 inches from the bottom of the side panels and attach a 22-inch length of 1-by-1 inch lumber across the panel with nails. These are shelf cleats (supports). Measure up another 14 inches and attach another cleat to each side panel. Repeat twice more so there are 4 cleats on each side of the side panels.
Stand the side panels upright, with the cleats inward; the 6-foot 1-by-2 planks on the side panels should be opposite each other.
Slot the back over one side of them and secure it to the sides with nails through the back of the back panel into the 6-foot pieces of 1-by-2 on the side panels.
Position 2 pieces of 25-inch 1-by-4 inch lumber between the front of the side pieces at the top and bottom and secure in place with nails.
Secure 2 hinges to one of the door panel with 1/2-inch screws and a drill, around 6 inches from the top and bottom of the door. Position the door across the open side of the smoker and secure the other half of the hinges with screws to attach the door.
Drill 3 holes sized around 2 inches wide through the bottom and top of each side panel for ventilation.
Center a 30-by-30 inch piece of sheet metal over the top of the smoker and secure with 1/2-inch screws into the tops of the side and back panels. Slot 4 metal sheets, 22-by-23 inch, onto each cleat for the smoker shelves.
Position a small propane burner on the bottom of the smoker. Place the gas bottle outside the smoker, run the connection tube through one of the ventilation holes and connect it to the burner. Place a fry pan with wood chips or sawdust in it on top of the burner and you are ready to start up the smoker.
If you plan to hang fish as well as smoke it flat, bolt hooks to the roof panel.
Position the smoker on a fire-safe base, like pavers or concrete.
Tips and warnings
- If you plan to hang fish as well as smoke it flat, bolt hooks to the roof panel.
- Position the smoker on a fire-safe base, like pavers or concrete.