Skip to content Skip to cookie consent

Tools and guides

Preserving fish by smoking

Ideas and principles for smoking fish effectively

2005

  • Smoking is a traditional way of preserving fish. It cooks and dries the fish at the same time. There are many different types of smokers but each needs a source of smoke and somewhere to hang or place trays of fish in the smoke.
  • Simple kilns can be made out of oil drums or built using brick or mud walls. Inside the smoker, fish can be hung on bars with hooks or laid on trays. The trays have wire or slatted wood bases so a number of trays can be placed on top of each other.
  • Before smoking, split the fish to remove the guts and wash in clean water. Move the trays around regularly so all fish are smoked evenly. Smoking takes between 14 and 24 hours. Other kinds of meat can also be smoked after first cutting into thin strips.

Discussion 

  • Are there any traditional types of smokers in your area? If not, what kind of materials could easily be found to build one. If possible, visit anyone operating one nearby and learn from their experience. Is there a good supply of wood available to use for smoking? Are new trees being planted to replace those being used for fuel? If possible, put the ideas into practice and build and use a smoker. 
  • Remember that the fire needs an entrance for air at the bottom and an exit for smoke at the top. This may simply be through gaps in the layers of trays or may be a chimney. There needs to be a good flow of air moving through the smoker. A chimney will help this. 
  • Different wood fuels have different properties and may give different flavours to the fish, so experiment to find the best mixture and flavour. 
  • What other things could be smoked besides fish? What kind of meat might taste good smoked?
drum cut into 3 sections with handles to lift each section

drum cut into 3 sections with handles to lift each section

Similarly Tagged Content

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Get our email updates

Be the first to hear about our latest learning and resources

Sign up now

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.