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Ask Niki: Fish smokers

Do you need to spend a lot of money on a fish smoker?

Q: "Is it possible to smoke fish at home without investing in a big, elaborate fish smoker? I'd like to be able to smoke some of the fish my husband catches this summer."

Lynley

A: You don't need much equipment to smoke fish. I have a very simple fish smoker which is essentially a large metal box I got from a hardware store. I've found this works really well on the barbecue. It smokes fish and other things very easily. But you don't even need that, really.

All you need is a large, old baking dish, a rack and some tin foil. Line the dish with foil. Spread a thin layer of clean sawdust or wood chips (this must be from untreated timber – if in doubt, you can buy wood chips from barbecue stores) on the bottom of the tray. Place the rack on top, making sure it's not touching the chips. Put your fish on the rack. Then seal the whole thing with a double layer of foil, making a 'tent' so there's room for the smoke to circulate inside. You can either put the sealed tray over a low flame on the element, or put it in a moderate oven. Leave for 20 minutes or so, checking from time to time, and you should have beautifully smoked fish. This method can make the kitchen quite, shall we say, fragrant, as some smoke will escape. So 'smoking' fish on the barbecue, if you have one, is a good option.




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