Cook It Because You Can: Smoked Fish
Smoking your fish is the sure-fire way of adding radical flavour. Too complicated for you? Think again

August 8, 2011


There are stacks of commercial smokers out there – but it’s easy to make your own out of goodies you probably already have in the kitchen. So here goes


1 deep baking tray, 1 oven grid (must fit into the baking tray), 4 small, igneous rocks , 1 roll of tinfoil, Hardwood sawdust

STEP 1 Smooth a layer of tinfoil down in the baking tray – it must be pressed down firmly so that it is in contact with the bottom of the baking tray.

STEP 2 Place a rock in each corner of the baking tray and sprinkle two tablespoons of the hardwood sawdust onto the tinfoil.

STEP 3 Place the oven grid in the baking tray, making sure that the corners rest on the rocks.

STEP 4 Next, lay the fish, skin side down, on the grid.

STEP 5 Seal the baking tray with another layer of tinfoil, allowing the smoke and flavour to permeate the entire fish. Make sure that the seal is completely airtight, as any escaping smoke is escaping flavour. Place the baking tray directly onto coals or onto your gas burner.

Once the tinfoil lid is hot to the touch… it’s 10 minutes until you eat your sublime fish.

STEP 6 To serve, take your fish out of the smoker. Place a couple of knobs of butter on the fish (but only if you’ve trained that day). Eat immediately with fresh bread, a green salad and a glass of your favourite red wine.

Sawdust tip You can use any hardwood sawdust except that from resinous wood (pine or bluegum). Think oak or apple wood. Most fishing shops and good supermarkets stock decent sawdust (hamster sawdust is a no-go), with one bag lasting for ages.

Sawdust alternative If you can’t find sawdust, use rooibos tea – break open the tea bags and sprinkle the tea leaves on the bottom of the tray. It works like a bomb and has incredible flavour