Most people love to eat well and often want to treat themselves to something special. One of these special products is smoked fish. Today it is absolutely not necessary to buy a factory-made smokehouse.
There are a lot of offers on the market, ranging from small models that are easy to transport to full-fledged stationary cameras. But many who understand the essence of the whole process are interested in assembling a smokehouse on their own.
In this case, a portable smokehouse for fish or meat can be built from such simple elements as a barrel, bucket, large saucepan, plastic wrap or a broken refrigerator. Having even minimal skills in construction, you can easily make a cold-smoked smokehouse, in which both a firebox, an underground chimney, and a smoking chamber will be made. At the same time, it should be said that a simple do-it-yourself smokehouse will allow you to take into account all your wishes, unlike the factory model. That is, you yourself can choose its size and capacity, as well as ensure the convenience of using such a smokehouse.
Types and purpose
It should be said that smokehouses are divided into two categories:
- cold smoking;
- hot smoked.
Both methods are excellent, and each has its own fans. Both methods involve enveloping the food in smoke to give it its characteristic flavor and color.
The difference between the methods is only in the following points:
- the duration of the preparation of the product;
- the temperature at which smoking is carried out.
If we are talking about cold smoking, then the temperature in the smokehouse chamber in this case will not be higher than 30-45 degrees, and the smoking process itself can last from 12 hours to several days. Typically, this method is used to obtain oily fish, sausage or lard. The fact is that at low temperatures, the melting and flowing out of fat from the products that are being prepared simply does not occur. After this part of the process ends, you must leave a bookmark so that it dries completely. In this case, finished products will have a dense consistency, good taste, a long shelf life, and a characteristic pleasant aftertaste.
If we talk about the hot method, then cooking here takes significantly less time. In some cases, it takes 40 minutes to cook food. The operating temperature range here ranges from 45 to 200 degrees. And the lower the temperature, the longer the smoking process will be. Typically, an electric hot smoker does not take up much space and does not consume too much energy.
Which is better?
In general, there are two options.
You can choose a store-bought smoker, which can be found online or purchased from manufacturers. This smokehouse has a good appearance and is as easy to use as possible.
An alternative to this option is a homemade smokehouse. A little higher, we have already begun to touch upon the topic of its benefits. Indeed, a homemade smokehouse will allow you to maximize your needs. That is, you can smoke more food at the same time. In addition, you can independently make a multifunctional solution where, say, you can smoke not only fish, but also sausage or meat products.
In some conventional smokehouses, you can smoke only one thing - such models are also found on the market. That is, at least for the above reason, homemade solutions will be better.
In addition, you can give any shape to a homemade smokehouse, which will take into account the peculiarities of its placement and operation, ease of use, and other points.
An important issue that needs to be given serious attention is the size of the smokehouse. Naturally, its size will depend on how much food you are going to lay and, accordingly, smoke at a time. If you only smoke products for yourself, then a small smokehouse will be a great solution. And the mini-smokehouse will consume a small amount of energy when it comes to hot smoking. If you are going to cook smoked meats for sale, then small models will no longer work.
Regardless of the choice of the camera that you will use, you need to make sure that the cooking meat and fish are enveloped in smoke as evenly as possible. It would be best to hang them vertically on hooks so that the distance between them is at least two centimeters. If the volume of products is small, then you can get by with a grate, on which everything that is needed is simply placed in one layer. It should be added that during hot smoking, the fat is melted out, which is why it is necessary to install a drip tray. You should not place it too low so that it does not accidentally catch fire.
An important point of any smokehouse will be the fact that for high-quality smoking it is necessary to retain the smoke in the chamber for some period, and when it cools down, ensure its removal from the chamber. In general, this is easy to do by drilling a few holes in the top cover.
It will not be superfluous to replace the perforated metal lid with wet burlap or branches of certain types of trees. For example, juniper, currant or raspberry. But other species will do, as long as they do not emit any essential oils and gums. When choosing wood species for smoking, the same rules should be followed. For this reason, conifers, which have a rather sharp and pronounced aroma, are not suitable. For this reason, they can add a definite and rather unpleasant aftertaste to finished meat and fish. It is best to use sawdust from fruit trees or wood chips.
If you decide to make a smoker from an old refrigerator, you will need to make slots to remove flue gases. To get really good traction, you can punch holes in the top of the chamber symmetrically to each other. It should be said that in high humidity and hot weather, smoke rises poorly and it is difficult to exit the chamber. To increase the vacuum pressure, you can simply install a pipe.
How to build it yourself?
Let's move on to the very process of creating a smokehouse with our own hands. We will talk about the theoretical aspects of creating a smokehouse and what materials you need to have on hand. Let's describe the process of creating a smokehouse from start to finish.
Before starting the procurement of materials for the smokehouse, you should understand what it should be. It is important how much food you are going to smoke. If the quantity is small, then it is enough to make a mini-smoker. In order to understand how it works, it is best to first make a drawing. This will not only make sure that you correctly understand the principle of operation of this device, but also you can avoid mistakes when preparing materials for it.
By choosing this or that drawing, you will clearly know what kind of smokehouse you are doing: from a bucket, from an old refrigerator, or some other. This will make it possible to already clearly and clearly choose one or another option, without deviating from it in the future. Thanks to the drawing, you can clearly understand how many materials and which ones you need to implement your idea. If you create a drawing yourself, then if you wish, you can look at other developments of installations of this type, of which there are a lot on specialized forums.
Materials and components
The equipment for creating a smokehouse in various configurations will depend on the selected blueprint. If we are talking about the simplest model, then, as a rule, this is a bucket smokehouse. In this case, you will need a bucket, lid and grate.
If we are talking about a barrel, then it will be based on a barrel, grates and a lid.
When creating a smokehouse from a refrigerator, it will play a central role in the entire design. That is, the device of the smokehouse will depend on the principle on which you will create it, and what exactly are going to make it the basis.
Someone will give more preference to a brick smokehouse, which looks more like an oven. And someone, in general, will not want to deal with this and will simply buy a smoking apparatus, which today can be found in markets or in stores.
Since a large number of different models were mentioned here, we will try to talk about how to make different types of smokehouses.
Let's start with the so-called bucket smokehouse. It is very simple to create it yourself. First, you need to find a bucket made of iron, as well as a lid for it and a grate that will be placed on the bottom of the bucket. Holes will need to be made on top of the bucket, into which rods with hooks will be inserted, on which the fish will be suspended. Holes will need to be made in the lid so that smoke can escape from the bucket. In order for the combustion process to be maintained for the required time, the bottom of the bucket should be filled with sawdust and chips. Now the smoker is put on fire, and in the process of heating sawdust and chips will begin to smolder. You can start hanging food. In this state, the products should be kept for about thirty to forty minutes.
But more often people who want to carry out the process of smoking more products at home want to make a barrel smokehouse. First, paint is removed from the surface of the barrel. This is easy to do. First, make a fire and hold the container over it for about 60 minutes. And then you can already proceed directly to the smoking process.
If you need to smoke fish in a wooden barrel, then first you need to rinse it inside , and then let it dry out of water and moisture. When it is dry, you can start preparing it for the smoking process. First, you need to make holes in the walls where the metal rods will be fixed. It is on them that the product we need will hang. Now you should make a glass. It can be made using a metal pipe with a length of 40-50 centimeters, a diameter of about 0.5-1 cm and a thickness of no more than three millimeters. When the glass is ready, it is placed in the hole through the bottom of the barrel. To smoke fish, the glass will need to be covered with an asbestos cloth to avoid overheating. Now you need to bring the chimney. You can start using the smokehouse.
Of course, the options described above are just one of a large number of smokehouse variations. The creation of this or that model will entirely depend on your wishes and capabilities.
Recommendations for use
Experts' recommendations will make the smoking process more efficient and of high quality.
- The smoking temperature of products should clearly fluctuate in the range of 300 - 350 degrees. At a lower temperature, smoking will be rather poor, and at a higher temperature, there is a chance that the products will simply burn.
- Another important point is that it is best to smoke in dry weather. And also the device must have a tray for collecting fat, as already described above. If it gets on the wood, then the quality of the emitted smoke will significantly deteriorate.
- You should not look into the smoker too often, as this will violate the temperature regime. Each opening of the lid adds another ten minutes to the smoking process.
- In addition, a rich taste can be added to products by adding grapes or cherries to sawdust. As mentioned above, in no case should coniferous wood be added to the sawdust. This will definitely spoil the taste of the products and give them bitterness.
- In addition, if you want fish or meat to be free of soot and soot after the smoking procedure, then all products must be wrapped with wet gauze.
As you can see, making a smokehouse with your own hands is quite simple and easy. At the same time, you do not need to have any special or special knowledge, which will allow even an inexperienced person to acquire everything necessary in order to pamper yourself and your family with high-quality smoked meat or fish.
For information on how to make a fish smokehouse at home, see the next video.