So you’ve hung the “Gone Fishing” sign on your office door and packed up the SUV for a weekend fishing trip?
Before you go, don’t forget to take along a few things to build a cool DIY camping fish smoker in the woods.
You Don’t Need an Expensive Fish Smoker.
As culinary history shows, smoked fish is one of the oldest forms of food preservation on the planet. The ancients would smoke fish with the sole purpose of preserving it, usually though “cold smoking” which doesn’t actually cook the fish (think: lox and salted cod).
Is your mouth watering yet?
Today most people will “hot smoke” fish for flavor. Foodies have turned fish smoking into an art form, spawning endless debates over which kinds of woods emit the perfect flavor and what brand of smoker is the best.
But if you’re just an average weekend camper who only wants to elevate the flavor of freshly caught trout or salmon, there’s no need for excess gadgetry. Tons of great DIY camping fish smoker plans and ideas are just waiting for your creative touch. Here’s just a few:
DIY Camping Fish Smoker Ideas
Trout and salmon are ideal fish for hot smoking. From water to table, fish smoking is ridiculously easy:
- Prepare the fish
- Brine the fish
- “Equilibrate” and dry the fish
The exact steps go beyond the scope of this article so be sure to check out this “Smoking Fish at Home” handout from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Services.
Meanwhile, check out these great options for DIY fish smokers:
Redneck Flower Pot Fish Smoker
This article “How To Make A Smoker From Ceramic Pots” has great instructions for building your own ceramic flower pot smoker.
…basically you set the hot place in the bottom of the larger pot with the cord coming out of the drain hole, that then hooks up to the extension cord which runs to the nearest outlet. On top of the hot plate goes the cast iron skillet (this is where the soaked wood chips go) over that goes the grate and then you top it all with the other terra-cotta pot which then holds the meat thermometer.
Hot Smoked Salmon with a Wok
If you have a small wok, take it with you when you go on a camping and fishing trip. Numerous wok hot smoker tips show that smoking fish in a wok is a fairly easy and fast way to enjoy this delicacy. Here’s an awesome article with excellent instructions for making a DIY camping fish smoker: How to Hot Smoke Salmon (Without a Real Smoker).
This method involves rigging up a smoker in your kitchen (on a gas stove) using wood chips, aluminum foil, a round cake rack and a wok. The salmon that emerges has a big, bold smoky flavor with a little bit of a sweet-salty thing going on too.
Finally, an even cheaper way to make a DIY camping fish smoker:
$20 Fish Smoker Attachment for Alcohol Camping Stove
The Instructables article “$20 Fish Smoker Attachment” is a bit clunky to navigate but still helpful. You can use this DIY camping fish smoker on a typical camping stove, it doesn’t have to be an alcohol-burning one.
This one was made for less than $20, takes no time to make, works very well and can be dropped into a backpack for a day fishing trip. It isn’t intended to smoke enough fish to feed an army, but will take about 4 reasonable sized trout fillets.
Got other ideas for a DIY camping fish smoker? Let’s hear ’em!