So, it’s getting warmer, which means our aquaponic trout are ready to be eaten! I’ve always loved smoked fish and it’s one of the most exciting things to come out of our garden this year. The thing is, I wasn’t about to let Jamie buy a smoker – when he could make one. Rising to the challenge, we started looking for a metal box that was sealable. He’d picked up two stainless steel beer barrels from the tip ready for a brewing project, which was pretty much perfect. Of course, google came in handy and we found some pretty nifty devices – our only concern is that they were all for meat, and we couldn’t find any pictures with fish, but figured it was going to work anyway. Part of the reason then for posting this is to hope someone out there will find our beer barrel fish smoker and go: AH! Smokkkkkkkiiiinnnnn!! So, firstly – angle grind the barrel so you have about three quarters for the bottom half, and a quarter for the top half. Then you need to get the top half and whack it with a hammer so it flanges outward (see below) so the top will fit snugly over the bottom like a lid. Then, make a brazier style basket that will sit in the bottom, keeping the coals off the bottom so the air flow underneath keeps the fire lit.
Drill some holes in the bottom so the air will draw through.
Then, we used a cake cooler bent into shape to fit on top of the brazier (this is for the fish). Put another metal try over the top of the brazier. Now, once you’ve gutted and cleaned the fish, find a recipe for marinating it online. We’ve got a bit of experimenting to do here, but basically we used a cup of salt and half a cup of sugar, rubbed it in the fish cavity and left it for an hour. Meanwhile, we put a cup of woodchips onto soak, and lit the brazier, so some nice coals were going on. Oh, and open a can of baked beans, rinse out the can, and pop it on top for the chimney, as per the picture above. So the next bit was easy – drain the woodchips (we used a mix of mesquite and hickory from Bunnings, as we liked the idea of a stronger smoke flavour) and put them on top of the coals. Pop the fish on top of the cake cooler grill. Put the lid on. Let it cook! It took about ten minutes for the fish to be ready – they were fairly small. It was TOTALLY delicious and the smoker looks pretty gorgeous just sitting there waiting for the next catch of fish to be smoked. Smokin!