How to Make a Smoker

Different types of wood chips give different flavours, such as oak or a fruit tree wood like apple. The Chinese way is to hot smoke using a mixture of fragrant tea leaves, sugar and dried rice.

This guide shows you how to smoke mackerel Chinese-style.

1. Firstly, blend together the mixture you’re going to smoke with in a bowl.

2. Put a piece of foil in the bottom of a deep, roomy wok (you’ll need one with a lid) and tip the smoking mixture on top. Sit a wire rack on top of that.

3. Put each piece of fish on a little piece of baking parchment then sit them well spaced out on the rack. The paper will stop them sticking to the rack as they smoke.

4. Put the pan over a medium-low heat to get the smoke going.

5. Cover the pan with foil, then with a lid or a plate. You want to seal in all the smoke once it gets going.

6. Smoke with the lid on the pan for 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of your fish, then open the pan up and turn the fish over.

7. Smoke the fish for another 4-6 minutes to finish off. The smoke will cook the fish through, so test it at its thickest part. If it’s almost opaque all the way through, it’s done.

You can also smoke other fish, meat or vegetables such as salmon, chicken or aubergines.

A hot smoker will cook the food, but use your judgement to make sure things like chicken are cooked through. If you're unsure, use a thermometer to check the thickest part of the meat – it should always reach 180°C to be on the safe side.

Check out all the recipes featured on Cookery School.

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