Before hot-smoking fish it must be brined, rubbed or marinated. 

For mackeral 

cover in salt half an hour before smoking, wash it off, dry and rub with olive oil. 

For salmon 

use a brine or rub it with dill and mustard seed or crushed coriander seeds. Then smoke for 10-12 minutes at roughly 160C.

Try other ingredients including lemon zest, herbs, peppercorns,garlic or sweet smoked paprika.

Only use clean hardwoods such as oak or apple. Softwood such as pine will give a nasty taste.

This is the portable smoker that I use, reasonably cheap and does the job

Simply light the meths burner,sprinkle oak chips on the base, place your chosen fish inside, pop the lid on and wait patiently while your dinner is infused with wonderful, deep smokey flavours.

For the brine

This is just the basic brine recipe that I use, you can add a multitude of flavours to your brine, depending on what results you are looking for 

500ml of water 

25g of salt 

20g of sugar 


Mix all the ingredients and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. 

Submerge the fish in the brine, 
• Trout, prawn and sardines, and other delicate seafood: 15 minutes

• Bass, haddock, Hake and other flaky fillets: 20 minutes

• Halibut, turbot, tuna and other flaky, meaty fillets: 30 minutes

• Salmon, mackerel, Arctic char, and other meaty, full-flavored fish: 35 minutes

Remember these times are just guidelines, but should give you a good result 

Written by Jon Fell

Head Chef Rosehill Theatre, Chef on the Simply Good Food TV app, run a Seafood Cookery Class at Peter Sidwell Cookery School, Newspaper food columnist

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