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How to Smoke Meat or Fish - The Fast and Easy Way

Updated on June 19, 2013

Preserving meat and fish through smoking

I can say that the earliest curing process for fish and meat is by smoking.

Our forefathers or ancestors devised a cooking method so that their catch will last for a week, months or even a year.

Entered smoking. Although, some medical experts warn us to be choosy when eating smoked food, we cannot stop people, specially rural folks to use this method in preserving their produce.

Whatever our locations are, there will be always smoked meat and fish in the market.

Or better yet, you can mingle with residents in nearby villages and learn the hands-on in smoking meat or fish.

Note: I was given affirmation by jimmythejock (aka James Paterson, from Scotland- HP Apprentice Alum but not the famous murder-mystery thriller author) to expound his post on Answers.

Galunggong, grouper fish, ideal as smoked fish (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)
Galunggong, grouper fish, ideal as smoked fish (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)

My mother's method in smoking fish

More than three decades ago, a 10-year old Travel Man always accompany his mother whenever she will buy kaing or baskets loaded with parboiled fish in salt and pepper.

Those loads of fish will be brought home in order to be smoked and vended at our place and nearby villages.

That's how we earned extra income, aside from farming or planting rice and harvesting copra meat and coffee during the 80s.

So, to inspire you to make an easy-to-follow method in smoking fish, here's what I remember that my mother did.

As the fishes were already cured by half-boiling it with salt and pepper.

Here's what we need (aside from fish):

  • wood shavings or kusot (in Filipino)
  • round bamboo winnower (used in cleaning palay after harvest, or rice before cooking)
  • charcoal

How to smoke fish

  1. Place identical stones in circle, similar to the bamboo winnower. It must be half-a-foot or one foot in depth.
  2. Make a fire out the charcoal. When done, spread evenly on the stone circle.
  3. Place the wood shavings atop the ember of the charcoal.
  4. Put the fish on the bamboo winnower evenly. Put on the stone circle.
  5. Smoking fish starts and ends for about one to two hours.

Others use different materials, such as chicken wire or galvanized iron dotted with holes as smoke drainer, like the bamboo winnower.

Some will add food color on the fish (tanny or deep brown) to make it look like smoke tint on fish.


Beef Steak, one of the many dishes of cow's meat (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)
Beef Steak, one of the many dishes of cow's meat (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)

How my father smoke meat

My father oriented me on how to preserve food when I was still young. I don't even want to participate because all I think at that time was play outside the house.

Anyway, although he didn't eat much meat, like beef, he still smke it for future use.

Thre was no electricity yet in our village during the late 70s and all he did was to hang the cured beef (salt and pepper) atop the makeshift stove powered by charcoal or chopped dried woods.

He protect it from flies by covering it with cheesecloth (or pranela) until it matured for a week.

When the meat was almost dehydrated, it's time it can be cooked as homemade tapa, our Filipino term for smoked beef.

A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game - a book for a no-nonsense expert in the kitchen

For a more complete guide on Smoking Meat or Fish , Wilbur F. Eastman compiled methods and personal experience that is perfect for an outdoor or indoor activities at home, especially in the kitchen.

The book also includeds recipes and tips with emphasis on safety and hygience when preparing meat, fish and game dishes.

With this book that will be handy near the kitchen in your home, you'll learn how to can, cure, freeze and of course, smoke meat or fish and even game or wild birds with safety-conscious instructions and procedure.

As for the description of the book, this will entice you to buy this paperback edition.

An excellent resource for anyone who loves meat but hates the steroids and chemicals in commercially available products.


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    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 2 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @liesl5858: I overlooked your comment for 4 months now. My bad. I'm trying to regain my active participation @ HP right now. Thanks for the positive review about my work.

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi! travel man1971, this hub reminds me of how my father smoke meat but we never smoke fish to keep for later on. When it comes to fish, we either cook it and eat it then or roast it over charcoal to cook and eat it. Good tips all round travel man1971, thank you.

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @billybuc: Hi, Sir Bill! Good thing you've noticed this hub. I'm sure you'll try this when you want a timeout from your hectic work schedules.

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @livingsta: You're welcome. You can prepare smoke meat or fish at home and be satisfied with the outcome without worrying about the dangers being posed by those being vended in the market.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips my friend. I need a smoker...I love the taste and aroma of smoked meat and fish. Thank you for these suggestions.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is interesting information. I know about smoked fish and meat, but never took the time to sit and read about it. This hub has given an idea of how fish and meat are smoked. Thank you for sharing this with us

      Voted up and sharing!

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @moonlake: Thanks for dropping by. Better try it now. By the way, Just use wood shavings that are natural (not mixed or adulterated with varnish or paint).

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      We love smoked fish but have never tried to do it. I like all the information on this hub on how to smoke fish. Voted up.

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @ComfortB: Thank you for the hub visit. Yes, it is more healthier than fried fish. Here in the PH, we still fry it before eating, usually during breakfast.

      Although, it is cooked already, we still have to consider the danger of the molds that can accumulate if it is not stored in the fridge.

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @dwachira: Hi, there! Yes, you can try it. Improvisation is a must when doing this. It will also depend on the sizes of fish that you'll smoke. Smaller fish will be smoked first than the larger ones.

      Thank you.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      This hub brings back good memories. I love the taste of smoked fish in soup. In most 3rd world countries, smoking fish or meat is how they can be preserved to last longer. It's a healthier option to frying.

      Voted up and useful.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi travel_man1971,

      Fish is one of my favorite, i will surely try this method. Thanks for the info, Voted up , useful and shared.

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @jimmythejock: It's an Asian method (the Filipino way). You can also tweak it and incorporate your own there in Scotland.

      BTW, thank you for acknowledging my effort. :)

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 5 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks for this Hub, maybe now I can start smoking the fish that I catch.....jimmy

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @prasetio30: Thanks for heeding my advice. Sure, you do this at home fast and easy. Thanks for the vote. :)

      Ireno

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I learn many things here. I should be careful if I found this in the market. Better do this at home like your advice above...if we have much time. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • travel_man1971 profile image
      Author

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @peachpurple: Thank you for citing the uniqueness of Filipino culture's method of curing or smoking meat or fish. And the vote as well.:)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      smoking is much similar to roasting in the oven or some even do bake / roast / smoke meat stuff underground. Great to know different culture uses unique ways to cook their food. Voted up

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