Smoking Fish in Wilderness: DIY Smoker

Lately I went with my bike or on foot to some more remote fishing spots. As this means I am days away from home, I was looking into options how to make the fish ready to be transported for days. One popular method, of course, is smoking. So with some friends we intended to built a smoker from natural material plus items we’d usually carry around.

With two friends we went for a fishing trip. Fortunately we were successful catching a couple of graylings. As we wanted to take some home with us, but were days away from home, we built a smoker from branches and items we had with us. For the smoker we followed the design idea as laid-out in the US Army survival manual (FM 21-76).

We collected some dead wood to build a tripod like frame, and cut some smaller branches for building a grate. We connected them with some willow. For the grate we used fresh branches so it wood maintain its shape despite potential heat. Originally we wanted to use only natural material, however, we would have needed a lot of material (bark, leaves, etc) to cover the tripod, so we helped us out with a poncho, as well as a mylar blanket on one side. The mylar also acted as door, so we could add more green or check on the fish. We were fortunate as the only available wood – birch and juniper – is just perfect for smoking. We dug a small fire pit in the sand, and after making some amber we created smoke by adding birch leaves and green from juniper into the amber.

It took quit a while until the fish was done, maybe around 6-8 hours. Yet, they turned out perfect in texture and taste. The last one I ate I had 6 days after smoking it, and it was perfectly fine.

You may also watch my friend’s Youtube video that he shot when we built our DIY smoker.

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