Build a rack over a primitive oven to cold smoke fish and other food as a way to preserve it. Get back to the old ways of food preservation.
Food preservation back in the day was a very important skill. You needed to be able to store up food in lean times to get you through the harder times. Being able to cold smoke fish and meat was one way to do it.
Here we take a look at the slow process of cold smoking. It’s not difficult to accomplish, but it does require some patience and attention.
There were multiple ways to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration. Salting meat was one. Smoking was another.
He builds a tripod by lashing together three poles of equal diameter. Then he lashes a rack, about a foot and a half above the smoke, onto the poles. You can lash additional racks onto the tripod as well, depending on how tall it is. You want the smoke to waft through the meat or fish, without having the heat of the fire actually cook it.
Be selective in the wood you choose to use to smoke the fish. Use fruit or hardwood trees. Avoid sappy or toxic woods. Season the oven by starting a small fire in it, then adding the smoking wood.
Clean and salt the fish well. Then, using green twigs in the shape of a hook, bend the long end of the twig and insert into the fish’s mouth. Hang the fish by the hooked end of the twig from the rack.
You should pay attention to the fish as the smoking process goes on, moving them around if necessary to receive either more or less smoke.
You can also surround the tripod with a blanket, buckskin, bark or what-have-you to direct the cold smoke more directly onto the fish.
This process took around 36 hours before the shad were finished, it will take more or less time depending on a number of factors such as the type and size of the fish you’re subjecting to the cold smoke. You’ll need to pay attention with this method, and keep the smoke flowing.
Of course if you do this in a smokehouse you have much more control over the process, and it will likely take less time.
When finished the fish should have lost a good deal of water, and will be hard and stiff. You’ll need to thoroughly rinse the salt from the fish when ready to eat. You’ll also need to cook the fish. They are preserved, not cooked.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.