This is possibly the easiest method for first timers, using the least specialist equipment.
Use equal parts loose leaf tea, sugar, rice. Approximately 75g of each will tea smoke 4 trout fillets and some tomatoes.
An old saucepan with tightly fitting steamer basket and lid.
Or you can buy a special smoker pan.
Put the tea/rice/sugar mixture in some tin foil (folded over a few times) in the bottom of your saucepan.
Place the food (here we have trout and tomatoes) onto the steamer basket. Put on the lid. I marinated the trout in a whisky/sugar/salt solution for an hour inspired by the recipe in Annabel Langbein’s book The Free Range Cook.
After 10 to 15 minutes your food will be delicately tea smoked. Slightly roast the tomatoes for five minutes prior to tea smoking. I flaked the tea smoked trout into a salad of watercress and avocado with a lemon and olive oil dressing. Delicious!
This is a little more complicated equipment wise but still very portable, quick and easy.
Hot smoker (cheap and fairly cheap)
Clean wood chips (no chainsaw oil) or sawdust
We hot smoked tofu, lemons, corn on the cob, peppers, garlic, pumpkin slices and apples.
Now this is the holy grail of smoking, in which you can smoke your own salmon. This needs patience and a small amount of equipment. Now for a quick home version use what @Zia_Mays developed, described below. It worked very well, but it’s for a one off. For beginners, food writer Tim Hayward recommends this baby placed in a metal filing cabinet. If you really get into it, buy one of these mothers.
Wood chips (we had hickory)
A cheap soldering iron which hasn’t been used. It must not have any solder on it.
Some easy open tin cans.
A barbecue with a lid.
Cured salmon side with skin on.
Block of cheddar
First of all cure the salmon by mixing half and half sugar and salt (gros sel) with aromatics such as fennel seeds, juniper berries, dill, whatever you feel like. I also sprinkled vodka over the salmon as well as pickled cherries. Pile this mix along the length of the salmon side both underneath and on top. Weigh it down and after 12 hours, drain off the liquid, scraping the sugar/salt mix to one side. Turn over the fish and cover once more, underneath and on top with the curing mixture. Weigh it down again. After another 12 hours your fish is cured. You will be able to feel that it’s stiff.
@Zia_Mays teaching the smoking class on Sunday. For more Secret Garden Club, keep an eye on this blog and my events tab above. Next one: 21st of December: ‘How to plant garlic and onions on the coldest day’ £45 for workshop and garlicky onion tea by MsMarmitelover.