How do you smoke salmon in the wild without a smoker?

I am going camping with a few friends and we would like to try smoking any salmon we catch during our time in the wild. How do we safely smoke salmon in the wild without a smoker, yet being in possession of some basic camping supplies: knives, hatchets, matches, etc.? We would like to be able to smoke our salmon in such a way that is food safe, in order to avoid getting food poisoning.

  • 2
    I started to answer your question then I saw your comment. I can explain how to build a bush smoker. However it's simply impossible to smoke anything without smoke. Having smoke means having, by definition, a smoker. So basically you are asking how to smoke salmon without smoke... which simply isn't possible. I'm not sure if you want to ask how to sun cure, or if you really do want a smoker... just a crude one. Aug 21, 2016 at 22:42
  • Cool, it's dinner time, so I'll type that up later. Aug 21, 2016 at 22:49
  • An additional tip - it's worth taking along a curing mix of 3:1 or 4:1 salt and sugar (you can add other flavours if you like, or gather some, depending on where you are). Rubbing the fillets down with this and letting them sit for even a few hours will give you a lovely gentle cure that will complement the smoke nicely.
    – Beejamin
    Sep 8, 2016 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


You make a smoker, all you need to carry with you is some tinfoil.

Best tasting fish I ever had was cooked in a tinfoil smoker out in the woods on a winter camp, we lashed together a simple rack like shown below:

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Our fish fillets went on the rack, then we wrapped the whole thing with tinfoil (tinfoil underneath too), shiny side in.

We used maple boughs for our smoker wood by sticking the ends into our camp fire to get them hot and burning, and after they had some nice hot cherries glowing on the end of them we blew the flames out and stuck them in the bottom of our smoker, right under the rack.

It was a process of constantly replenishing the smoking boughs, we'd have a bunch in the fire, and swap them out for the old ones in the smoker every couple minutes. The result was amazing. The fish had that maple smoked flavour, but was also cooked from the heat of the boughs.

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    If you're going somewhere with trees with useful and non-toxic bark, you could swap the tinfoil for slabs of bark. You don't need to form a perfect seal around the smoker, just enough to slow down the escape of smoke and heat.
    – Beejamin
    Sep 8, 2016 at 23:45

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