Lighting your Fish and Meat Smoker
Unless you opt for one of our electric smokers, your fish or meat smoker will be fueled by lighting sawdust, wood chips or wood shavings in the fire box at the base of the smoker.
Getting your lighting technique right takes a little practice, but your patience will be rewarded. What you are aiming for is a gently smouldering firebox giving of the right amount of smoke and heat for your purpose. It takes practice to achieve this.
If you have a blow torch or hot air gun to hand, you can pack the firebox with sawdust/chips and light one end with the torch. Have a water spray bottle to-hand to damp down any excessive flames and the other end of the box to which you are lighting. Once smouldering, the box can be placed in the smoker and any vents on the smoker adjusted to regulate the draw. A full box of sawdust can last several hours if smouldering gently and vents closed.
PLEASE be extremely careful when lighting in this manner as sawdust sparks are common and safety glasses highly recommended.
If you don't have a blow torch, we find the sawdust or chips are best lit by first burning some dry twigs in the firebox to create some embers. Collect the embers at one end of the firebox and slowly add the sawdust until the box is full and gently smouldering.
For quick hot smoking, you can add a handful of sawdust to the box full of burning twigs before they become embers which generates plenty of heat as well as some smoke and acts like a smokey oven. Perfect for cooking a few fresh mackerel on the beach.
Store your sawdust in a dry environment as damp wood is difficult to light.
Try experimenting with different woods (e.g. fruit tree wood) or adding herbs or berries (Juniper is good) to your sawdust!!!
NB: As lighting the sawdust directly can be temperamental, we recommend you start your smoking endeavors by filling the firebox with smouldering charcoal then sprinkling the sawdust on top. If you are cooking a large piece of meat, you will have to replenish the reserves of both charcoal and sawdust.