Originally smoking food were a way of preserving foods, today we do it for the distinctive flavor and texture it add to the food.
It will not necessary be cheaper to smoke your own food than to buy it in the supermarket, it might be, but it will definitely taste better, and you will know that it is really smoked and not some coloring and flavoring to resemble smoked food. I have never smoked anything that were bright orange after it was smoked, it is a sure way of knowing that coloring was used on the food.
There are two ways of smoking, hot smoking and cold smoking, they give very different results. The most common way of smoking at home (in South Africa) for the occasional smoker is hot smoking in one of the commercially available smokers, there are also various DIY plans available on the internet to build your own, like the one in figure3. I have both the smokers in Fig1 and Fig2, but use the one in Fig2 most often.
To smoke chicken breast (Using smoker in Fig1)
4 X Chicken breasts
4 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried marjoram
The brown sugar is to counter act the salt that will dry out the meat, and not to add a sweet flavor to the chicken.
Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper and spice the chicken breast all over with the spices. Put in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Take one cup of mentholated spirits and pour over the cotton like wig of the smoker. Add half a handful of sawdust to the bottom of the smoker. (You can soak the sawdust in water to make it smoke longer)
Put the chicken pieces on top of the grid of the smoker and close the lid; lit the spirits and push underneath the smoker box.
When the spirits have burnt out and no more smoke is visibly coming out from under the lid, open it and test for doneness with a meat thermometer. If it is not done I would suggest you cook it on low heat in either a closed gas or charcoal braai or even in your oven. If you feel that it is not smoked enough, you can repeat the steps for smoking it, you can also heat up the smoker box with the spirits without adding more sawdust if it is smoked enough, but not done to the correct temperature.
Let the chicken cool down and slice into thin slices, perfect for sandwiches and chicken salad.
Chicken salad made with home smoked chicken