smoking fish question

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by mike doughty, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. seanengman

    seanengman Trout have no politics

    I'll have to try the dry cure. That sounds good... I suppose I might what to go catch some fish first.
  2. Andy Kaus

    Andy Kaus its only kinky the first time

    I really like it, its a hand-me-down recipe from my Alaska relations, thats all they use up there
  3. Lex Story

    Lex Story Angler, Gastronomist, Artist, Jarhead, Geek

    Even though I make my living making video games, I am also a trained and experienced chef who studies the art of meat preservation (Garde Manger in French terms) in my spare time.
    Leave the skin on it adds some flavor.
    Brining and salting are the same chemical process in that it applies a curative element (salt) to the protein, this changes the cell structure of the meat. I salt my meat and layer aromatics (herbs) and sugar on the fish. I wrap this all up in plastic wrap for a cure overnight. The next morning I rinse the cure off. I pat it it dry and then I let it form a skin on it uncovered in the fridge. This allows the smoke to better adhere to the meat, this skin is called a "pellicle" Then the fish go into the smoker. Cold or hot smoke, its all your personal preference.
    Iodized salt is the "devil" in Chefing circles. Kosher salt is the best and cheapest overall, htere is no need to invest in "Fleur du sel"
    Try different woods. I prefer mild such as cherry.
    Change up your sugars for variety. I am really into Palm sugar (jaggery) right now. I have a pound of vanilla bean infused sugar waiting in the wings (insert evil laugh here)
    always use fresh aromatics, stay away from lavendar, any citrus zest kicks ass. Some garlic always rounds it out.
  4. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    Wow more info. then i expected. another question i have is, first of my steel chunks are soaking in a brine, do you put the chunks in the smoker wet or dry. the booklet says to pat them dry and let them air dry for about an hour, but i always feel better getting the info. from people not a booklet.
  5. Lex Story

    Lex Story Angler, Gastronomist, Artist, Jarhead, Geek

    the instructions are correct albeit the abbreviated drying time to form a pellicle.
    Pat it dry and leave it dry.
    Some techniques use a wet/moist cold smoke so as to retain moisture in the meat.
    For me its about tranference of smoke flavor to my meat. The cooking I finish under more controlled conditions such as a oven, like stated earlier.
    This thread is hitting all of my favorite subjects, kinda gives me the jimmy legs.
  6. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    thanks booyah and everybody else. well'p here goes nothing
  7. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, pat it dry then let it sit, I've let mine sit out for 6 or 7 hours before to form the pellicle. It helps if you sit it near an open window or there is some air movement in your house, it also helps if you can let it sit out on a rack, like a cookie cooling rack or something, not totally necessary though. I usually end up brining for around 12 hours, letting it sit for 6 hours, then smoking it for another 6-12 hours depending on the temperature outside and the size of my fillets.
  8. tahuyamg

    tahuyamg tahuyamg

    The only problem I have when I'm smoking fish- is keeping it lit...
  9. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Have also smoked a ton of fish -
    The first rule to producing the very best product is to use the very best fish you can get a hold of. If the fish is not good enough for the barbecue it is not good enough to smoke.

    I too like a dry brine - I use either "clean" rock salt, sea- salt or kosher salt (and yes idozied slat leaves a meltalic taste), Layer the fish pieces covering each layer with a liberal amount of salt and let brine over night.

    Rinse in cold water to produce desired saltness. The longer the rinse the less salty - I taste to make sure I have it right.

    Lay the rinse pieces out on cookie sheets and cover with a liberal amount of brown sugar and let air dry for 1 to 2 hours and them into the smoker

    A simple recipe that produces a very consistent product that everyone seems to like. If you want a real treat try some kokanee - hands down the best.

    And by the way it is the very best served warmed from the smoker with ice cold beer!

    Tight lines
    rrancourt23 likes this.
  10. Bruce Gibson

    Bruce Gibson What's that?...umm tastes good.

    I usually smoke about 10-20 salmon a year. We make a trip to Alaska each year and everyone asks me to smoke some of their fish. After years of experimenting, I keep going back to one recipe. I use 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup non-iodized salt, and 1qt of water, then brine in the fridge. If you have bad water, I reccomend using distilled water. The length of brine depends on the fish thickness. Usually for a silver or sockeye, it spends 8 hours in the brine. The fish is then set on racks to dry and I'll sprinkle a light coat of brown sugar on them. I then smoke until the fish is firm to the touch. If you close your hand into a loose fist then press on the flesh between your thumb and index finger...that is the firmness you're looking for. Time in a Little Chief smoker will vary greatly depening on the fish thickness and outside temp (thats why most people use the blanket). I converted an old fridge into a smoker and it works perfect (I'll post some pics later). I smoke using 2 pans of alder at 140-150 degrees then turn up the heat to 180 to finish it off. Let it cool, then grab a nice dark beer and enjoy. :beer1:

    Non-Iodized salt is used because other salts will leave a metalic taste. Also, use only plastic or wood utensils and bowls. Metal will also give a metalic taste. Also, pull the bones out after its smoked. My father and I have discerning taste when it comes to salmon and we can really pick up on this. I've now exposed all of my secrets...except one.
  11. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    how long does it keep in the fridge? or what is the best way to keep it?
  12. Bruce Gibson

    Bruce Gibson What's that?...umm tastes good.

    You can get about a week or so in the fridge. I usually vaccum pack the fish and freeze it until I need it.
  13. Tony Polizzi

    Tony Polizzi Active Member

    Im resurrecting this thread as it will help some folks, as I am brining four pink fillets currently and lighting off the smoker.
    I tried the recipe as described 4sugar, one salt, quart of water on a coho fillete with great success.
    Now here's the info, just spent 12 hour shift working on the water in MA 5 and got a report from a coworker who caught the pinks trolling in MA 5, he reported 35 hookups one day and 40the second, the largest King was a 25 pound wild fish.
    He reported surprise at the size of the pinks with more than half 6lbs the others 3lbs, this is some one who s been at this for 40+ years and he reports a huge mass of fish making its way down the Straight!
    Hold on to your cigars, seems we could have a decent year on the salt.
    With all that said, I'll be fishing and floating and fishing the Deschutes this weekend.
    Hope this is useful.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  14. kmudgn

    kmudgn Member

    How do you get the chunks to work with rolling paper
  15. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    7 cups of water
    1 cup kiko man soy sauce
    4 cups brown sugar
    1 tbl sp onion pwdr
    1 tbl sp garlic pwdr
    2 tsp allspice
    1 tbsp whole cloves
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/3 cup of non iodized salt
    (optional but we love it)1 tsp to 1 tbsp. Sriracha
    -2 days in the brine
    -dry it on cheesecloth or racks until the skin is tacky and no moisture is evident (usually 2-3 hours) Don't rinse!
    -smoke it with about 3 pans of chips over 4-7 hours depending on how warm it is outside
    Tony Abaloney likes this.
  16. Tony Polizzi

    Tony Polizzi Active Member

    Its the can do attitude I picked up in the seabees, :D

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