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Author Topic: smoking northern pike  (Read 12330 times)

king_fish#1

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smoking northern pike
« on: Jan 03, 2004, 09:19 PM »
any tips on smoking pike for beginners?

buzzbomb

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Re:smoking northern pike
« Reply #1 on: Jan 04, 2004, 06:49 AM »
The way I do it is scale the fish first, then remove the fillets leaving the skin on and give them a wash.  Leaving the skin on gives you something to hang onto till  it's eaten, and it doesn't come apart in the smoker I take the ribs out, but leave the y-bones in. Then put them in a brine made of a gallon of water, a cup of salt and a cup of sugar (you can use pickling salt or table salt, it's not written in stone, but I like to use brown or yellow sugar...all a matter of taste).  I'm assuming you've got a few or 1 big one to make it worthwhile.  Let them brine overnight or all day (once again it's a personal pref.)but a few times you should 'push' the brine..give it a stir to make sure the brine has access to all parts of the fish.  When it's brined wipe the excess slop off the top of the fillets with a clean cloth (it won't be clean for long, but don't worry) and lay them out on racks to dry.   By this, I mean let them sit in a cool  area with good air circulation and no flies until there's a glossy coating on the fish.  This is called the pellicle, and it's pretty important.  It takes a few hours usually for this to happen, and what that does is prevent the salt and sugar from leeching out of the fish, so it retains the tastes you've been putting into it and keeps it from getting too dry.  How long you smoke it for  depends on what kind of smoker you've got, but remember that it's more a drying process than a cooking one, and the flavour of the wood needs time to get into the fish.  8-10 hours of cool smoking in one of those little square electric ones is what I used to do, but my new one takes a little less time.  You'll probably add more chips after  the first ones are used up, but it doesn't just get smoke all the time; about 1/2 or more of the time  it just gets the heat.   You just keep an eye on it and test a little...it's fun. When it starts to look really good it probably is getting close. I like to use apple wood for fish  or if you're in the country try chokecherry and just a little red willow , and hickory or maple for birds, venison and sausage, but there again you'll have to see what you like best.   Soak your wood chips beforehand so they smoke more and longer, and watch out for the fish on the bottom racks so they don't get burnt because sooner or later those chips dry out .Keep the spritser bottle from the barbecue handy!  You can experiment and put different things in the brine (honey, chillies, etc). Some guys like to sprinkle spices on top of the fish before smoking, but I never saw the need. When it's done, just break the fillet open and lift out the rows of y-bones as you eat them.  That's pretty easy for pike, but a little harder for whitefish, which seem to carry a spare set of bones, just in case.   If you're in a cold climate (it's -33C here this morning) you may have to put some kind of drop sheet or old coats over the smoker to make it warm enough).  Let us know how it works out, and bon appetit!  :)
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cold_feet

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Re:smoking northern pike
« Reply #2 on: Jan 04, 2004, 05:08 PM »
Buzzbomb
You got it right but I weigh the filets just to set a time for the whole process. My brine starts with a Gal of spring water so their is no taste of chlorine or other impurities. Add enough salt to float a egg or potatoe. I do add 1/2 lb brown sugar,Black strap molasas about 1/2 bottle A half cup lemon juice, cut up 1 onion or use onion powder.If you are doing Salmon or Trout add Dill. Mix the brine in a non metal container and use to imerse fish in Scale the fish and wipe it off with a solution of 4 parts water to 1 part vinigar this will remove the fish slime. then rinse in cold water. Imerse the fish in the brine and weigh it down with a plate or something but be carefull not to put a air pocket next to the fish Keep the brine cold about 35deg put ice in a plastic bag so as not to dilute the brine. Now here is why you weigh the fish. Each piece should be close to the same weight and do not use a total weight of the fish only the pieces. Say you have a Pike that weighs 15 lbs cleaned well it might be to big for the smoker so you cut it in quaters. Now you have 2 side with the weight of 71/2 lbs each cut again in quaters that makes each piece 3 3/4 lbs apiece. The brineing time for 3 3/4 lbs is 4hrs.  I'll put down the weight to time.
Under 1/4 lb 30 min
1/4 to1/2 45 min
1/2 to 1 lb 1 hr
1 to 2 lb  2 hrs
2 to 3 lbs 3 hrs
3 to 4 lbs 4 hrs
4 to 5 lbs 5 hrs
 This scale of time of brineing worked great for me for yrs never to salty and the fish has a great flavore and hold up great for at least 3 to 4 wks in the fridge. After you finish brineing rinse the fish again under cold water  the put on a wire rack to dry What I do is put it next to a small fan to allow air to circulate around the fish. It must dry to form the Pellical . The pellical is a gloss that forms on the meat of the fish kind of like a varnish.Leave it under the fan untill the fish is dry the longer the better. Remember to keep the fish cool. Now put the fish in the smoker if you are useing racks oil the racks so the skin doesnt stick . Pike because it does not have a lot of oil in the flesh you can baste the fish with oil to keep it from drying out too much The time of smokeing their are no set rules to follow but if you push on it with a fork and it flakes you are done or a thermometer reading of 140 deg in the center of the flesh. If by some dumb chance you see a white liquid on the flesh when you are smokeing the fish it is caused by not drying he fish enough to form the pellical It will not hurt the taste or hurt you eating it just remember the time you used to dry the fish and add more time to the drying prosses. One more thing Cool the fish before eating it tastes better.
If anyone wants to know anymore just IM me
Cold Feet

king_fish#1

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Re:smoking northern pike
« Reply #3 on: Jan 04, 2004, 06:16 PM »
hey thanks guys u told me alot of stuff i never even heard. Good thing i  didnt wing it or my 18 lbs or fish would have been wrecked, im smokeing it some time next weekend and ill reply back to tell u the result of the fish. :)

fishercat

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Re:smoking northern pike
« Reply #4 on: Jan 05, 2004, 03:11 PM »
results are ok but some fresh smoked fish would be better

will send adress ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

bushbunny

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Re:smoking northern pike
« Reply #5 on: Jan 15, 2004, 06:42 PM »
What kind of paper do you roll them in?  Are they not a bit hard to light? ;D

jigstick

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Re: smoking northern pike
« Reply #6 on: Mar 16, 2004, 11:07 AM »
Do you save your brine or make new with each batch? If you do save it, how long do you save it?

grumpymoe

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Re: smoking northern pike
« Reply #7 on: Mar 16, 2004, 12:52 PM »
why not remove the ybones before brining and smoking??  so much nicer than to pick them out when you want to wolf some fresh smoked fish down. grump

cold_feet

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Re: smoking northern pike
« Reply #8 on: Mar 17, 2004, 07:55 AM »
Bushbunny
Yes you can save the brine but do not keep it more that a week in the fridge. Also you have to check the salt content before useing it. To do this just see if the brine will just float a egg or potatoe. If you have a salaniztion meter about 85%.  If it doesnt add a little more salt till it does. Just DO NOT STORE  it in a metel container
Grumpymoe
If you want to remove the Y bone that is fine but you have to adjust the brine time because you are cutting the portions smaller. Each  time you cut the fish you should keep each peice about the same weight for good results for brineing. Also after you smoke the fish the flesh will shrink a little exposing the bones a little and while it is cooling you can  remove the bones with a clean pair of needlenose pliers. Either way you do it is fine. Just remember the brine time is not the total weight of the whole fish only portion size.
ColdFeet

 

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