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Author Topic: Smoke em if youíve got em!  (Read 749 times)

Offline StolenB8

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Smoke em if youíve got em!
« on: Mar 13, 2021, 09:03 AM »
Alright clamfarmer got me thinking... dangerous I know! Let see some pics of smokers full of fish! Maybe throw in recipes if itís not a family secret!  :thumbsup:

Offline Jack978

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #1 on: Mar 13, 2021, 10:07 AM »
I use a wet smoker for doing all my smoking which produces a different product than dry smoking which takes a lot longer.  Its not so much preservation as cooking.   Since mine uses propane it keeps a constant temperature without having to screw around with it much.

Prepare the fish by brining them overnight. You can do this by adding a generous amount of salt to a one gallon freezer bag adding enough water to cover the fish and letting them set in the refrigerator overnight.   In a pinch just take wet fish and rub salt all over them if your are in a hurry. 

Prepare the smoker by bringing it up to about 200 degrees and adding tarragon to the water pan. Usually its best to add the wood (pre soaked in water for at least 20 minutes) you are going to use at the beginning before you put the fish on.  Its a judgement call how much to add but several pinches of tarragon are usually enough.  Put the fish on (spray the racks with oil so they don't stick) and bring back up to 200 degrees and walk away for 3 hours or so.  Avoid the urge to check before then.  If its cold and windy out perhaps 4 hours but with enough water in the pan you don't have to go to the minute as it won't burn or dry out. Make sure the water pan is full since otherwise the temp will climb and blacken the fish and possibly dry it out.

At the 3 hour mark open the door and pull them out.  Remember to complain endlessly to the wife about the back breaking labor involved and how difficult it was.   The skin will peel off easily and the outside will be a very rich golden color. The fish will be moist and flake easily. 

Everything from there is a matter of taste and trial and error.  Dry smoking is a totally different process but this is a quick way to make dinner and usually the fish will last for a week at least in the refrigerator.   I use oak or applewood but  as long as you stay away from hickory or pine in particular its what tastes best to you.

I'm sure someone will have a better way to do it but life is complicated enough without adding additional layers.  I've mostly used this with trout and salmon but pretty much works the same for any kind of fish. 

Offline clamfarmer

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #2 on: Mar 13, 2021, 10:21 AM »
I use a wet smoker for doing all my smoking which produces a different product than dry smoking which takes a lot longer.  Its not so much preservation as cooking.   Since mine uses propane it keeps a constant temperature without having to screw around with it much.
  Cool! Thanks! Iíll save this recipe for use when I get my unit up!
A long time ago, I had whitefish that was smoked whole. They were all a golden color and very moist inside. The pin bones were firmly attached to the vertebrate similar to a perfectly pan cooked brook trout. They were one of the most amazing foods Iíve ever eaten! It was almost like eating flaky smoked butter! I wonder if the smoking method used was similar to yours. I imagine is also had something to do with the fish being whole such that none of the moisture and oils bleed out in the smoker. I believe the fish was smoked in Canada. Iíll be doing a little  research.
"You canít buy happiness, but you can buy fishing gear and thatís kind of the same thing.Ē 

Offline Snitch#8

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #3 on: Mar 13, 2021, 10:41 AM »
Silly me, I thought this thread was going to be about hitting the gonga!  On a different note, I use brown sugar "lots of it" approximately 2-3 lbs, about two cups of kosher salt, half bottle of Worcestershire, 1/4 cup coarse black pepper, 2 tbls coarse chopped garlic and a gal of water.  Then I heat everything in a big pot so that everything combines good and the sugar melts.  After that I put the fish, or whatever I want to smoke into the solution and let it set overnight in cool place.  A spare fridge in the garage works great, for me.  Obviously, you will want to tweak it to your taste.  Smoking is like a lot of other things, people like different things and you will need to use the trail by error method.  I have used the above recipe for Salmon, whitefish, Steelhead and suckers for years.  One big thing in smoking is of course, the wood!  I like to use green apple wood.  I have used; oak, hickory, maple and pear, but I prefer apple.  And, I like to use a cold smoke.  To make a cheap smoker I like using a 55 gal drum.  I punched small holes around each rib.  Then I wove wire crisscross through the holes so that I could lay a piece of chicken wire on it, to lay the fish on.  After making the smoker I dug a hole just big enough where I could still set the barrel over it.  Then I dug a trench from that hole about six to eight foot long.  Then I dug a bigger hole, the fire box.  Then I merely put a piece of roofing tin over the trench and the fire box hole.  I usually use the sod and dirt to cover the trench hole.  I put the wood in the firebox hole, light it and get it started, once going I spritz it with a spray bottle of water until most of the flame is gone.  Then I cover the firebox with tin and seal it with sod and dirt.  I then cover the barrel with a piece of tin and wait.  I'll check the fish after three or four hours to see how it is.  Then, I'll check it ever half hour or so.  When it gets to wear I want it, I'll remove the cover and start taking the shelves of smoked fish out of the smoker.  Hopefully this will give anyone who is just starting to smoke an idea on both ingredients to start with and how to build a cheap smoker that will last you for years.  Enjoy!   

Offline grub662

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #4 on: Mar 13, 2021, 11:49 AM »
Alder is excellent for smoking fish and it is everywhere.
If you fish the wrong lure long and hard enough it will eventually become the right lure!

Offline Jack978

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #5 on: Mar 13, 2021, 02:19 PM »
Regardless of technique fruit woods seem to be the go to along with alder for smoking fish.  The brine or marinate is a matter of personal taste and experimenting is always in order.  My father grew up in eastern Europe along a tributary of a major river that was loaded with sturgeon back in the day and smoking them was about the only preservation method available.    They favored a cold smoking method and that's where I got the salt idea from but regardless of how you do it the product is very good. Whole fish tend to work best and the less you mess with them the easier it is.  No need to advertise its easy but with an inexpensive smoker from Lowes or Home Depot you can become the envy of the neighborhood.

Offline Jack978

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #6 on: Mar 13, 2021, 02:22 PM »
  Cool! Thanks! Iíll save this recipe for use when I get my unit up!
A long time ago, I had whitefish that was smoked whole. They were all a golden color and very moist inside. The pin bones were firmly attached to the vertebrate similar to a perfectly pan cooked brook trout. They were one of the most amazing foods Iíve ever eaten! It was almost like eating flaky smoked butter! I wonder if the smoking method used was similar to yours. I imagine is also had something to do with the fish being whole such that none of the moisture and oils bleed out in the smoker. I believe the fish was smoked in Canada. Iíll be doing a little  research.


What you are describing is exactly how they turn out the way I do it.  Some like it hot off the smoker but actually if you let it sit a while more flavor comes through for some reason. 

Offline Snitch#8

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Re: Smoke em if youíve got em!
« Reply #7 on: Mar 13, 2021, 04:43 PM »
Sometimes I leave venison smoke over night.  BUT, if you do that you better stay up and watch it.  I have had to chase racoons off of my smoker in the the past.  Obviously, if you are using a manufactured smokers, the chance of them getting to the meat is less.  But, I like using the old tried and true homemade smoker.  I have been using the same type since I was a kid and you can't get much cheaper, lol.

 



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