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Smoking fish

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Got 4 big Salmon fillets I plan on smoking tomorrow, never done it before though. I have a Brinkmann charcoal smoker, any tips on how to get the best results out of it and not screw these things up?

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brine the fish

¼ cup kosher salt, for every quart of water

 

Refrigerate overnight

Air dry 30 min

Smoke 2-3 hrs till done ,skin side down

 

Kettle smoker

Charcoal pan ½ full

Waterpan 2/3 full

Soak wood chunks ½ hour,  when coals are ready add chips

add more coal or wood chunks as and if needed

 

you may get more replies by posting in the cooking section

Edited by jerseyhunter

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We have several places that Smoke Mullet and it is Fine eating, several places also serve Fried Mullet, Greens with bacon bits, fried potato with onion such a feast. 

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This is from a well-known site - smoking meat forums dot com. I've tried it and its really good sliced about 1/4" thick and served on crackers with a smear of cream cheese. The author used an electric smoker but I'm sure you can adapt it to whatever you use.

 

Thaw fillets, remove skin, cut the fillets lengthwise right down the middle and cut these strips into 7" or 8" lengths (usually 1/3 of the length of the fillet).
Put these pieces into the following brine:

Brine:
Put 1/2 quart of apple juice in a pot on the stove, bringing to low boil & then down to simmer.
Add to this;
6 ounces of soy sauce
1/2 cup of non-iodized salt
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of Garlic powder
1/2 tsp of Onion powder
1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of Dried Bay Leaf Flakes (or 2 or 3 fresh bay leaves)

Stir until salt is dissolved. Then add 1 1/2 quarts of water & ice to cool quickly.

Leave the Salmon pieces submerged in this brine for 6 hours in fridge. Overnight was too long. 4 hours was not long enough.

On Edit due to further testing, I will change the lengths of time to keep pieces of fish in the above brine:

Pieces thicker than 1/2" should be in brine for 6 hours.

Pieces 1/2" thick or less should only be in brine for 4 hours.

After removing from brine, rinse each piece well, pat dry, and lay on paper towels.

Get however many smoker racks you will need. My batches just fit on three racks. Spray each rack with Pam to limit the amount the fish will stick to the racks. Dry the thickest pieces one at a time again with paper towels, and put these pieces on one rack. Dry the thinnest pieces, and put them on a different rack. Dry the rest of the pieces, and put them on a third rack. I put the three racks in my extra fridge overnight (uncovered) to dry & form pellicle.

The next day: (Time to smoke the Salmon)
Put the rack with thinnest pieces on top position of your smoker, medium on next position, and thickest on third position.
NO water in water pan.
Exhaust vent fully opened.
Put meat probe in center of thickest piece of fish.
Set smoker to 100 degrees.
Put hickory chips & a couple chunks of Hickory in smoking pan.
During smoking, when smoke stops, add Apple chips & chunks.
Use Hickory only for first couple hours.
I try for a light to medium smoke with my MES.
A little burst of heavy smoke doesn't seem to hurt.
Don't need any smoke after first 4 hours.

 

Note: If I would have had an AMNPS at the time I smoked this Salmon, I would have filled it, lit one end, and put smoke on it for the whole time it was in my smoker.


Keep smoker at 100* for about one hour.
One hour later, bump temp up to 120*--------My internal is about 76*
One half hour later, bump to 140*--------------My internal is about 98*
One half hour later, bump to 160*--------------My internal is about 113*
One half hour later, bump to 180*--------------My internal is about 124*
One hour later, bump to 200*-------------------My internal is about 134*

Remove pieces as they go above 145* internal.
How long this takes doesn't matter, just so they go over 145*.
Some of mine have gone up to over 160*, and it didn't hurt.
If you have to, you can bump your smoker up to 200*, but no higher.

Let the pieces cool for an hour or more in an open top plastic bowl.
Put the bowl in a fridge overnight (uncovered) to cool & air out.

Next day, dump pieces out on paper towels, wipe surface moisture off of each piece, and vacuum pack a couple pieces in each pack. Mark date & freeze packs.


Thawing before eating:
After freezing & thawing, the pieces have a lot of moisture on their surfaces. I found that the best thing to do is rinse each piece quickly, and wipe each piece dry with paper towels. Any piece from that pack that isn’t eaten immediately should be wrapped loosely in a paper towel, and stored in the refrigerator. After the first day or two, you can put the leftover thawed pieces in a baggie to keep from getting too dry. These pieces should keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 or 5 days. I never had any left thawed out longer than that, so I don’t know how much longer they’ll keep in the fridge.

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Pete has given me some pretty good smoked trout before. Maybe he'll pipe in here. 

As far as the recipe above, that sounds like a nice brine. I couldn't get my WSM down to 100 degrees, though. 

Edited by MikeMc

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One of the most important things to do when smoking fish is to let a pellicle form first before putting it in a smoker.

 

Pellicle formation

Before cured foods are smoked, they should be allowed to air-dry long enough to form a tacky skin, known as a pellicle. The pellicle plays a key role in producing excellent smoked items. It acts as a kind of protective barrier for the food, and also plays an important role in capturing the smoke’s flavor and color.

Most foods can be properly dried by placing them on racks or by hanging them on hooks or sticks. It is important that air be able to flow around all sides. They should be air-dried uncovered, in the refrigerator or a cool room. To encourage pellicle formation, you can place the foods so that a fan blows air over them. The exterior of the item must be sufficiently dry if the smoke is to adhere.

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Just smoked some bluefish yesterday, so have to make this comment...

 

I dry brine with kosher salt, lemon zest, and brown sugar. To cover a decent sized fillet, you need a fair amount of the mix, which means a fair amount of salt.  And I do this stupid thing all the time, and did i again and can kick myself.... :o.............

 

An overnight brine is WAY too long, you will have a very salty product. (I live with it cause I am a salt fiend anyway, but I should know better by now.)

 

About 4 - 6 hours is plenty even with a wet brine.

 

And as was said, blot dry, crack on some black pepper,  squeeze on some lemon juice, add whatever other hers/spices you want and let sit long enough to form a pellicle. You can speed that up by putting it in a tray in front of an AC or box fan (But I now see Rocky already said that.....).

Edited by Steve in Mass

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If the fillets are thick, go to the end span of the time, perhaps the full 6 hours. Likely more important to leave time to form a good pellicle if you want to do them tonight, though if you need to sacrifice the brine time..

Edited by Steve in Mass

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1 hour ago, HopHead said:

Take a small piece and make salmon dip with it after you smoke it.....I have a recipe if you need it.  I was skeptical but loved it.

 

Bluefish works as well... 

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7 hours ago, MikeMc said:

Pete has given me some pretty good smoked trout before. Maybe he'll pipe in here. 

As far as the recipe above, that sounds like a nice brine. I couldn't get my WSM down to 100 degrees, though. 

You get a pie plate or a old pot or some thing and light 3 or so bricketts with a torch and put a bunch of chips on top of the coals for cold smoking.

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9 minutes ago, Wigeon said:

Planning on smoking some togue this winter. Supposedly its the best way to make them fit to eat.

What's a togue?

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