QUICK GUIDE TO COOKING FISH ON A SMOKER
Slow roasting fish on a fish smoker is one of the best ways to cook fish. The flesh of the fish peels away as delicious tender and flaky chunks infused with all the flavours of sweet smoky wood. Portable fish smokers are excellent for camping and fishing trips. You can cook your favourite fish while you are catching more. There is nothing like taking your time when smoking a fish. Here are some tips to get the most out smoking fish.
FATTIER FISH ARE SIMPLY THE BEST
Fattier fish, such as Tuna, Bass, Trout and Salmon are absolutely perfect for smoking fish. Fattier fish better absorb smoke compared with leaner fish. I would not go smoking Whiting, for example.
PREPARE YOUR FISH FOR SMOKING
Even if you are out camping and fishing, it pays to spend a little time preparing your fish. You can take a look at the recipe below for the ultimate way to prepare your fish for smoking. I highly recommend cooking your fish whole (after gutting) or smoking your fish as fillets with the skin.
GET THE RIGHT WOOD CHIPS
Sweet and mild wood chips are the best. A few different woods mixed together works really well. I like using a mixture of woods for heat and smokey taste. Remember, fruit woods burn quite fast. Also, note the best wood chips are actually as fine a sawdust.
MARINATE IN BRINE
If you want a truly amazing fish smoking experience, try marinating your fish in brine first. Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1/2 a cup of salt in 2 cups of water over a low heat. Once cooled, this is your brine for marinating. The longer you soak your fish, the better it will taste because the salt helps to firm up the fish while the sugar adds some flavour. You can always add other condiments such as soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce – this is something I like to experiment carefully with.
SMOKE YOUR FISH
How long you will smoke your fish for will depend on the type of smoker you are using. For example, a cold smoker can take up to 3 hours even at 200 Fahrenheit. I’m partial to portable smokers that have their own heat source. Mine uses a small heating source fuelled with methylated spirits. It’s very clean, there is none of the mess and messing about that comes along with a charcoal smoker and it cooks and smokes fish in around 15-20 minutes. The other advantage of this type of portable box smoker is that they turn out a considerable amount of heat. The trick to the best results is a combination of the amount of heat and the amount of fine wood chips.
Getting your fish just right take a little trial an error, just like with any cooking. Smoking fish comes down to trial and error and the type and size of the fish, and the type of smoker you are using. For example, I smoke a 700g Rainbow Trout for 13 minutes on the top tray for perfection.
Whether you have just caught your fish or you got it from the supermarket, always make sure your fish has reached a safe internal temperature before taking off the smoker. Again, this is not so much of an issue with the portable box smoker with its own heat source I recommend.
Finally, remember to smoke fish somewhere with plenty of ventilation. This is not something you do in the kitchen. I like to use the porch.
Do you have any cooking secrets? Let us know and share with everyone.