How to Smoke Fish
Knowing how to smoke fish can make a tasty, rustic alternative to other home cooked methods. The following process is called hot smoking, and unlike the cold smoking process, here this fish is cooked and not preserved. You need eat the fish after cooking or refrigerate or freeze.
1- Prepare the fish. Use only fresh fish or fish that was quickly frozen. Clean fish, removing the head, tail, fins, as well as any bruised or damaged flesh. Wash it in fresh water.
2- Soak in brine. Prepare a salt-water brine of 2 1/2 tablespoons plain salt to 1 cup of water. You need about 1 litre (1 quart) of brine for 500g (1 pound) of fish. Place the fish in brine for 15 minutes for every 1/2-inch thickness of the fish.
3- Prepare the smoker. Plan on smoking the fish for 3 hours plus 30 minutes per 500g (1 pound) of fish. So gauge how much smoking wood or coal you might need (your experienced based on the model of your smoker is the best way to do this).
4- Insert the fish. Remove the fish from brine and rinse with cold water before placing it, skin side down, on an oiled smoker rack.
5- Slow cook. Keep the temperature low, around 70 degrees C (160 degrees F) for the first 2 hours. Increase heat after the first 2 hours to around 100 degrees C (210 degrees F). Continue smoking the fish until it’s flaky and cooked through.
6- Serve. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If you don’t plan on eating the fish within the next couple of days, wrap it tightly and put it in the freezer.
Don’t use a smoker inside! Your house will stink!
To reduce the fishy smell whilst smoking, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per cup of brine.
If this is your first try at smoking fish, it’s best not to use an expensive fish. Try it out with the couple of cheaper fish until you get the hang of it.