BBQ FAQ Section 10.10

 

10.10 Fish

Editor--

The methods and recipes below are for hot smoking fish as opposed to cold smoking. Cold smoking fish is for preservation of the meat and is not the subject of this FAQ.

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[How about some tips on hot smoking fish on my smoker?]

Dave Frary--

Fish should be soaked in a salt water brine for a few hours before smoking. It prevents the meat from getting mushy during the cooking. Cooking times are relatively short with fish.

This recipe will work with Mackerel, Bluefish, Salmon, and even Cod.

If you catch the fish yourself, cut through their throat to bleed them while they're still alive. Put them head down in a bucket so they'll pump out as much blood as possible. Wash and chill the whole fish until you can fillet them. Early in the morning of the day you're going to smoke, wash 4 to 6 fillets and place them in a brine made from:

Dave Frary's Brine For Fish Smoking

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

quart cold water

1/3

cup Kosher salt

1/4

cup sugar

1

teaspoon black, red or other peppers to taste

Mix this together in a glass or enamel bowl; add the fish and submerge the fillets with a weight to hold them under the brine. Brine the fillets in the refrigerator from 2 to 4 hours (longer makes the fish saltier).

Remove the fillets and wipe dry with paper towels. Place them, skin side down, on several thicknesses of dry paper towels and let them air dry for several hours. The surface is dry enough when your finger sticks to the flesh.

Hot smoke over a 250F wood fire for about 2 hours or until the fillets are firm to the touch (like medium rare steak).

Peel off the skin and serve.

===============

Here's a great grilled fish recipe:

Grilled Fish Marinade

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

small onion chopped

1

tablespoon brown sugar

1/4

cup cider vinegar

2

tablespoons catsup

2

tablespoons dry mustard

1

teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4

teaspoon ground cloves

1

teaspoon chili powder

1/4

teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2

pounds firm whitefish fillets such as red snapper or halibut

Combine all sauce ingredients in a pot, place over medium heat and boil until reduced to a thin syrup. Pour the syrup through a strainer, discard the onion in the strainer and chill the syrup. Place fish steaks or fillets in a baking dish and spoon some syrup over them. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Cook the fish on a hot grill, basting with a teaspoon of barbecue syrup on each side.

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[Anyone got recipes for grilling and smoking salmon?]

Dave Frary--

Smoked Salmon Marinade from Backwoods Frank

Salmon Marinade No. 1 - (Enough brine for two large Salmon fillets)

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1/2

gallon hot water

1/2

cup Kosher salt

1-1/2

cup brown sugar

3

tablespoons garlic powder

3

tablespoons black pepper coarse grind

1/2

cup soy sauce

1

tablespoon bay leaves crushed

Add ingredients to hot water and stir until dissolved. Allow brine to cool. Add salmon fillets, soak covered for 3 hours in refrigerator. Remove fillets and air dry for at least 1 hour. Smoke in a single layer for about 2 hours at 250F or until firm and golden.

 

Salmon Marinade No. 2 - (Enough brine for two large Salmon fillets.)

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

3

cups water

1

cup soy sauce

1/3

cup brown sugar

1/3

cup white sugar

1/3

cup Kosher salt

1/2

teaspoon onion powder

1/2

teaspoon garlic powder

1/2

teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

Stir until ingredients are dissolved. Marinate fillets overnight. Air dry fillets and smoke as usual.

 

Smoke-Grilled Salmon

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

teaspoon lime rind grated

1/4

cup lime juice

1

tablespoon vegetable oil

1

teaspoon Dijon mustard

1

pinch pepper

4

salmon steaks cut 1-inch thick

1/3

cup toasted sesame seed optional

In shallow dish, combine lime rind and juice, oil, mustard and pepper; add fish, turning to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Reserving marinade, remove fish; sprinkle with sesame seed. Place on greased grill directly over medium heat. Add soaked wood chips. Cover and cook, turning and basting with marinade halfway through, for 16-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

=============

Ryan Hamilton--

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

2

salmon fillets

2

thin untreated cedar planks

1/4

cup ginger chopped

2

tablespoons lime or lemon zest finely chopped

2

tablespoons orange zest finely chopped

1

dash salt and pepper

2

tablespoons Cajun or Creole spice mix recipe follows

1

teaspoon thyme

1

teaspoon paprika

1

teaspoon salt, (this is optional

1

teaspoon garlic powder

1

teaspoon cayenne pepper

1

teaspoon black pepper

1

teaspoon white pepper

I tried this recipe last weekend, and it was amazing. This is a variant of a signature dish of Emeril Lagasse (of the TVFN fame). The original recipe used horseradish and trout instead of ginger and salmon.

I had a hard time finding thin cedar planks (shingles) sold singly in the local hardware store, they seemed to only sell them in bunches of 40. I did however find untreated cedar shims that I was able to make do with.

So anyway, here's what you do. Preheat your grill and oil up one side of the cedar with your olive oil. Sprinkle a bit of the Cajun seasoning on the plank, and lay the filet of salmon on top. Season the filet with salt, pepper, and the spice mix. Cover the filet completely with the ginger and zest -- this adds flavor and helps the fish retain all of its moisture. Put the whole thing directly on the grill over the coals (cedar plank side down), close the lid, and stand back! The thing will smoke like crazy for a while. Check on the salmon after 15 minutes. If the plank catches on fire before the salmon is done, simply spray it with some water (I had to do this a couple times).

When the salmon is done, you can either serve the whole thing with the cedar flaming around the edges, or remove it from the cedar plank and serve. You may wish to remove most of the crushed ginger topping as it is a bit overpowering.

A nice sauce to accompany this can be made with soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil. I don't know the measurements, I just winged it.

=================

Bear's Smoked Salmon

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

cup brown sugar

1

cup salt

1/4

cup lemon pepper

1

large whole salmon cut into steaks

Mix all the dry items for rub.

Lay out a piece of plastic wrap long enough to wrap both filets well. Lay a filet scales down 5 inches up from the bottom of the wrap (lengthwise so the ends are left open). Pack all the "rub" on top of the filet. Lay the other side face down into the "rubbed" fish". You should now have the semblance of a sugar stuffed fishy.

Flip the bottom of the wrap up over the top of the fish and wrap it tightly (leaving the ends open).

Put on a cookie rack (or some such) in a baking dish and in the refrigerator. Let sit for 24 hours. Brown water will roll out of the ends that you left open.

Remove from wrap and scrape off excess rub. Let stand and air dry for 3 hours.

Smoke at 160F for 2-4 hours (when it starts to flake apart with a fork, it's done). I like to use cherry wood this.

===============

Bob's Grilled Salmon

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

4

4-6 oz. salmon steaks

3

tablespoons melted butter

1

tablespoon lemon juice

1

tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/4

teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4

teaspoon garlic salt

1/4

teaspoon salt

1

dash hot pepper sauce -- (optional

Combine the sauce ingredients stirring thoroughly. Generously brush both sides of the salmon steaks with mixture.

Grill on a well-oiled grill over hot coals. Make a tent of foil or use barbecue cover and place over salmon. Grill 6-8 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your steaks. Baste frequently. Turn once, brushing with sauce. Steaks should flake easily when tested with a fork.

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[I hot smoked a salmon steak in my NBBD the other day without brining and it came out perfect. Why do experienced fish smokers say to brine fish before I smoke it?]

Editor--Summary of several posts--

List members report that brining fish before hot smoking fish is optional. Brining before hot smoking a fish steak or filet firms up the flesh and improves the flavor but it is not necessary to brine the fish prior to smoking to get a good product. Do a side by side comparison, a piece of the same fish with brine and one without and see which you like best.

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[I have heard a rumor that smoking fish leaves an odor in the smoker that remains long after the fish has been devoured. I was wondering if there is any truth to this?]

Charles Hersey--

We heard this claim on the List --that fish might foul a smoker. As I recall, it wasn't a valid claim for the most part. I have an electric smoker that is unaffected by smoking fish.

Editor--

Many List members smoke fish in their home smokers. No one has reported that the smoker has been fouled by doing this. Perhaps when smoking oily fish, such as bonito or mackerel, there might be some odor than lingers. We suggest that after smoking fish, the smoker be cleaned with Simple Green and all traces of grease from previous smoking sessions be removed.

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BBQ FAQ Ver 1.0, 2.0 1997, 1998 William W. Wight. All rights reserved.

 

Thursday, November 25, 1999
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