Tips for Smoking Fish

You love your smoker and up until now you have only considered it to be a valuable resource in the wide world of beef and pork. Yet, some part of you has always wondered just what you could do with it if you had some great fish at the ready. Look no further for the answers to that question. We are prepared to offer you tips for smoking fish.

Obviously, the first thing you will need to do is get some fish. Consider purchasing the best fish finder so that when you and your friends go out on the boat, you always have something delicious to bring back to the family. You don’t want them thinking you just go out there to bake in the sun and drink beer. Having a fish finder at your disposal will let you do that (if it’s your desire), but will also enable you to bring home some significant grub to put on the smoker for all to enjoy.

Tips for Smoking Fish

What’s the Purpose of Smoking Fish?

If you’re going to smoke it, you should understand why you are doing that. When you smoke fish, you are using a dry heat for the purpose of preserving textures and flavors while simultaneously cooking the meat. And, you can cook just about any fish with this process. However, the more oily the fish, the better the results. So, if you’re thinking about using freshwater fish consider:

  • Char
  • Salmon
  • Shad
  • Sturgeon
  • Trout
  • Bass
  • Pike
  • Panfish

Some people will even smoke suckerfish and carp, though most of us consider those to be trash fish.

Two Types of Smoking

There are two types of smoking fish that are utilized. When someone wants to cold smoke a fish, temperatures have to remain at 60° to 110°F for a few hours. Cold smoking will allow the fish to maintain a relatively strong flavor, but it will not cook the fish. Commercial companies are the ones that most readily employ this method. Learn more.

Chances are you will be using the second smoking type, hot smoking, which will smoke and cook your fish. It is a lot easier to manage this form of smoking fish. Outdoor smokers are ideal and you can use any number of styles: electric, wood, charcoal, vertical water, and gas. Temperatures will have to remain as low as possible, between 150° to 170°, for fillets that can be done in an hour.

Before You Smoke

Just like you do with beef and pork, there is a pre-smoking process that must be adhered to. Fish have to be cured before they can be smoked. We understand that it probably doesn’t make a lot of logical sense to preserve something before you are about to preserve it, but it will help keep fish good for a longer period of time. So, follow these steps for curing before you smoke:

  • Soak fish in a salt brine– This can last a few minutes, to a couple of hours. And, you can add sugar and spices to the brine as well. Find a great recipe here.
  • Understand that size matters– In truth, your brine curing time is best decided by the size of the fish. If you’ve got 1 inch thick fillets, consider letting them soak for up to 3 hours. The time allotment will determine how salty your fish taste.
  • Allow to dry– Make sure the fish has completely dried before you smoke it. And, if you’d like to season again, go for it.
  • Skin Side Down– You can hang the fish on hooks too, if your smoker allows for that option. Let it cook until it’s a golden, flaky brown. Learn more fish smoking techniques.

If your fish finder isn’t the only fishing equipment you need prior to smoking, check out OutdoorTricks. Otherwise, enjoy some delicious fish soon.