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Smoking fish

zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
Just curious if anyone has any unique brine recipes for smoking fish they care to share  my grandfather used to have perfect recipe for it but never wrote it down I guess. By time I asked him to show me the alzheimers was so bad he couldn't remember. I have all ingredients he used I just can't ever seem to get the right portions mixed in. Never tastes like his used to. Thanks in advance to anyone who shares. 

Replies

  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 11,786 AG
    I have been using this brine for over 20 years. I got it out of a old BBQ cookbook.

    3 quarts cool water
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups salt
    3 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    4 bay leaves

    stir everything up until salt and sugar are dissolved and add your fish. 
    Let brine for 1 hour, rinse, pat dry and  set it on a rack to dry until pellicle forms 30-60 minutes. The surface of fish should feel tacky

    May not be the one you are looking for but I hope it helps.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    Thank you you can never have too many recipes in your kitchen  appreciate it. 
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,132 Officer
    I don't know if this will help or not if you have multiple ingredients. 
      
    Years ago when I first started smoking fish I was given a simple brine recipe that I still use today.  The basic ratio is:
    8 cups of water
    1 cup salt (kosher salt seems to work best for me)
    1 cup sugar (either white sugar or brown will work)
    You can use just the plain brine or you can add other seasonings to it to suit your taste.

    As Conchydong said, you want to make sure the sugar and salt are completely dissolved before adding your fish.
    I like to brine mine for at least 8 hours.  Then rinse well, pat dry and set out to air dry until the fish feels tacky, as Conchy said.

    Are you using the same fish, wood for smoking, temperature, smoking method, etc., as your grandfather used?  I have found that in addition to the brine used there are many factors that can effect the taste of your final product.

    Good luck, Keep experimenting until you hit the right taste, then write it down.  To me experimenting is half the fun.  Sometimes things I try work and sometimes they don't.  My problem is that I don't write the recipes down like I should (I always think I'll remember) so I find it hard to duplicate more than one or two basic recipes that I use. 

  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    Yes sir it's always been the same fish but absolutely like you said it doesn't take much of a variable to completely change the end product  experimenting is definitely half the fun I just figured sooner or later I would atleast come close to his but never been the case. Took me a long time to figure out you don't need much Wood to actually" smoke " it I would always go way overboard on that. 
  • Frank SFrank S Posts: 46 Deckhand
    Been smoking fish a long time. This is the way I do it, plenty of good techniques out there.
    1 gal water, 1 1/2 cup Kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup molasses. You can add any other spices or flavors you like, this is basic brine. I like to start with cold water then just keep stirring until everything is dissolved, will look like black coffee. Brine overnight in fridge. Rinse WELL, until fish does not feel slippery. Set out on newspaper, paper towels, pat dry, let air dry until skin forms, turn over. Use a mild wood apple, oak, with charcoal, medium heat, 250-275, check after a couple hours. Thick or thin pieces will determine. Maybe switch high and low racks for even heat. Also---spraying the racks with PAM before smoking makes things go easier. Can also sprinkle seasoning on fish before the smoker, black pepper & brown sugar always seem to work well, or hot pepper if you like that. Good Luck, there will never be any leftovers, for sure.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    Love the replies thanks. Just curious if there's certain fish you prefer over others or doesn't really matter  only thing I've ever smoked is lake trout. 
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 5,807 Admiral
    Most smoke oily fish. King/Spanish Mac, Amberjack, cobia and some do bluefish. And of course mullet
    You should have been here yesterday
  • dnelsondnelson Posts: 235 Deckhand
    Water , salt, brown sugar and this McCormack’s spice added to make my brine.
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 11,786 AG
    Most smoke oily fish. King/Spanish Mac, Amberjack, cobia and some do bluefish. And of course mullet

    And for those of us on the East coast add Sailfish into that mix.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,058 Officer
    I have been using this brine for ovebyr 20 years. I got it out of a old BBQ cookbook.

    3 quarts cool water
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups salt
    3 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    4 bay leaves

    stir everything up until salt and sugar are dissolved and add your fish. 
    Let brine for 1 hour, rinse, pat dry and  set it on a rack to dry until pellicle forms 30-60 minutes. The surface of fish should feel tacky

    May not be the one you are looking for but I hope it helps.

    I have a recipe that is the same as yours except apple juice instead of water
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,473 Moderator
    I use no water.   2 parts Brown sugar, 1 part kosher salt, cajun spice.  Sprinkle heavily on each layer of fish i put in a plastic container and let the mixture draw the moisture out of the fish.  It forms it's own liquid.

  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    Lake trout is definitely oily/greasy. Am gonna try all these recipes before end of the summer appreciate responses  
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,132 Officer
    I was talking to someone last week and they said smoked blue tile is delicious.  I think they said just salt & pepper, no brine then into the smoker.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,190 Officer
    soy sauce and maple syrup
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    permit_me said:
    soy sauce and maple syrup
    Love em both. I still have about a gallon of pure syrup I cooked down end of last winter. My pops had Worcester shire sauce and honey added from time to time but my whole problem has been too much salt versus not enough water or soaking fish too long with certain recipes. The syrup and honey makes for a real nice glaze over surface after you rinse and pat
  • TabooTaboo NJPosts: 8 Deckhand
    Every one of those recipes sound delicious. My 2¢ is to try and not forget to check on your fish and leave them in too long. Ends up being jerky. 
  • Frank SFrank S Posts: 46 Deckhand
    Smoked a ton of lakers and salmon with the recipe mentioned above. With lake trout, I usually skinned them and cut out the lateral line, often with salmon too. Skin on/skin off is always a good debate in the north country. Here in Florida, spanish, kings, amberjack is all I've done. Turned out good, skin left on but scored so some of the oil can escape. No one right way, as someone mentioned, experimenting is half the fun. Before you know it, you'll be doing brisket and pulled pork. Fun fun
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    I'm heading up north next month for a couple weeks for my nephews graduation,and to catch as many trout as possible.the trout fishery on most of the finger lakes specifically cayuga is absolutely phenomenal. I remember in early 90's you could get into em but a decent one was 2 or 3 lbs  nowadays alot of times out me and a couple of buddies will boat anywhere from 15-20 8-10lbers vertical jigging for them. Makes for a fun day. Just curious frank when you say skin on/off when you leave it on do you just gut and clean the fish smoking whole or fillet each side leaving skin intact. Only time I ever left skin on was smaller ones I cleaned filled there bellies with veggies a little butter and wrapped in tin foil on grill
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,343 Moderator
    I use no water.   2 parts Brown sugar, 1 part kosher salt, cajun spice.  Sprinkle heavily on each layer of fish i put in a plastic container and let the mixture draw the moisture out of the fish.  It forms it's own liquid.

    Similar, but I do 1 to 1 for brown sugar and salt, and then for Cajun spice I use "Tony's Creole Seasoning" (easy enough to find at Publix).
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • RedRichRedRich Posts: 283 Deckhand
    I have been using this brine for over 20 years. I got it out of a old BBQ cookbook.

    3 quarts cool water
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups salt
    3 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    4 bay leaves

    stir everything up until salt and sugar are dissolved and add your fish. 
    Let brine for 1 hour, rinse, pat dry and  set it on a rack to dry until pellicle forms 30-60 minutes. The surface of fish should feel tacky

    May not be the one you are looking for but I hope it helps.

    I use this basic recipe but add 3 oz. of dark rum.
    I found it is better to heat up the brine to get everything to dissolve and then cool it down to brine the fish for about 4 hours.
  • Frank SFrank S Posts: 46 Deckhand
    Zimmy, with trout or salmon, always filleted the fish before smoking. Smaller ones, 5-6# might leave the skin on. Larger ones, I skinned and cut out lateral line. Personal preferance. Cooking on grill, sometimes cooked whole fish, just gutted, as you mentioned, fill cavity with veges. would sometimes wrap in foil, let it steam a bit, then open up the foil to finish. Have fun experimenting.
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,760 Captain
    For trout or salmon, I like brown sugar, salt and orange juice for a brine.
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • davidjohn85davidjohn85 FL, USAPosts: 7 Greenhorn
    I have been using this brine for over 20 years. I got it out of a old BBQ cookbook.

    3 quarts cool water
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups salt
    3 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    4 bay leaves

    stir everything up until salt and sugar are dissolved and add your fish. 
    Let brine for 1 hour, rinse, pat dry and  set it on a rack to dry until pellicle forms 30-60 minutes. The surface of fish should feel tacky

    May not be the one you are looking for but I hope it helps.

    Too many recipes you have. Enjoy yourself.
  • MGDMGD Posts: 1,233 Officer
    For those of you that smoke kings...do u leave skin on and if so do u smoke skin side up or down?

  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 11,786 AG
    Skin on and down on a oiled rack for me no matter what species of fish.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • BarrellBarrell Posts: 1,305 Officer
    I cut way back on the salt and add a whole bottle of soy sauce. I marinate at least 24 hours sometimes two days. I never rinse fish after brining.I never dry it but do leave it in big colander in sink until it starts to glaze over. I only use hickory on everything that enters smoker.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,343 Moderator
    Skin on, skin side down on oiled rack. I prefer Apple wood chips, but everyone has different tastes.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    Just got back from finger lakes and fished hard 4 days couple browns and couple lakers was what I ended up with they ended up on the grill. Guess I wont be smoking any fish till at least Thanksgiving.  Oh well

  • david236david236 United StatesPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    I have been using this brine for over 20 years. I got it out of a old BBQ cookbook.

    3 quarts cool water
    2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups salt
    3 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    4 bay leaves

    stir everything up until salt and sugar are dissolved and add your fish. 
    Let brine for 1 hour, rinse, pat dry and  set it on a rack to dry until pellicle forms 30-60 minutes. The surface of fish should feel tacky

    May not be the one you are looking for but I hope it helps.

    Thanks for sharing a nice idea.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,631 Captain
    here's another one I came across from lake ontario forum. Man they look tasty. 
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