View Full Version : Smoked Fish

07-29-2006, 06:47 AM
Thinking about smoking fish... Kokes, trout, strippers... Any comments / recommendations on equipment. Is the finished product good? worth the trouble to smoke?


07-29-2006, 08:04 AM
Dobies - I have been smoking trout/salmon/steelhead/kokanee for years, and it is great. I started with a Little Chief (electric) and upgraded to a Big Chief. They give you a basic recipe book, and you can customize their brines to your liking. You'll find that friends and neighbors will start asking you when you will be smoking the next batch.
Just means you have to go fishing more often!

07-29-2006, 11:06 AM
Hi reeltor,

Thanks for the info!
couple of questions... How do you store smoke fish? What's the shelf life? Do you freeze your catch and then thaw when you can fill the smoker?


07-29-2006, 12:48 PM
Dobies- Santa brought me a vacuum sealer for Christmas, and it is fantastic for all kinds of use. Smoked fish does have a pretty good shelf life (measured in days) in a baggie in the fridge. Mine is usually gone by then, anyway. For smoking, I don't find any problems with frozen fish (that's where the vacuum sealer really comes in handy). It all depends on my work schedule, since I have to fill the pan with chips (usually 3 pans), and then be sure to unplug the smoker before everything turns to leather. I smoke outside on my deck (I'm at 4000' elevation) and outside temps do have an effect on time in the smoker (along with the thickness of the fish). I usually put the thickest on the lower racks, working my way up with the thinner pieces. Last batch was all planters, and took about 3 hours of smoking in the Big Chief (outside temp was 70's to 80's). In the winter, with snow falling, it takes longer. My basic brine is water, brown sugar, non-iodized salt, soy sauce, red peppers, black pepper, minced garlic, and maybe a little teriyaki sauce. Lots of folks add some red wine. Soak everything overnight (I usually just cut the cleaned fish down the backbone, with head and tail removed), put them in a ziplock or 2 and let them sit in the fridge. I think it is pretty hard to really mess up a batch of smoked fish - just try a few variations and see what you like. Re the vacuum sealer, it also comes in handy when the local market has a great sale on tri-tips or ribeyes. Meat stays a lot fresher longer. Enjoy!

07-30-2006, 07:08 AM
Hi Reeltor,

Great info... I really appreciate your taking the time!

Watch for smoke signals to the Northwest !! :D


08-02-2006, 08:15 AM
A simple thing:

In the past, I have always allowed my smoked fish to cool for later consumption. With my last batch I decided to try some right off the smoker. It was fantastic warm and fresh off the smoker. Maybe I was just slow learning this but you all should definitely try it right off the smoker.

08-06-2006, 04:22 PM
Smoking is pretty time consuming but well worth it. Even people who normally don't like fish will gobble up some smoked salmon! Stick with the oilier fish (salmon, trout, tuna, shad, etc.). I second getting a Little Chief to start out with.

08-12-2006, 05:44 PM
My Buddy just brought me my smoked kokanee, never had it, I am still getting over the flu and this was just what I needed. I am buying a smoker, this convinced me. fatcat is right, I don't care much for fish but am still licking my fingers with 11 smoked fish left. Can I freeze this, it is vacume sealed.

08-12-2006, 10:45 PM
Sure. I've kept vacuum sealed smoked fish for up to a year frozen. Still tasted fine.

08-13-2006, 04:18 AM
thanks doc

08-18-2006, 07:41 PM
smoking fish is a lost art!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

started out as a natural way to preserve the fish or any other meat....i learned from my father who learned from a native american family in Montana

i use an old charcoal,water,woodchip smoker, i smoke most any fish...pay attention to the type of fish...ie naturally oily fish (salmon) -V- white fishes (striper) the only reason i say this is because it plays into the types of brine's and time table of smoking.

the aboved mentioned brine by reeltor is very good and easy...i have used that for many fish...(white wine is better than red) and dont use some CRAP wine if you wouldnt drink it for dinner then dont brine with it...that takes care of thunderbird, boons farm and the rest. ;) ;)

a good salmon brine oilly fish...

1 qt H2o...1/2 cup brown sugar...1/2 cup non-iodized salt...1/2 tsp garlic salt (i use fresh chopped)....1/4 tsp black pepper....1/4 tsp tabasco sause....1/2 cup white wine.....1 cup soy (this can be subed out for almost any falvor of choice.)

now i also add for salmon two shots of premium whiskey..and chile flake (pinch - to taste)

brine time is approx 12 hrs depending upon thickness....

i also use (while smoking) a honey water glaze that i mix (just simple honey and water wisked together untill a mild thickness and i brush it on as i smoke the fish.....(ever heard of HONEY GLAZED... ;) ;))

for white fish the recipe changes.....same H2O....same salt....1/2 cup WHITE sugar.....1 oz lemon juice...3 whole glaric cloves...3 tbs pickeling spice....1/4 tsp lemon pepper and bay leaves to taste usually 2-4 leaves.

again i spice it up with 2 shots of TEQUILLA top shelf usually 1800 is the lowest grade i go....

those are two simple recipes i use and they should work for anyone!

as for placement i do disagree with reeltor...HEAT RISES and my thickes pieces stay on the top and thin goes in the middle and with mildly thick on the bottom.

time line is really up to the person who will be eating it...i like mine dryer than most so i leave it on longer usually with a 1-1&1/4 inch piece i will smoke it for 6-8 hrs keeping the heat constant which is a trick. keep coals going in another Q is the key..and replace as necessary.

shelf life will be maxed by the use of a vacuum sealer but like most i get hit up from everyone and their mom so i just ziplock it and it says for a month or so in the fridge.....the most important thing to do once you take the fish off is to LET IT COOL DOWN TO ROOM TEMP before packing....the fish will leak it still has moisture and that will spoil it if left alone in the bag (MOLD)

hope this helps and if you want any other recipes just let me know....i got a bunch that i have tried some date back to the 1900's that are Native American.


08-23-2006, 07:47 PM
my last batch of ocean fresh smoked salmon was the best..i dry brined it in 3 boxes of brown sugar and a little over 1/2 cup canning salt for 2.5 days.kept it in the fridge in a food grade bowl covered,let it get all juicy stirred and turned it a few time a day till the pieces were glowing like candy.dried for about a hour and smoked for about 8-9 hours in my big chief with appricott and plum trimmings.ohhh,,my i want more now..