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Originally posted by Gatofeo on Sun, Nov 17, 2002

Most smoked fish recipes call for "a pinch of this and a tablespoon of that" and so on.
Years ago, at my lakeside cabin in British Columbia, I discovered the perfect smoking salt --- and you only need three ingredients:
2 lbs or 1 kilogram of Morton table salt
1 cup of brown sugar, soft and fresh if possible
2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Cut trout (or similar fish) down the back so they lie flat. You may also use fist-sized chunks of salmon, not more than two inches thick.
Get a large plastic or ceramic container (I like a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket).
Sprinkle a thin layer of the salting mixture in the bottom of the container, then place the fish skin-side down. Sprinkle another layer over the fish. Add another fish on top of it, and sprinkle this second fish.
Continue until the bucket is full or you've used all your fish.
Allow the fish to marinate for about 90 minutes. You can drain off the brine, but it's not neccesary.
Rinse off fish in the sink, ensuring that all trace of the salt mixture is gone from the crevices of the flesh. You needn't pat the fish dry, the smoker will dry it.
Place skin side down in the smoker.
I use green aspen chips for smoking. Though some claim that leaving the bark on the chips will taint the fish, this is not my experience. I put the chips in the smoking pan, bark attached and all.
Here at home in Utah, I buy the sacks of commercial smoking wood. Apple, cherry, alder and hickory are all good. It doesn't make a difference.
Smoking time varies with the size of the smoker, heat of the smoke and the heat of the day.
I've smoked on my home patio, with a small electric smoker, in a few hours during the summer. During the winter, when temperatures are below freezing, smoking may take a few hours longer.
Smoking time also varies with the size of the fish. I place the larger or thicker fish at the bottom, nearer the heat and smoke source. The smaller fish are on top.
You can change these around if it appears the bigger fish are hogging the heat and smoke.
It is absolutely critical, however, that you leave a small space of 1/4 inch or more bewteen each fish, so smoke can waft between them. They must not touch each other.
The fish are done when you can press against the flesh and it feels very firm and doesn't dent.
I like my smoked fish moist. Others prefer it very dry and hard, especially to preserve it longer.
Serve with crackers, bleu cheese and dark beer at cellar temperature.
This is a much-awaited meal at my Canada cabin: trout still warm from the smoker, crackers, bleu cheese and dark beer.
 

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:grin: Now THAT sounds good!! Wonder how a channel cat would be smoked!?


Butler Ford
 
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