Smoking fish properly: how to do it

Freshly smoked eel from my table smoker, tasty!

Freshly smoked fish is absolutely delicious and when it comes out of the smoker still steaming warm, it is sometimes a small feast. The best thing is to smoke fish properly

Smoking is not so difficult, if you consider a few things. It is also a very uncomplicated form of preparation and filleting is not necessary. It doesn’t matter if the fish is bought or caught by yourself. One can smoke with the same method also for example meat. For me is certain: who has eaten once freshly smoked trout still warmly from the furnace wants to eat so fast no welded from the supermarket again.

What you need for smoking

You do not need much to start, important is also a place to smoke. Because in the house or in the apartment you should not smoke, even on the balcony it can be critical, if you do not want to make trouble with your neighbors.

Here is the list with everything you need to smoke fish:

  • Fish for smoking
  • Salt
  • A plastic bucket or tub
  • Smoking flour
  • Optional: Spices
  • A smoker

This is how it works: simply smoke the fish

With this recipe and instructions smoking always succeeds.

1. The brine

First, the gutted and cleaned fish is placed in a brine. The salt content of this should be between 6 and 8%. For example, if I need 10 liters of brine, I add 600 grams of salt to get a 6% brine.

Remains to be clarified, how much smokehouse brine one needs then at all. For one kilogram of smoked fish you need about 1 liter of water. To give another example: for 6 portion trout of about 300 grams, which fit into any table smoker, you need about 2 liters of water and 120 grams of salt. If you like, you can also add spices such as bay leaves, cloves, etc. to the brine. give.

Smoking barrel and table smoker

Smoker oven is available in all sizes

Then you store the fish for about 10 hours in the brine, to obtain an optimal result. Shorter is also possible, but then the quality suffers a little and the fish is perhaps not yet completely salted.

2. Drying

Next, the fish must be washed well with fresh cold tap water, the cleaner it is now and freed from slime residues, the more beautiful the golden brown will be in the end.

I like to use some kitchen paper, because with it you can remove slime and water from the fish skin. Then let the fish dry for another 1-2 hours z.B. on the grate of the table smoker. The skin then becomes parchment-like. Only with eels one does without the drying.

3. Prepare the smoker and put the fish in it

The last step before smoking is to either put the fish directly in the table smoker or to put it on a hook and hang it in the smoking barrel. On the bottom of the smoker under the fat pan come one to two tablespoons of smoking flour. Then the burners of the smoker are filled with spirit or fuel paste and ignited.

4. Smoking

Now it goes 15-20 minutes in the hot smoking oven (about a table smoker see picture) and ready is the golden brown delicacy. For larger fish (45 cm + trout as an example) give an extra 4-5 minutes. A temperature of 100 °C is perfect, so that the fish is well cooked.

The cooking point

A small test to find out whether straight trout are already cooked, is simply to pull out the dorsal fin. If this is easy, then the fish is cooked.

Shelf life of smoked fish

Freshly smoked fish is round one week shelf life. If you have a vacuum machine, the fish can be kept for a month in the refrigerator, but can also be simply frozen and then defrosted again. Non-vacuumed smoked fish can be frozen for 2-3 weeks.

Special case: smoking eels

When smoking eels, there are a few peculiarities that must be taken into account so that the smoking of you succeeds. In principle, however, the first two points also mean labor savings compared to smoking trout.

  • Eels should not be skinned for smoking
  • Eels should not dry out after brining, but if they do, it’s not too bad either
  • With eels I already look very carefully that they are well cooked, because the blood is poisonous in the raw state

Homemade smoking mixture

The basis of a smoking mixture is always the sawdust, whereby Beech wood Best suited. As an alternative, alder and maple flour are still suitable. Fruit tree wood also gives a great result, but is difficult to get. As spices may Juniper no matter if as berry or twig in no smoking mixture missing. Other great smoking spices to add to your own fish smoking mix include coriander, bay leaves, rosemary and cloves.

Otherwise, it does not matter whether you take wood chips or flour for smoking.

Smoked tench are very delicate.

Fish suitable for smoking

Not every fish tastes as good smoked as the classics trout, eel or salmon and even the size of these matters. A trout of 55 cm and larger tastes less good when smoked warm than a smaller one. When cold smoking, however, large fish are good to use.

The best smoked fish are Halibut, trout, eel, salmon, mackerel, sprats, carp and also bream are very good. Very low fat fish like roach and rudd should not be smoked.

Frequently asked questions about smoking

Can I also smoke frozen fish?

This is not a problem and I put the fish in the brine even when frozen. Especially with eels or trout I like to collect 3-5 pieces first before smoking them.

How long is the cooking time during smoking?

With the table smoker it takes only 15-20 minutes to finish smoking the fish.

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