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Thread: Fish Processing question

  1. #1

    Default Fish Processing question

    Just wondering what everyones preference is. Vac pac/freeze salmon then defrost and smoke or smoke the fish, then vac pac/freeze. I just don't have enough time to get my smoking done during fishing season and was wandering if there is a big difference between the two methods?

  2. #2


    six of one, half-dozen of the other in our experience.

  3. #3


    Smoke then freeze. Hard to brine properly after they've been frozen.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by mnfish365 View Post
    Smoke then freeze. Hard to brine properly after they've been frozen.
    how so? why hard to brine after freezing and thawing?

    we brine using morton,s sugar cure, discarding the spice package, covering the fish with an eighth-inch or so of the dry mixture for a couple hours, rinse, place under a fan for a few hours until the pellicle forms, then to the smoker.

    we used to use wet brine but find the dry works as well with much less mess and bother. have smoked fresh fish and fish frozen and thawed and can tell no difference between the finished product either way.
    "First, the fish is treated with salt, either in the form of a strong brine or a surface coating of dry salt. During this curing stage (which can last for anywhere from a few minutes to many hours depending on the size and density of the fish), a two-way exchange takes place, with much of the moisture drawn out of the fish and some salt soaking in. This combination of reduced moisture and salt inhibits the growth of spoilage bacteria, a basic principle of all cured meats."
    "Begin with either fresh or frozen salmon. Frozen is actually easier because some of the moisture is lost during freezing and thawing and that is what you are going to accomplish during the smoking process anyway."

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I've brined, smoked then froze, froze brined then smoked, and brined, froze then smoked. I've gone to a dry brine as I get a more consistant product, and I found the brining, freezing, then smoking when you have time works quite well.

    For dry brining I take a 50# sausage tote, and lay out the fillets with salt and brown sugar til I get 10 fish in the tote. Let set a few hours, rinse off the salt/sugar then smoke or freeze for smoking at a later date. You can even cook up the brined fillets, but you'll have to soak them for a few hours in clean water to get the salt off. I found the brined frozen fillets keep better then straight vacuum packed fillets.


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