Hello, I am in need of guidance by some of you more experienced fish smokers. Here is my problem. Now that the temperature has dropped outside to about 20 degrees, how long should I leave fish in my Big Chief before they are sufficiently cured for storage and consumption? All of the instructions that come with the smoker are assuming that the outside temperature is 70 degrees and we don't see that often up here. No, I do not have the insulating cover to put on the smoker. I am thinking about covering it with a heavy duty tarp to try to hold some heat in. Maybe I could put it outside for the smoking phase only and then move the operation into the carport to finish drying the fish at a warmer temperature? Any ideas? I know that I am not the first person to wonder about this. I'm new to smoking fish, but I did a pretty good job smoking fish this summer when the temperature was warmer. I smoked all of my Silver and King Salmon bellies. YUM! I wish I had more. I think I gained 15 pounds from eating so much fat, but it is soooo good.
Hurry my pellicals are about formed and I will not begin smoking untill I get a response!
On another note, I am planning to can some smoked Salmon in half pint jars to send to family in the lower 48 for Christmas presents. Every one will get some fresh jelly and some fresh canned fish this year. How long should this fish be cured before throwing it in jars and putting it in the pressure canner? I want it to have nice color as well as good taste. Also, do I need to brine the fish that I am smoking to can? If so, should I leave out the salt in the jars? Yes, I have a pressure canner. Yes, I am experienced at canning fish. The wife and I canned over a hundred pounds of Pink Salmon that we caught at Hope this Summer. I know, I know, Pink Salmon aren't the preferred fish to eat, but when you have 6 kids to feed you try to use everything that the good Lord gives you. Besides, canned Pinks are good I think. Especially nice bright ones.
I think that should be enough for my first post. Please help and thank you all in advance!