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  • Fish smoking recipes

    Is there anyone willing to share some of the brines they use before smoking their salmon?

    My old man has always used the brown sugar dry pack, and he let them sit for a couple of days.

    My recipe is 1 part white wine 1 part Yoshida's. I let the pieces sit for about 4 days and put them in the smoker. I usually let the pieces glaze in the sun for an hour or two, grind some pepper on top, and then smoke the pieces for about 6-8 hours. I use apple chips and I add a splash of brandy to the last pan of chips. Good stuff!
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  • #2
    A good one....

    Squaw Candy Dry Mix


    1# – package of brown sugar
    6Tbs. Coarse ground black pepper
    2 Tbs. Garlic powder
    1/8 (+/-)Cup non-iodized salt
    2 Tbs. of cayenne pepper (optional)
    2 Tbs. Lowery’s Ground pepper w/Tobasco (Green Lid and hard to find)


    Mix all ingredients together well.

    Skin and cut fish into ¼” to 3/8” strips. Cover liberally with dry mix and let soak for 5-6 hrs. Turn fish and let sit another 5-6 hrs. Lightly rinse fish in cold water and let air dry for 24 hrs. or so. Smoke in smoker for 3-5 hours depending on consistency you like.

    Tips:

    Pull the pin bones out with a pair of pliers before smoking (makes a truly boneless snack)
    Spray smoker grills with non-stick spray
    Pre-heat smoker for 10-15 minutes
    When smoking, only use 2 pans of chips.

    I ended up tripling the recipe for about six coho fillets (about 15#) and used a large 5 gallon bowl to soak the fish in the brine. Air drying the pieces on the smoker grills works well too.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    • #3
      AKmud, that sounds like a good recipe. I think next time I will be adding a half table spoon of habinero pepper to my brine. :-) I got a pack of smoked fish for you to try Rob.

      Heres a tip for skinning salmon: Once you have your fillets grab a good pair of needle nose pliers, on the fillet closest to where the gills would be there will be a pyramid fatty layer in the middle between the skin and meat. Work the needle nose pliers into that section to where you have a good grip with the pliers. With your available hand take that thumb and work the meat from the sking. once you have a good grasp of the skin pull the pliers with all the muscle you have. The fillet will peel right off skin. Its much easier then filleting the skin off and it leaves ALL of the meat on the fillet and not on the skin.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Do it the Native Way...

        Salt solution where a potato floats in the 5 gallon bucket & then soak the fish for 10-30 seconds, & then hang dry them for 1 day & then smoke them for 3 weeks...you'll get some of the best tasting strips you have ever had, without worrying about taste...

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        • #5
          basic brine is a 16:1 ratio or 16 units of water to 1 unit each salt and sugar

          1 gallon of settled tap water or spring water (no chlorine)
          1 cup kosher or sea salt (not iodized)
          1 cup brown sugar
          flavorings to taste

          Brine fish in a cool location for at least 12 hours in a clean non-aluminum container. I use heavy ziploc bags and put the fish in my garage fridge.

          After brining dry fish for a few hours until the flesh forms a "skin"
          Then smoke as desired
          If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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          • #6
            Spiciness So Nasty It Hits you Like A Cannon Ball

            I am looking for a brine that is so spicy HOT it hurts. I want to give a spicy brine a try atleast once to see if it passes the test. Any recommendations?

            I am thinking of a dry brine of brown sugar, salt, and a few cut up habenero's. A sweet and spicy brine if you will. Let soak for a few days and then smoke for 6-8 hours. Any ideas?
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Gremlin,
              not to nit-pick but there's no such thing as a "dry brine" its either brine or dry rub or dry cure.

              Ok....modify a 1/2 gallon of my basic brine as follows:
              -Bring 1/2 gallon water to boil and add 8 oz dry red chilis (take the seeds out or the taste will be bitter)
              -Reduce to simmer until chili's are falling apart and about a pint of liquid cooks off.
              -Drain and save red chili-water
              -Let chilis cool enough to handle then puree and add back to chili-water
              -Puree 12 fresh (not pickled) jalapeno peppers and 6 serrano peppers with 1/2 cup chili water
              -Add pepper puree to chili water and let stand until mix is room temp. DO NOT speed cooling with ice or fridge.
              -Strain puree/water mix until its mostly liquid.

              Make a gallon batch of brine, replacing water with this mix 1 for 1 and add an extra 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

              Brine fish for 24 hours, dry, and smoke as desired
              Your fish will be hot hot but tasty. You can substitute habaneros if you want.
              If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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              • #8
                My dad always called his brine a dry brine. Thats where I got the phrase. LOL I just looked up the definition for the term brine, which come to find out, means salt water.

                Thanks for the brine. I will give it a go and see how it turns out.
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  WG-
                  I don't know about brines, but we've gotten some 'hot' results by adding ingredients to the jars when canning. If you aren't canning, this may be unuseful, but diced jalepino or habanero in the jar produces serious results.
                  For brines, I'd suggest something powdered, maybe cayenne pepper. I dont think the oils from fresh peppers will get into the fish strongly without some sort of process - like heat.
                  Jim Creek - Home of the burning car hook cast!

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                  • #10
                    "Dry" brine recipe. . .

                    I lay my fillets on a tilted board for drainage and cover them with a generous coating of Morton's Sugar Cure (forget the package of seasoning that comes in the bag). After an hour or two, rinse off, pat dry with paper towel, and place under a fan for a couple hours until the pellicle forms (tacky glaze). Oil the skin side of the fish, not the racks. Smoke at 120 for 2-4 hours, raise the temperature to 140 for another couple/three hours, and finish for an hour at 160.

                    Sometimes I sprinkle the fillets with ground black pepper or lemon pepper and sometimes, on unseasoned filets, brush on maple syrup an hour before finishing.

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                    • #11
                      complex flavored smoked fish

                      One cup yoshida sauce
                      One cup canning salt per four cups of liquid
                      2 cups apple juice
                      Three tablespoons minced garlic
                      2 tsp. dry mustard
                      3 tsp. cayanne
                      One cup water
                      1/4 cup maple syrup
                      1 tsp pepper

                      Cut salmon in 1 1/2 inch strips, Brine for 24 hours, pat dry, place on racks, Grind on pepper, Air or fan dry to glaze, Smoke with 2-3 pans of wood chips, green willow or alder works for me, leave in smoker for 9 to 12 hour depending on the thickness of the fish. Cool, and enjoy.

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                      • #12
                        Cajun Smoked Salmon

                        SMOKED SALMON à la LOUIS

                        1 CUP BROWN SUGAR
                        1 CUP SOY SAUCE
                        4 CUPS COLD WATER
                        PAUL PRUDHOMME BLACKENED RED FISH SEASONING TO TASTE
                        ONE WHOLE ONION, CHOPPED
                        ABOUT 4 CLOVES GARLIC, CHOPPED
                        BLACK PEPPER TO TASTE
                        COUPLE OF BAY LEAVES
                        CREOLE OR CAJUN SEASONING (Cajuns Choice sold at Carr’s) TO TASTE

                        MIX ALL IN GLASS BOWL. MIXTURE SHOULD BE SLIGHTLY CLEAR WHEN SCOOPED THROUGH A SPOON. IF NOT, ADD WATER. SAMPLE MIXTURE, ADJUST SEASONINGS TO TASTE.

                        LAY SALMON FILETS IN LARGE GLASS PAN, SKIN SIDE UP. COMPLETELY COVER FISH WITH MIXTURE.

                        MARINATE FISH IN REFRIGERATOR 12 - 16 HOURS (REDS & SILVERS); 16-24 HOURS FOR THICKER FILETS (KINGS).

                        AFTER MARINATING, REMOVE FISH FROM MIXTURE AND RINSE IN COLD WATER. LAY FISH SKIN SIDE DOWN, PAT DRY WITH PAPER TOWEL. ALLOW FISH TO STAND IN OPEN UNTIL IT GETS A GLAZE (15 TO 30 MINUTES).

                        LIGHTLY SEASON FISH WITH BLACKENED & CAJUN SEASONINGS. SEASON AS IF YOU WERE BAKING.

                        SMOKE WITH ALDER CHIPS. REFILL CHIP PAN EVERY ONE TO TWO HOURS.

                        SMALLER FILETS TAKE 6 TO 8 HOURS. LARGER FILETS MAY TAKE 8 TO 12 HOURS.

                        AFTER 5 HOURS, START CHECKING FISH FOR DONENESS.

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                        • #13
                          1 cup salt
                          1 1/2 cup brown sugar
                          2 packages dry teriyaki marinade
                          1 quart of water
                          Mix and soak fish 2 hours. Remove and dry with paper towels.
                          Smoke with alder chips the way you like it.

                          MD

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                          • #14
                            After years of playing around with secret brine recipes, I've come to the conclusuion that much of the extra flavoring/herbs/spices that are added in relatively miniscule amounts (when compared to the volume of brine) end up just being diluted away in the rinsing step.

                            I've reverted back to the KISS principle.

                            3 parts packed brown sugar to 1 part pickling salt... that's it.

                            Fluff it up large bowl and drop a piece of salmon in, flesh side down, coating all the exposed meat. Pick it up out of the bowl, and whatever sticks STICKS.... that's the perfect amount of "dry rub" to apply. DO NOT RUB. Throw the coated piece into a large plastic jar.

                            Repeat with every single piece of fish, remembering to fluff up the rub each time before dropping in the next piece to get an even coating. Remember, whatever sticks is the perfect amount. When the jar is full of fish, seal it with the lid, and give the contents a good tumbling. Turn the jar on its side and give it a quarter turn every 2-3 hours.

                            Rinse away excess brine and slime, pat fish dry.

                            Arrange on racks, apply freshly ground pepper, and let pellicle form as Marcus said ( probably the MOST important step to getting an eye-pleasing curd-free result).

                            Smoke to desired level of dryness. Personally I prefer mine just cooked, very moist. Takes a little more attention with back pieces which are more prone to drying out. Belly pieces are much more forgiving of overcooking... they keep their moisture much better.
                            "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                            sigpic
                            The KeenEye MD

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                            • #15
                              Keeping it simple. . .

                              I agree with the doc that most if not all the extra flavorings/herbs/spices added to brine end up washed away and aren't worth fooling with. His brown sugar/pickling salt mixture is essentially Morton's Sugar Cure, but Morton's is probably more expensive than mixing one's own. Don't know whether there's a "right" amount of cure to apply, but am tempted to think more is better than less. The fish will only react to so much in any given length of time.

                              As to the "curds" that can form on the fish when being smoked, I've heard that it's protein weeping out due to, among other things, lack of a good pellicle. That said, I think the curds can form for other reasons including too much heat too quickly and smoking on a day with high humidity, which slows the release of moisture from the fish.

                              Anyone else have thoughts on the "curd" thing? It doesn't hurt the taste of the finished product, but, as the doc notes, it's not very eye-pleasing.

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