Have you ever smoked fish?

shamboApril 5, 2013

I've done turkey parts, whole chickens and parts, brisket, & various pork cuts in my smoker. I'd like to give fish a try now. In particular, I'm interested in any special rubs you've used for fish. I can't brine the fish because of the salt content, but I can always omit salt in a rub recipe. I know I would have to be careful to not overcook the fish so it doesn't get too dry.

Do you have favorite rub recipes? Favorite glaze or sauce recipes? Or favorite fish to use?

My husband & I both love smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, red onions, and tomatoes. I make my own low sodium bagels, and cream cheese is fairly low in sodium, especially the whipped variety. So the only thing I'm really missing is lower sodium smoked fish.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Never mind, I can't get the link to work

This post was edited by momj47 on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 22:34

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I smoke fish all the time. I like all kinds of flavors. I use 7 or 8 types of seasoning as dry rubs. I enjoy my food not salty. I don't normally use salt unless I cook for company.

I like smoked salmon. Hot smoked (cooked) at 130F and cold smoked at 60F. My smoker is digitally controlled convection smoker, which can keep temperature to within one degree accuracy.

Fos cold smoked salmon (lox), for food safety I use regular recipes with makes it kind of salty. In your case, may be you can do some research as to what part of the preparing of cold smoked salmon is safety related (Salt brine, Pink Salt, and freezing). If salt is not part of the safety measure, than you can skip it. Or you can start with sushi grade salmon, which is a little more expensive.

I have 4 sides of salmon in my smoker now.

Have you tried smoked cheese? do it now before summer comes, when it becomes too hot.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have smoked quite a lot of fish, blue fish and salmon, both of which are oily, therefor good for smoking.

However, my experience won't be helpful to you because with my method brining is essential, not just for flavor but for physical reasons. The salt draws water from the fish, making it firmer. Then, the fish is air dried for a while, creating a pellicle on its surface. This, followed by smoking, gives the fish its characteristic qualities. It is very nice unheated for breakfast or a picnic with bread and cheese.

For your purpose, which is to avoid salt, dcarches suggestions are more appropriate.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have also smoked a lot of blue fish and salmon but like Jim, I do brine and air dry first. I may have to giva a try with a dry rub when I find time to smoke again....

Thanks for the inspiration!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Filtered or non-filtered? Oh, wait...

Never smoked them myself but have eaten quite a bit of smoked fish. Can be fabulous when done right. I personally like smoked items, fish, ham, etc, to be so smoky that your mouth feels like you just had a couple cigarettes after a few bites. That's why ham and most bacon are so disappointing to me these days. People have become so sugar addicted that they have to have sugar, glazes and stuff on everything rather than enjoy the taste of the meat or fish.

Oh and a good smoked cheese is a true treat.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shambo, I don't know what is the lowest temperature your smoker can keep. To smoke salmon (lox) it's best to smoke below 90F and to smoke cheese, below 100F. Therefore, better do it soon before the outside gets warm.

If your smoker cannot go below those temperatures, you may try to get one of those pellet "cold" smoke generators to go inside your smoker, such as A-maz-N tube smoker.

a few more random thoughts:

1. Chilean farmed salmon I think is the cleanest, but do your own research.

2. Food safety, -4F for 7 days after smoked salmon. Again, do your own research. Mine freezer goes down to -17F, and I keep the salmon in there for 14 days.

3. After brining, perhaps you can soak the salmon more and longer to get rid of more salt.

4. Smoked shrimps and scallops are WOW!


This post was edited by dcarch on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 7:43

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have smoked trout and salmon both. I prefer the trout hot smoked.

For smoked salmon that I eat on a bagel I use Alexa's recipe for Gravlax...delicious


2 Tbl white peppercorns

1 Tbl fennel seeds

2 ?3 cup kosher salt

1 ?3 cup sugar

2 -lb. center-cut, skin-on salmon filet

1 Cup dill sprigs, plus 1/3 cup chopped dill

1 ?4 cup aquavit (optional)

Mustard-Dill Sauce

. In a small food processor, pulse peppercorns and fennel seeds until coarsely ground; combine with salt and sugar. Stretch plastic wrap over a plate; sprinkle with half the salt mixture. Place salmon filet on top, flesh side up. Cover with remaining salt mixture, dill sprigs, and aquavit.

2. Fold plastic wrap ends around salmon; wrap tightly with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the fish on the plate for 4872 hours, turning the package every 12 hours and using your fingers to redistribute the herb-and-spice-infused brine that accumulates as the salt pulls moisture from the salmon. The gravlax should be firm to the touch at the thickest part when fully cured.

3. Unwrap salmon, discarding the spices, dill, and brine. Rinse the filet under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large plate with the chopped dill. Firmly press the flesh side of the gravlax into the dill to coat it evenly.

4. Place gravlax skin side down on a board. With a long, narrow-bladed knife (use a granton slicer if you have one; the divots along the blade make for smoother, more uniform slices), slice gravlax against grain, on the diagonal, into thin pieces. Serve with mustard dill sauce or on knckebrd with minced onion. Refrigerate any remaining gravlax, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Forgot to add ...I did try smoking oysters...interesting but not worth the effort.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shambo, we have smoked fish, mostly salmon but also black cod (aka sablefish), and bluefish. All three are high in oil which keeps them moist.

There is one tricky point to smoking fish IME. It's difficult to know when the moisture level is right. If you smoke for too long, the fish can end up dry. If you smoke for too little, the fish can have a wet, almost soggy texture. This is particularly true for fish that you eat a day or two after smoking. My preferred way to get to that sweet spot is to use a thermometer and get the fish to about 130F.

The fish cure I use is a mix of brown sugar, salt and optional seasonings. As jimster says, the point is to remove moisture. I don't know if the fish is salty after curing, it doesn't taste it to me but you may not want to take the chance.

We used to hot-smoke whole salmon and eat with the following sauce. Good with blue fish too. Recipe is from the SmokinTex booklet which came with our smoker.

Dill mustard sauce

4 Tbs Dijon mustard
1Tbs dry mustard
3 Tbs sugar
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbs minced dill

Mix mustards, sugar and vinegar to a paste. Slowly beat in oil. Thicken to a mayo consistency. Stir in dill.

Has no salt! Keeps in refrigerator a long time. We once found it after months, tasted it and it seemed fine so we had it on our fish. We're still here to tell the tale.

We tried cold smoking fish using the cold plate that came with the smoker, but it never worked for us. We've smoked cheese this way and it was good, but fish takes too long.

Hot smoked salmon has a completely different taste and texture from cold smoked. You can also use leftover hot smoked in lots of great dishes - pasta, breakfast strata (easy and always a hit at brunches), spreads, chowders.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I envy your having sable available. Are you on the west coast? Sable is by far my favorite fish for smoking but I can rarely get any.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'm in New Mexico, hundreds of miles from any ocean. I found frozen sable at Trader Joe's. I first thought it was mislabeled, but after defrosting and cooking, it really is sable. If you find it, beware - it's not scaled. I've never come across this before. The fish is boned and cut into largish pieces, but it's not scaled. I also bought frozen cod from TJ's, and that was boned, skinned and cut but there were scales everywhere which you couldn't see against the white fish.

When we lived in New England, fresh sable showed up once in a while but the price was in the nosebleed range so I only bought it once in a long while. At TJ's it was about $12/lb.

You can console yourself with lobstah! I'd trade with you in a heartbeat.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, Cheryl!

There is a Trader Joe's about 30 min. from here which I've never visited. Time to make an expedition.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Deleting duplicate post.

This post was edited by jimster on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 19:40

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a market in Grand Central Terminal, NYC.

Very high prices, but good stuff. I saw sable there, $29.99 a lb. Same price as Chilean Sea Bass.


This post was edited by dcarch on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 19:52

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all your replies. Sorry it took me so long to get back to the forum. My children and their children ended up spending most of the day with us yesterday, and two granddaughters spent the night.

Anyhow, I'd like to try making smokey hot smoked salmon -- not lox. Cheryl thanks for the sauce recipe. Sounds good! My smoker doesn't really go lower than 200 degrees, but I think I'll just start some experimenting. I've purchased professionally smoked fish that was dry as sawdust, so I'm sure I can do as good as that.

The smokey flavor of meat coupled with a tasty but salt-free sauce adds amazing possibilities to our menus. I figure I could do the same thing with fish.

By the way, I have one really important question: Does smoking fish in an smoker make everything else smoked afterwards taste like fish? I regularly clean my smoker after each use, but it's hard to perfectly remove every bit of grease. The smoker is cleaned but not out-of-the-package pristine any longer. Do fish odors linger? Would it be OK to smoke the fish in a baking pan to contain the fatty drippings? What do you think?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 5:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I see no problem with smoking the fish in a baking pan. I would put a rack in the pan so smoke can circulate under the fish.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Deleting duplicate post.

This post was edited by jimster on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 18:12

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"-----By the way, I have one really important question: Does smoking fish in an smoker make everything else smoked afterwards taste like fish?---"

I don't clean the smoker, most people don't. I have smoked many kinds of food, I have not experienced food tastes cross contamination.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks again for your feedback. I'm looking forward to giving this a try. Because of the lack of a brine, the end result will probably be more like baked fish with a smokey flavor.But that's going to be fine. Smokey fish on a bagel will be great! No worries about sodium overload. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Elery says he's smoked fish at 180, rub whatever and hot smoke it, it's good.

We did wash the racks afterward but didn't notice any after taste otherwise.

Elery also brushed ours with grade B maple syrup when it was nearly done and gave it a nice glaze.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been trying so hard to be good but every time I read the title I say to myself -- " No- but I used to smoke cigarettes" Back to being good.........

My family are commercial fishermen and smoke salmon all the time I have never done so myself but I prefer hard smoked more like salmon jerky. The texture of soft smoked gives me the willies.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

CL, I wrote the title and thought the same thing as you. But I was too lazy to reword it. I understand your feeling about texture. I don't care for lox -- it's too "slimy" and not smokey flavored. However, I do love smoked fish, but it has to be a firm fish. My husband really dislikes soft-fleshed fish.

Thanks, Annie, for the info from Elery. I'm going to take the plunge this weekend. I just got an email from our local fish monger, so I'll order some salmon to pick up on Saturday. Northern halibut is available too, so I think I'll order some of that for a non-smoking meal.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:09PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Cookout for 150 people
I am having a cookout for my son's graduation, and...
Teffanie Hughett West
Cool feature I've just noticed (OT)
Has anyone else noticed that you can click on a picture...
white dishes that do not scratch or chip
Looking for durable white dishes
Help with baked eggs and a new oven
Hi - we recently got a new oven (Thermador) and my...
So what is "a bunch"?
It drives me crazy when recipes call for a bunch of...
Sponsored Products
Tay Tay Satin Nickel Halogen Mini Pendant with Flat Canopy and Ceylon Glass
$225.00 | Bellacor
Signature Lily Pendant Small - Fern Glass with Black hardware
$441.00 | Bellacor
Sweet Jojo Designs White and Black Hotel Shower Curtain
Modern Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Linon Home Decor Rugs New Flokati Pastel Pink 2
Home Depot
Rox Acrylic Pole 60 Outdoor Bollard by SLV
$914.00 | Lumens
Wyndham Collection Bathroom Amare 72 in. Vanity in Espresso with Glass Vanity
Home Depot
Flora Pendant
AF Lighting Spellbound 7492-3H Pendant - 7492-3H
$338.00 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™