Preparation / Directions:
Prepare the fish by cleaning, gutting and, if desired, by cutting into fillets or chunks. Then immerse the fish in basic fish brine for a time proportional to the weight. Remove from the brine and rinse briefly in cold water. Hang in a cool airy place for 3 hours or longer if necessary, until the surface is completely dry. Hang the fish or place on racks, in the smoke oven. Keep the temperature between 70 and 85 F. and use a fairly light smoke. In prolonged cold smoking it is not necessary that smoke be generated all the time. At night, for example, it does not matter if the hardwood is all consumed, or if the fire goes out. Simply compensate for the lost time when calculating the total smoking period. The time required for cold smoking depends upon the time that the fish is to be kept. The following table will give a rough guide.
: SMOKING TIME KEEPING TIME
24 hours 2 weeks
2 days 4 weeks
3 days 2 months 4 days 4 months
5 days 6 months
1 week 1 year
2 weeks 3 years
These times assume a steady of smoke and uniform oven temperatures. Well smoked fish will for some time at room temperature, but for best preservation, each fish or piece should be separately wrapped in waxed paper or aluminum foil and refrigerated at 35F.
BASIC FISH BRINE: If liquid garlic and liquid onion are not available, garlic and onion powder may be substituted although they do not readily dissolve in water. Alternatively, garlic cloves and onions may be crushed, but peel them first. If a stronger flavor is desired, add a little Tabasco sauce to the brine. Dill may be added to the brine, for those who like it. Two tablespoons of dill salt will be about right. Alternatively, crushed or broken dill plants may be put in the brine as they are for dill pickles. The dill flavored brine is particularly good for making smoked or kippered Salmon. For a subtle variation of flavor, honey or blackstrap molasses may be substituted for the brown sugar.