Preparing Smoked Fish


Welcome to Preparing smoked fish . This site will provide tips and a simple recipe for the preparation of your favorite smoked fish from home. Please keep in mind the difference between smoked fish and dried fish. Smoked fish is not preserved and uneaten smoked fish or leftovers must be refrigerated, while dried fish is actually preserved fish and doesn't generally require refrigeration.

What kind of fish?/ Preparing the fish
You can use just about any type of fish that you want to smoke on the BBQ grill. Where I live, the favorite is smoked Mullet. Be sure to use a fish that has scales because they hold the fish together while it is grilling, so avoid using catfish or any other fish that has no solid scale structure. Mullet has a rib cage and some people prefer to simply cut the fish down the middle and butterfly it. I don't care much for this method because it retains all of the bones including the backbone. I like to simply fillet the fish starting from the neck and cutting to the tail.(Remember do not scale the fish) Then I cut out the rib cage (for Mullet). Now I have a clean fillet free of bones like Alaska smoked salmon.

What type of grill do I use?
You can use most any type of grill or smoker to smoke fish . From a large cast iron smoker to a small Weber type grill. The most important thing to remember is the locality of the heat source to the fish. A larger smoker with a fire box connected to the cooking chamber is easiest. If you don't have one than a smaller BBQ grill will work just as well as long as you are careful not to over cook the fish.

What kind of wood do I use?Any dried hardwood will do. I use Oak because it is plentiful where I live and it leaves a nice smoke flavor. Another favorite is Pecan if you can find it. The best wood by far is Buttonwood which grows in the mangroves on the Gulf Coast, but unfortunately it is illegal to cut so we will use Oak.

Preparing the grill
If you are using a small grill, place a handful of charcoal briquets on one side of the bottom. These will provide a base fire source to keep the wood burning. Cut the wood to a size small enough to place on top of the charcoal. Light the charcoal. Once the charcoal is burning on it's own, place some wood on top of it to ignite the wood. Place the cover on the grill and wait for it to start smoking. Be sure to open the lid vents and position them from the opposite side of the grill from the heat source.

Preparing the fillets
Lay your fillets out on a counter and sprinkle with salt. Do not over salt, we are smoking fish not ham. Sprinkle mill grind pepper on the fish and finish it off with some paprika. This will give the fish a nice red tint and good flavor. Trust me on this. They are ready for the grill.

Smoking the fish
Remove the lid from the grill and place the fillets scale side down as far away as possible from the smoking wood. If your grill is small you may have to smoke a couple of batches at a time. Place the lid back on the grill and make sure the lid vents are open and located over the fish.

When are they ready?
Keep an eye on your fish as they cook and add more wood if needed. Since fish cook fast you want as much wood smoke exposed to it as possible. A good sign that your fish are done would be a dark brownish red tint to the meat (from the paprika) and the skin and scales on the bottom will curl up around the edges of the meat. The fish can be eaten hot from the grill or refrigerated and eaten cold. You can use the smokey meat in a dip or pate. I hope that I have provided enough information for you to prepare your own smoked fish from home.