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Plain Delicious Smoked Fish

Excellent smoked fish can be pro­duced in (hooded  or covered) electric, gas or charcoal grills. Adjust the temperature according to recipes used. If available, use an oven ther­mometer with a charcoal grill. The procedure is the same for all types of grills.

Wood chips from apple, oak, hickory and cherry give smoke flavor to fish. Soak one pound of hard­ wood chips in two quarts of water for several hours or overnight.

Ingredients

AmountIngredient
1 lb.to 1/2 lb. fish fillets with skin left on
1 quart water
¼ cupsalt
1 lb.hickory chips
2 quarts water

How to Prepare

Thaw fish if frozen. Combine 1 quart water and salt.Stir until salt is dissolved. Place fish in brine and let marinate in refrigerator for 30 min­ utes. Remove fish from brine; rinse thoroughly and dry. Soak hickory chips in 2 quarts water for several hours or overnight. Keep chips in a cool place to keep them from taking on a mildew or sour aroma. To smoke fish, use a hooded or covered charcoal, electric or gas grill. The heat must be kept low. If using charcoal, fewer briquets are necessary than for regular grilling. Cover charcoal or ceramic briquets with approximately 1/ 3 the wet chips. The wet chips provide low temperatures and create smoke which flavors the fish. Remaining chips are added as needed throughout the cooking process. Place the fish fillets, skin side down, on a well greased grill approximately 4 to 6 inches from smoking chips. Close hood on grill and open vent slightly to keep smoke and air circulating. Smoke fish approximately 1 hour at 150° to 175° or for 30 to 45 minutes at 200°. Baste fish with cooking oil near the end of cooking time if smoking oily fish. The fish is done when the cut surface is golden brown and when the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serves 3 to 4.

Note: If fish fillets thicker than ½ inch are used, cooking time will need to be increased. Test for done­ness near end of cooking time.If lean fish is used, baste frequently with cooking oil to prevent fish from dry­ing out.

Smoked fish can be held in the re­frigerator, 35° to 40°, with no loss of quality, loosely wrapped for three days. To freeze smoked fish, wrap loosely and allow to cool in the refrigerator. Then re-wrap in moisture-vapor proof wrapping and place in freezer. To use, remove freezer paper, wrap in aluminum foil and heat for 20 to 30 minutes at 300°.

If you are on a low sodium diet, you can smoke fish in an electric smoker without soaking your fish first in a brine.