If you love the taste of smoked fish like I do, you might be wondering how to smoke fish in a small smoker at home like I did.
I got a small fish smoker as a present for Christmas one year, and although I have smoked a lot of fish when I was younger, I hadn’t used this one before until recently.
Smoking fish is a great way to preserve and enhance the flavour of your fish and have a bit of fun at the same time, and it’s not as hard as you might think.
In this food blog post below, I’ll let you know how I smoke fish in my small smoker.
Here’s what you’ll need
- A small smoker. You can use any type of smoker that can maintain a low and steady temperature, such as a gas, electric or charcoal smoker. Or you can use a portable smoker like mine that is designed for home, camping or travelling and has two methylated spirit burners.
- Smoking chips. These are wood chips that add flavour and aroma to your fish. You can choose from different types of wood, such as hickory, apple, cherry, mesquite or alder. I’m using apple at the moment as you can see in the photo.
- Fish fillets. You can use any type of fish that you like, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, snapper or tailor. For best results, make sure the fish is fresh and has been gutted and has no scales. You can have bones in or out, it doesn’t matter either way.
- Soak in brine or smother in brown sugar and salt. You can either soak your fish in brine or smother the fish with brown sugar and salt. Brine is a mixture of water, salt and sugar that helps to cure and season the fish before you smoke it. Brining also helps to keep the fish moist and tender during the smoking process. You can also add other ingredients to the brine, such as herbs, spices, lemon juice or vinegar, to add more flavour. For the smother method (which has quicker preparation period), you butterfly cut the fish, spread the brown sugar and salt over the flesh and let it sit in a sealed container in the fridge for a few hours to let the mixture soak in.
- I didn’t add in any spices, but you can also use other spices, such as black pepper, paprika, garlic powder or cumin. Just go easy on the spices at first to see if you like them.
How to smoke your fish
- Prepare the fish using brine (A. to C.) or rubbing in the brown sugar and salt (D. to
- For brine, in a large pot or container, combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of brown sugar then heat over low heat until the salt and sugar dissolve. Let the brine cool completely.
- Submerge the fish in the brine. Place the fish fillets in a large container or a ziplock bag and pour the brine solution over them. Make sure the fish is completely covered by the brine. Seal the container or bag and then refrigerate for 6 to 10 hours, or overnight.
- Remove the fish from the brine and pat dry. Take the fish out of the brine and rinse lightly under cold water to remove any excess salt or sugar. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle with paprika on both sides.
- For rubbing in the sugar and salt, place the fish into a container or pot. Rub in a handful of brown sugar into the flesh of the fish, then sprinkle salt over the same area and rub it in as well. Place in the fridge for a few hours to let the brown sugar and salt sink into the fish.
- Preheat your smoker by lighting both the methylated spirit burners. Set your smoker to a lower temperature by adjusting the burners. Add the wood chips to the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which is usually a handful. You could also soak your wood chips in water for about 30 minutes before adding them to make them last longer and produce more smoke but I didn’t and the results were still great.
- Arrange the fish fillet on the smoking rack in a single layer, leaving some space for air circulation. Close the lid of the smoker using the clips and make sure the air escape hole on th top of the lid is open. Let the fish smoke for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- Check after this time to see if the fish is cooke through. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and has a dark colour on the outside and has the white cooked flesh on the inside
- Finally, carefully remove the fish from the smoker and serve hot or cold with your favourite sides or sauces.
Smoking fish is a fun and rewarding way to enjoy your catch or your catch from the fish market at home.
With a small smoker, some wood chips and a simple brine solution or brown sugar and salt, you can create delicious smoked fish that will impress your family and friends.
Try it out and let me know how it goes!