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Old 07-03-2012, 03:43 PM   #11
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Brined and Smoked Smelts Recipe : Alton Brown : Recipes : Food Network

Alton Brown's recipe. It is rated five stars.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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Why would one Brine Fish?

Aren't they all ready brined?!

Eric, Austin Tx.
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:41 PM   #13
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I think when fresh caught, there's no brine.
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:51 PM   #14
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I think when fresh caught, there's no brine.
Smelts are one of those fish like the salmon that migrate if not caught at sea, to where they were born. In Brewster on Cape Cod, there is a very old mill. Every year the smelts are running. We used to go there with buckets and catch them to eat. The town would put in a ladder so they could get upstream easier. Once they got past a certain point, you weren't allowed to catch them. They had to be allowed to finish their journey. That way there would be more for next year. They would come in from Cape Cod Bay. It took a lot of them to feed a family just one meal.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:58 PM   #15
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The ones we ate were freshwater. As I understand it, there are fresh- and saltwater smelt. The ones we harvested came from Lake Superior, or thereabouts. They were very good as appetizers.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #16
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The ones we ate were freshwater. As I understand it, there are fresh- and saltwater smelt. The ones we harvested came from Lake Superior, or thereabouts. They were very good as appetizers.
We always got ors as they ran into streams either from Lake Huron, or Lake Superior, usuall Lake Superior.

The variety that lives in the great lakes region are a freshwater species called Rainbow Smelt. And yes, they are deliscious. The fish are small enough, that you eat them with the bones. The fish-heads are removed, and the fish are cleaned. Usual ways of preperation are to dredge in corn meal or flour, season with salt, and fry in a couple inches of hot oil. Usually there is nothing but the fish except for something to drink, which in our house was always milk. We all loved our smelt.

Sadly, smelt are not indigenous to the Great Lakes. They were planted as a foodfish for larger fish, such as Lake Trout, and Pike. From the time I was born, in 1855, until about 1974, the smelt ran so thick, that if you caught them in a run, you could practically walk accross the stream on their backs. If you didn' catch the run, you simply walked the stream in the daytime, and dipped the holes. In no time, you could fill a 5-gallon bucket.

Now, it takes hours of dipping, and you have to be there on the right night, when they are running. It takes a lot of dipping to get 5 gallons worth now.

I asked a local biologist about the decrease in smelt numbers. He said that there is more pressure on the smelt than when I was young. There are many more salmon, steelhead, and other predatory fish in the Great Lakes than before. Couple that with comercial fishing boats that net and sell them, and the invasive cormorants, and you can easily see why the numbers are down. In addition, since this wasn't there original biological home, they just may have peaked until the local eco-systems have adapted to their presence. He believes the smelt with never be found in the numbers that they were found in their heyday. So sad, but in actuality, better probably for the environment.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:37 AM   #17
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From the time I was born, in 1855, until about 1974, the smelt ran so thick, that if you caught them in a run, you could practically walk accross the stream on their backs. walked the stream in the daytime, and dipped the holes. In no time, you could fill a 5-gallon bucket.Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
My gosh, CLoN, I had no idea you were born in 1855! No wonder you know so much about cooking and techniques...you've had so much longer to master these skills than the average Joe. May I have permission to use this as an example of comma placement?
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:44 AM   #18
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Comma placement notwithstanding, the blurb provides some interesting info. Wondering if the smelt was introduced in 1955.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:53 AM   #19
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Comma placement notwithstanding, the blurb provides some interesting info. Wondering if the smelt was introduced in 1955.
I have a warped sense of humor. I laughed until tears were rolling down my checks re: the comma placement. It was "Today's Funny" for me.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:02 PM   #20
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If you are buying sprats you should be able to buy smoked smelt in the same store I bet. I know for fact they sell it here in MN.
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