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Old 12-29-2011, 09:56 AM   #1
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Want to get started hot-smoking fish and need tips...

So a few of the local ponds get stocked with rainbow trout during the winter and I figured this might be a good time to buy the smoker I had been wanting for a while now. I'm planning on buying a low-cost electric smoker, either the Master Forage dome smoker or the Brinkman Gourmet electric smoker.

Based on the reviews I've read, both hold a temp of about 225-250 degrees, but the Master Forage has a low, med, and high setting whereas the Brinkman one doesn't. BUT, the Brinkman smoker seems to be much more popular, so I'm kinda torn between the two.

One question I have is, is 225-250 too hot for hot-smoking fish? I've read 250 is OK, but also that 150 is ideal.

Thanks!

P.S. My goal is to be able to smoke a lot of different things and to be able to adapt one of these smokers for fish.

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Old 12-29-2011, 03:15 PM   #2
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bump.

i'm interested in learning how to smoke fish as well. i've been buying smoked whitefish, mackerel, and trout, but it's ridiculously expensive so i'd like to learn how to smoke what i catch myself.

anyone, anyone, buehler...
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:12 PM   #3
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lol, if I hadn't just seen that movie again, Bucky...

I did some reading on smoking fish a while back and everything I came across talked of cold smoking. 150F or lower even. I have never tried smoking a whole fish. Maybe someday.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:13 PM   #4
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The differance in hot and cold smoke is the temp. Hot smoke is anything over 160 degrees , cold smoke should be 140-150 degrees. Hot smoke is better for meats then fish becauce of the thickness of of the meat unless your making jerky.
When I smoke fish (trout) , I like them to be 16 to 24 inches long. I fillet them with the skin on and pin bones removed. Soak them for no longer than 12 hours in a brine. A basic brine is a cup of salt to a gallon of water. You can flavor a brine in many ways , maple syrup , peppercorns etc. After soaking the fish in brine lay the fish skin side down in a baking sheet and refrigate overnight untill the flesh develops a pellicle , a tacky surface that the smoke will stick to. You can't do this with whole fish and it makes a much better smoked flavor. Fish has a more mild flavor so fruit wood is recommended rather then say hickory or mesquite.If you cold smoke , you must use a brine because of the lower temp , which will not "cook" the fish. Brineing is a cure.
These are just basic rules. I'm sure you can find lots more info on the net or pick up a cook book or two. I like to refer to "Charcuterie" by Mike Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. Much info on meat and fish.
Hpoe this is of some help, Joe
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the bump.

UGA's National Center for Home Food Preservation has a great PDF that describes hot-smoking fish in detail (here). I was confused about temperatures because apparently a lot of people will "smoke" their fish by cooking it for a short time in a hot smoker (like ~30 minutes at >250), which to me is more like grilling or baking.

It appears that proper hot-smoking consists of smoking at ~90 degrees for 2 hours then raising the temp to cook the fish to an internal temp of 160 degrees for 30 minutes.

My problem is finding a way to get a cheapo smoker that smokes at 225-250 degrees down to 90 degrees. Neither of the models I was looking at have vents unless you count the side door. Any suggestions? I was thinking I could prop open the lid as well as prop open where the mid-section meets the bottom piece.

Here's a pic of the smoker I was looking at:

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Old 12-30-2011, 02:27 AM   #6
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I just put trout in a wet brine for 60 mins then stick them on the rack, and shut the lid for 30 to 60 mins.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-03-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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Thanks Bolas, that's kinda what I was referring to about the fast smoking/grilling method. What temps are you smoking at, by chance?

I did some more homework and found this great series of videos on youtube that shows hot smoking salmon in detail:

Then there's the Good Eats episode about hot smoking fish:

Alton actually just smokes at the finishing temperature from the very beginning

I think what I'm gonna do is buy a smoker and use a stove burner down in the bottom like Alton did with a cardboard box, but keep it at a low 90-100 degrees and finish it off at the end.
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:11 AM   #8
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Tex my bbq is crude it does not have a temp gauge, I just poke the trout with my finger after about 20 mins and judge it from there.
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