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Smoked fish; do you smoke it yourself ?

Discussion in 'Food' started by happyflowerlady, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    While the smoked salmon that you can buy at the grocery store is admittedly delicious; it cannot even be compared to the taste of fish that you have smoked yourself. I grew up in a little town in Idaho, on the banks of Lake Pend d'Oreille; which was famous for its smoked blueback, the local name for Kokanee. The Kokanee is a landlocked salmon, and the flavor is incredible! They have a more delicate flavor than a regular Sockeye Salmon, and are just the right size for smoking.

    If you are a carpenter; you can build a great little smokehouse. Otherwise, a quick trip to your local Walmart camping section will provide you with a Little Chief electric smoker, and a bag of hickory chips. Unless you are going to be smoking a whole lot of fish, or some really large ones, the Little Chief will do a fine job of smoking your fish. Plus, it is very simple to use.

    I forgot to mention that you also need to get a bag of the salt/brown-sugar/spices mix to brine your fish in overnight before you smoke them. You only use a little, so that bag will last forever (practically). Once you have brined them overnight, and have the smoker heated and the hickory chips smoking, you can arrange the fish on the smoking racks, and just let the smoker do its job. I usually refill the hickory chips about once during the smoking procedure. After a bit of practice with the amount of brining, and the smoking times for each species of fish; you will soon be smoking them just like the professionals. Maybe even better.
  2. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Pathfinder

    My grandfather use to smoke fish and deer meat all the time. It was great. Old school style with sea salt.
  3. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    Josh, I have never tried smoked venison; but it does sound interesting to try some. My dad was a hunter, and he usually got his deer every winter, and we enjoyed the meat tremendously! One of the main ways that my mom would cook it was to cut the venison up into small strips (kind of like what we now call "finger steaks"), then she floured it, and fried it like you would a chicken, making a little gravy from the flour. That venison was tender and delicious!

    My grandmother would take the scraps of venison after they were done cutting all of the meat up, and then she chopped them into tiny pieces and cooked them with some apple and raisins, and spices. That was the best mincemeat that I have ever had in all of my life! The stuff that they sell in the store as mincemeat is really only raisins and apples and spices, and there is no minced meat in the mincemeat that you buy. Grandma then made fresh, homemade mince pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which we ate with lots of real whipped cream on top. You just can't get anything that compares with that anymore!
  4. JessiFox

    JessiFox Novice Camper

    I've had smoked fish and smoked venison from my grandfather as well, though I never learned how to do it myself. I'm intrigued (and also quite happy) to hear that there are very simple, cost-effective ways to try smoking meats though. I've often felt disappointed at how the quality of smoked meats that you can buy is compared to doing it yourself, and this might just be the inspiration I need to give it a try for myself :).
  5. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Sounds excellent, smoking is one of the healthier alternatives to frying or grilling your food and it still tastes just as good if done correctly. I don't think I've ever had food quite as fresh as the steaks you had after your dad came back from a hunt but I'm sure that tasted incredible. Do you have a smoker at home which you use to cook food regularly? Or is it more of a special occasion kind of thing?

    I've used this trick when I've been using the BBQ. It really adds a lot of flavor especially if you are using a charcoal grill, with gas they chips tend to fall to the bottom and not add much to the flavor. Barbecuing can be a bit like smoking I suppose when you have the lid covered... A lot of smoke always comes out when I open it.
  6. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    I used to have a small electric smoker that I used for smoking fish; but ended up having to sell it in one of our (many) moves, and I have not replaced it yet. My husband has one of the charcoal BBQ-smokers, and he likes to smoke pork and chicken with that . I am sure that it would also make some great smoked fish. It is similar to one of the barrel BBQ's, but it also has a little smoker compartment on the end, so you get a lot more smoke than just using a regular BBQ.

    Even though I love the taste of smoked fish, I don't enjoy smoked turkey or chicken as much as the fish. The pork loins that he smokes are not quite the same as a ham, but very different from just a roasted pork loin tastes.

    Next spring, I am looking forward to going fishing with my daughter, and then we can try smoking some of whatever we catch.
  7. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Pathfinder

    My grandfather use to build his own smoke boxes with wooden frames and window screen to keep the bugs off of them. You could also sun dry it to make jerky. He would use sea salt and rub it all over the meat. The salt would extract all of the excess moisture and lock out all the bacteria. I believe this method was used before the invention of iceboxes and refrigeration. Salt was more important than monetary note at one point or another. The meat could potentially last for a very long time without refrigeration because of the salting process.

    As for modernized cooking , carving it right off the bone and onto the barbecue is the way to go. The gamey taste was usually enough flavor and no extra spices was needed. But if I had to pan fry it, I would use butter and wait for the butter to caramelize all over the meat. So good.

  8. happyflowerlady

    happyflowerlady Survivalist

    The early settlers here used about that same method that your grandfather did, @JoshPosh. I remember my mother talking about preserving meat with the salt, and they also preserved it using lard. You cooked the meat, and as the lard hardened over the top, it would make a seal on the top of the container, I don't know how well it lasted, but I know that my grandmother used to make jam and seal it with paraffin, so i think that a thick seal of lard would work about the same way as the paraffin. We have such a high humidity here that it is hard to just sun-dry anything; it mostly just molds.

    I am surprised that you can do that in Hawaii, since you are surrounded by water, and I would think that you should have really high humidity there, as well. Maybe because the fish are salted, and that removes enough moisture and they can actually dry rather than molding.
  9. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Pathfinder

    I don't really know the science behind the whole process, but my grandfather made good jerky nonetheless. The process didn't take very long also.
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