Delicious smoked fish - it's that simple, even at home. Learn more about smoking methods.
Smoked fish is very tasty, and everyone can make it, since cooking does not take much effort, time. All you need is a good fish, the right recipe and a smokehouse (you can replace it with a bonfire).
Remember that smoke, due to which smoking occurs, is a natural antiseptic. Smoking fish in a similar way allows you to extend the storage of the main product, make it fragrant, very tender.
How to choose, prepare fish for smoking?
If you want to cook a hot smoked product, then you will have to follow these important rules:
- For cooking, use only fish that has been recently caught.
- A product that was previously severely frozen is completely unsuitable for this method.
- Try to smoke at once only identical in size fish. They should also have the same weight, fat content.
- If the fish has a weight of less than 0.5 kg, then do not gut it. But larger instances you will definitely have to carve. Too large fish cut into pieces.
- Professional craftsmen recommend that the fish can survive longer; during smoking, place juniper branches in the sawdust.
- The smoking time depends on the size of the main component.
- When cooking, it is better to hang the fish. In this way, it turns out juicy, aromatic.
Of course, any kind of fish is allowed to smoke. However, experienced fishermen with many years of experience say that it is necessary to choose the main product very carefully. But you can choose the fish that you like best.
How to cut a carcass of fish for smoking?
First, sort the fish so that the carcasses for future pickling have the same size. If you have chosen small fish, then wash it thoroughly, then pickle it.
- Leave the heads on small and medium-sized fish, but it is advisable to remove the gills. For large fish, cut off the head. By the way, large fish in rare cases remains in general condition.
- The cut carcass will saline and cook faster. Cut the fish across. You should get even steaks. If you like fillet more, then cut the carcass along the spine.
As a rule, scales should be left on the fish. As a result, carcinogens do not penetrate fish. If you look at this method from the other side, the juice does not flow out, remaining inside the meat.
How to salt fish before smoking?
In order to prepare the fish, marinate it first. The meaning of this process is to get rid of microorganisms that may be present in the fish, protect the fish fillet from spoilage, extend the shelf life of the product, add an additional flavor.
If it comes to recipes, then most of the preparation is given to salting and only after that the fish is processed with smoke. Despite the fact that there are a huge number of different salting methods, there are only 3 of them in principle.
Based on these recipes, various improvisations are built, during which various seasonings, sauces, spices are added. If you know the basics of these methods, you can very easily learn every nuance of cooking.
The method of salting fish No. 1
This method is considered the main one. During it, you only have to process the fish carcasses with salt. Do not think that a simple method can produce an extremely mediocre end result. Fans of natural foods say that a minimum number of ingredients should be used during smoking.
It is necessary to salt the fish with coarse salt. Also, black pepper, crushed bay leaf will never be in the way. These spices are not able to pick up the amazing taste of the fish, they will only complement it, will harmonize well with the smell of smoke.
- Take so much salt that it abundantly process fish. Salt in this case will serve as a dry marinade. If the fish has fibrous meat, it must be completely grated with a mixture of seasonings. If the fillet is greasy, then just sprinkle it with salt. Rub with salt so that the grains fall under the scales.
- If the fish has small scales (perch), then place it in the refrigerator for a while. A fish that has fibrous meat should lie under oppression. From strong pressure, juice will start to stand out from the fibers, which will mix with the salt. The resulting brine will again penetrate the fibers, but already as an antiseptic.
- If you decide to take a fatty grade of fish, sprinkle it with salt, cover with a film or wrap in parchment. Thanks to hygroscopicity, fish fibers will begin to pull salt in themselves.
Fish can salting out in different ways. It all depends on what consistency the carcass has. This process, as a rule, lasts from a couple of hours to several days.
The method of salting fish No. 2
The next method for preparing fish carcass is pickling in liquid brine. You can cook it yourself using ordinary water or vegetable oil.
The process of preparing the marinade:
- Heat the water strongly, but do not boil. Then sprinkle salt, the necessary spices. For river fish, you can also add spices to the brine. They will take away the smell of mud. As a rule, for one serving the following marinade is enough - 50 g of salt plus 1 l of ordinary water. Add the remaining components at your discretion.
- Pickle the fish so that it is immersed all in the liquid. There are special seasonings that can be combined with fish or not. Coriander, thyme can dilute fishy taste. Marinate also by adding garlic cloves or lemon juice. If you want the fish to cook quickly, add mustard, vinegar. But do not abuse these ingredients, because after them remains a characteristic taste.
The method of salting fish No. 3
The last method is useful to you if you are planning to smoke a fish in the oven. Everything is clear enough here - take the "liquid smoke", put a fish in it.Cooking fish for salting
Liquid smoke itself is considered a kind of marinade, plus at the same time thanks to it the product acquires a pleasant aroma reminiscent of the smell of wood smoke. However, this method of preparing fish for smoking is completely unsuitable, since it is impossible to even call it smoking.
What wood to take to smoke fish in the smokehouse?
The best option for hot smoking is deciduous tree. Also, an excellent tool will be obtained from sawdust, branches, chips. From the deciduous trees, a little resin is released, when compared with conifers. Experienced smokers also take dry branches of fruit trees for fuel, and also use berry bushes. Smoke generated after burning wood makes the fish fillet more flavorful.
- The best fuel is obtained from alder branches, juniper wood. These breeds have the most pronounced bactericidal qualities. Keep fish cooked in the smoke of these breeds, can be the longest.
- Coniferous trees during the hot smoking method they are used extremely rarely. The fish carcass, which is cooked on this smoke, as a result does not have a particularly appetizing appearance, since a lot of soot can form on it. Her aroma also turns out bad.
- In birch wood contains a huge amount of tar, therefore, it is not used at all.
- For a natural flavor and flavor enhancer, you can take: grape vine, juniper fruits, few cones, spices, herbs.
- If you decide to apply small dried branches, then clean them in advance. Be sure to chop large branches or logs into chips so that they are about 5 cm long.
Want to get strong smoke? Then be sure to stock up with plenty of chips and sawdust.
Absolutely forbidden for smoking use plywood, chipboard or fiberboard. Also, never take glued boards, laminate sheets and other wood products for the processing of which resin was used.
How to smoke fish in a smokehouse in a cold way?
Smoked fish is more popular with people than with hot fish. But for the first option, you have to spend time with more effort. You will never make cold smoking in natural conditions, since the process requires only a stationary device (a small barn).
Next, perform the following manipulations:
- Soak fish for smoking in saline. Make the marinade very rich. In this composition, withstand fish carcasses from 3 days to 14 days. It all depends on what size fish you decide to cook. When the fish is fully salted, soak it for 24 hours in cool water, hang it to dry. Dry the fish for no more than 5 days. You can protect the fish from flies using cheesecloth, which cover completely the main component.
- Then put the fish in the smokehouse. Smoke it there using cold smoke. It should be uniform. Hang the fish on the poles, placing them high enough. Smoke will begin to form due to the combustion of fuel, penetrate the smokehouse with a special pipe. Make sure that the smoke is not more than +25 degrees. The cooking time is a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 6 days.
- When the cooking process is complete, put the dried juniper branches in the fire. Thanks to the formed smoke, all microbes are destroyed, and therefore mold will not occur on the fish for a long time. If you want the fish to have a great aftertaste, then put straw in the bonfire.
Fish prepared in this way is stored in a cool place. It is most delicious in the first few days after cooking. But every day she will lose her own taste.
How to smoke fish hot?
For this method, you will need a special smokehouse - a metal container that closes tightly. You can build a smokehouse yourself, for example, from a metal bucket, a large pan, a drawer. It is important that the dishes can hide tightly, do not emit harmful substances.
- Put chips on the bottom of the dishes, then a wire rack. On it you will lay out the cabin, having prepared it in advance.
- It is difficult enough to correctly lay the product so that the smoke formed envelops the fish on each side. Therefore, in 2 or more layers it is forbidden to lay fish.
- Close tightly the smokehouse, put on a fire. If your device is small, then install it on top of the barbecue.
- Distribute the coals evenly. You can leave a couple of burning logs to make cooking faster. Watch out for the fire. It should be average.
- When the smokehouse heats up, you will notice white smoke - it means the process has begun. After that, remove the logs, leave only the coals.
- The duration of smoking will depend on several points. For example, from fire, the size of the device, the amount of product and its size. If you cook medium fish, then the process will take a maximum of 40 minutes.
- Make sure that the dishes do not overheat, so initially the temperature inside should be no more than +90. The fish will dry in about 10 minutes. When smoking begins, increase the temperature to +120. Due to the correct temperature, the product will be smoked, but not cooked.
- Never open the dishes until the fish has completely cooled, the smoke has disappeared.
- Ready fish has a dark golden color. If it is light, then the product is still raw.
Eating a smoked fish is an unforgettable pleasure. You can always cook it yourself. Just select your favorite fish variety and start cooking.