Methods of dry and wet salting of fish, drying fish, smoking fish cold and hot, home-made smokehouses for fish from improvised materials in the field.

Fish as a food product has been known since ancient times. In ancient times, in order to preserve it longer, people dried fish simply in the sun. Later, when mankind learned to make fire, fish began to smoke. The emergence of salt has made the process of harvesting fish for future use even more diverse, introducing methods of dry and wet salting. 

Methods of dry and wet salting of fish, drying fish, smoking fish cold and hot, home-made smokehouses for fish from improvised materials in the field.

Ambassador is one of the most common ways to preserve fish in hot conditions. The preservative effect of salt is to dehydrate microorganisms present in the fish, but salt only delays the development of microorganisms, but does not destroy them. Therefore, the ambassador cannot serve as a means of disinfecting.

, beech wood. But the best taste and aroma of smoked products gives smoke from cherry, pear, apple, apricot and other fruit trees. The beautiful brown color and the specific aroma of the fish gives smoking in the smoke generated by the burning of juniper. A special spicy aroma is given to smoked fish by a vine of grapes. The wood of coniferous trees (except the aforementioned juniper) and birch should not be used for smoking, since in this case smoked products can acquire a bitter taste and a dirty look.

To give the fish a beautiful golden color and caramel flavor, you can add a little sugar to the sawdust. As a substitute for sawdust, currant, alder green leaves and twigs are used, nettle leaves can be used. Cold-smoked fish retains most of the vitamins (including A and D) found in fish oil and liver. There are fewer vitamins in hot smoked fish.

Unlike drying, almost all types of fish, especially fatty ones, are suitable for smoking. The duration of fish smoking for each design of the smokehouse is determined empirically, and skills are acquired quickly – after 2-3 times of smoking. Correctly smoked fish has a golden brown color, meat that is easily separated from the skin, which, in turn, turns out to be friable and evenly baked.

Preparing fish for smoking.

Before you start smoking fish, you need to prepare it. The guts are removed from the fish, the gills are washed thoroughly and slightly dried in the air. Then the carcasses are rubbed with salt from the outside and inside and allowed to lie down for about an hour. Small-sized fish can be salted immediately before laying in the smokehouse. If time permits, the fish can be put for 2-3 hours in a strong salt solution and immediately before smoking, remove it from the brine, rinse, preferably in running water, and slightly dry.

Cold smoked fish.

It is characterized by a longer processing time, during which the fish heat slightly, since they are constantly in cold smoke. Cold smoking, unlike hot smoking, is somewhat more complicated and longer in time. The duration of the continuous process of cold smoking can be up to 2-3 days. In this case, moisture is gradually removed from the fish, it dries up, and smoke substances of smoke gradually penetrate into it. As a result, the fish is well dehydrated, acquires a persistent aroma, fat does not heat up and is not lost, the surface becomes dry, slightly oily. Cold smoked fish can be stored for a long time..

Hot smoked fish.

A faster way and is applied much more often. Its duration is from 15–20 minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the fish and the structure of the smokehouse. In this case, relatively little moisture is removed from the fish, but it is well saturated with fat. Hot smoking of fish is not difficult and does not require lengthy preparations, which allows you to smoke almost all types of fish immediately after fishing. For hot smoking, only fresh fish is used, which is better to gut.

Smokehouse from a pot for a hot method of smoking fish.

Camping pot with a lid allows not only to cook the ear or fry fish, but also to smoke it. In such a smokehouse, small fish is cooked very quickly. To be able to smoke fish in a pot, it is necessary to make a removable grill from improvised materials and place it at 2/3 of the distance from the bottom to the top of the pot. Sawdust is poured into the bottom of the pot with a layer of about 1 cm. So that the bottom is completely covered. If this is not done, then the juice draining from the fish can get to the bottom of the smokehouse and burn up, giving the fish bitterness. With a uniform distribution of sawdust, their top layer absorbs juice and does not allow it to burn.

The fish should be laid out on the grill so that it does not touch each other and the walls of the pot, then cover the pot with a lid and put on low heat. In just 5-10 minutes, the sawdust will begin to smolder and smoke will come out from under the lid. On not too high a fire, the fish will be ready in 20-25 minutes. As a rule, smoking lasts 12-15 minutes after the appearance of smoke from under the lid. You can check the correctness of the selected temperature regime during fish smoking by splashing water on the lid of the pot.

If the water does not boil, but gradually evaporates, then the temperature regime is maintained correctly. Remove the pot from the heat, let it cool for several minutes and gently open the lid. If the color of the fish suits, then set aside to cool it, if not, then put the pot on the fire for another 5-10 minutes, no more. When smoking is finished, open the lid and leave it for a while so that the remaining moisture evaporates, and the fish dries slightly.

Field smokehouse in a ravine or steep bank for smoking fish cold or hot.

A pit 25-30 cm deep is digging in a ravine or steep bank. A coal layer is fired at its bottom, then a layer of sawdust is poured on top, and at a height of 10-15 cm, rods about 1.5 cm thick are stuck from them or a grate is placed for placement fish. The fish is loose. From above, at a distance of at least 10 cm from the fish, the pit is covered with a piece of tarpaulin or dense fabric.

In order for the coals not to go out, a small gap should be left. The readiness of the fish is determined by its appearance: the surface of the skin should be dry and the color golden. When the readiness of the fish is checked, the smokehouse should be opened for a very short period of time, since due to the ingress of air into the sawdust, it can ignite.

Smokehouse made of polyethylene for smoking fish cold or hot.

From the stakes they assemble a frame in the form of a square measuring 1.0 x 1.0 x 1.7 meters, digging them into the ground on a flat platform. Two sticks are fixed crosswise on top of the frame. Fish is hung inside, then coals are spread in an even layer, sawdust, fresh branches and grass are on top. The frame is tightly covered with polyethylene. After 1.5-2 hours, the polyethylene is removed so that the fish is dried and ventilated. Then smoking is repeated. Large fish should be smoked and the next day according to the same scheme, for small and medium, as a rule, double smoking is sufficient.

Simple smoking fish by the fire.

Fish can be smoked without a smokehouse. It is enough to prepare several branches about a meter long. Peeled fish from the bark and the pointed end of the branch pierce the fish through the mouth opening along the spine. The other end of the branch is stuck into the ground closer to the fire from the smoky side. Small fish cook for 2-3 hours, larger fish – 3-4 hours.

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