Smoking fish is one of the methods of harvesting fish outdoors or during fishing, as caught fish deteriorates very quickly, especially in warm and hot weather. In order to preserve the catch for a long time, it must be processed somehow to protect it from damage. After salting, the fish can be dried or smoked. Almost all types of fish are suitable for smoking, as opposed to drying. The most delicious smoked fish are river perch, bream, carp, tench, eel, cod, burbot.
Preparing fish for smoking, salting fish for smoking, storing smoked fish.
Smoking is cold and hot. You can also smoke fish using a metal portable smokehouse. This will speed up the smoking process several times. True, the fish turns out to be smoked and less tasty because of this. Gourmets more like in-kind smoking with a sophisticated bonfire-chimney-smoking chamber system, when such a construction is done directly on the riverbank with their own hands. For the bonfire, branches and slivers of deciduous trees and various fragrant herbs are used, so the fish turns out to be unusually tasty and fragrant.
. The principle for smoking fish remains the same as for smoking game: the volume of the smokehouse depends on the volume and quantity of fish intended for smoking. So, in a smoking chamber the size of a small box, you can only smoke small fish. A smokehouse in the form of a barrel is suitable for medium fish, and large fish should be smoked entirely in a spacious chamber the size of a cabinet.
The same raw materials recommended for smoking game are suitable for lighting a fire. It is very convenient to use rotten alder, which does not ignite during smoking, unlike other types of wood. Small branches of juniper, which can be put in a smoke during the last days of smoking, have proven themselves well. Juniper extends the shelf life of any product, as it is a natural preservative. After smoking fish using juniper chips, the product will be stored for more than 2 weeks, of course, if you put it in a cool place.
Preparing fish for cold and hot smoking.
First you need to properly prepare the fish for smoking. It is cooked somewhat differently than game meat. First, fish must be cleaned and gutted or smoked whole, depending on the method of smoking, size and type of fish. Prepared fish before smoking must be salted using oppression or dry salting in bags. The salting under oppression is suitable for both small and large fish. In this way you can prepare catfish, carp, pike perch, chub, ide and pike.
Large and medium-sized fish should be gutted by making longitudinal cuts, then sprinkled with coarse salt, laid under oppression and left in a cool place. Large fish should be salted for 10-12 days, small fish – 8 hours. After the due time, the brine formed must be drained, the fish washed in cold water, soaked in clean water for about 1.5 hours. Then dry by hanging on by installing inside the smokehouse the spacer sticks that can be made from alder twigs.
For smoking, large and medium-sized fish must be gutted, cut off their heads and the spine removed. Then lay in a bag, pouring copiously with coarse salt. You can use sea salt. If you salt the fish in a bag, when laying it must be shaken periodically to compact the layers of fish. When the bag is half full, it must be tightly tightened to increase the pressure on the fish. Next, the bag must be buried in the sand and left in this position for 1 day. Small fish can be left for 12 hours. After that, you need to remove it, wash it in water, dry it in the wind and start smoking.
Before smoking, fish with tender meat should be wrapped with linen, paper or coated with dough. Processing time will depend on the method of smoking, the size of the fish and its type. Trout, pike, carp, eel can be smoked hot for 4 days, and salmon for 3 weeks. Herring is smoked for 1 day, especially if it was well salted before. Before smoking, it is necessary to remove caviar and milk, if any, from the fish. When heated, they give the fish a bitter taste. So that during smoking the fish does not accidentally break loose and fall to the bottom of the smoking chamber, it must be firmly fixed. But if this still happened, then the fallen fish must be removed on time.
Storing fish after smoking.
Smoked products can be stored in a box specially equipped for this purpose. It should be strong and crack free. Before placing smoked fish in a box, it should be wiped dry. At the bottom of the box, pour pure sifted ash with a layer of 2-3 cm. Place smoked fish on it, each layer also need to be sprinkled with ash. Instead of ash, you can use shavings or sawdust from hardwood. Juniper filings are especially good..
Various spices and seasonings will also extend the shelf life of the smoked product. Sprinkle them with fish before smoking. In this condition, smoked products are stored for a long time. A well-prepared and protected box will prevent the entry of various insects into it, as well as restrict air access. It is better to store the box not in the cellar, but in a dry, cool room with ventilation.
Based on materials from the book “Fishing and Hunting Cuisine. Bowler, bonfire and night sky “.