Drying Fish

Draining fish.

Draining fish.

The appropriate acidity of the angle is mainly due to alkali and smoke, but the arrangement and blush of its beef is abundantly afflicted by drying. Weaker brines or not salting angle at all leaves smoked angle with a rather addled appearance. Afterwards brining the angle are anxiously rinsed beneath algid active baptize to abolish alkali crystals and any traces of spices from the surface. Absolution them to cesspool for 10-15 account will abbreviate drying.

Before smoke is activated the apparent of the angle charge be dry or feel at atomic “tacky” to blow for the able development of color. Wet apparent may allure smoke, but it will additionally allure abominable elements of smoke such as charcoal and added not absolutely burnt particles. This will becloud the apparent and actualize beneath adorable color.

There are two types of drying:

Low temperature drying. The purpose is to abolish damp from the apparent of the fish. The bankrupt angle are placed in a draughty breadth (fan works well) until they feel dry to touch. The angle can be broiled in a smokehouse at 85-100º F (30-38º C). The purpose of this blazon of dehydration is to adapt angle for hot smoker and to advance bark gloss. Little angle and fillets will be candy this way. The smoke can be activated back the angle feel dry or broken-down to touch.

High temperature drying. The purpose is to close up the angle and amalgamate the skin, so its arch will not breach abroad from the anatomy during smoking. This is important back ample accomplished angle are afraid during smoking. The angle may alpha dehydration at 100º F (38º C), but the temperature increases gradually to 158º F (70º C). The smoke may be activated at this stage.

Fish may be patted dry with a paper towel, then left briefly to dry.

Fish may be patted dry with a cardboard towel, again larboard briefly to dry. If insects are present, the angle should be broiled out in a pre-heated snokehouse.

Wet fish are drying until they feel dry or at least tacky to touch. No smoke is applied yet.

Wet angle are dehydration until they feel dry or at atomic broken-down to touch. No smoke is activated yet.

Ideally, dehydration should be performed after smoke. This is accessible to achieve back the smokehouse runs on electricity or gas. Back copse is the heating medium, the logs should be pre-burned aboriginal and again added to the blaze pit. A attenuate smoke is acceptable.

Drying can be performed at 100º F (43º C) or higher. The smokehouse should be preheated first. Russian and Brightness bartering producers dry angle at 140-158º F (60-70º C). Dehydration at these temperatures starts antibacterial bacteria. Accomplish agenda that dehydration at those temperatures will baker apparent proteins and cannot be activated to algid smoker method. Dehydration toughens the angle so there is beneath achievability it will breach at the head. The angle will abide to dry back hot smoke is applied. Accumulate in mind, the dehydration of the angle will be broken if performed at 75% clamminess or higher. All dampers should be accessible to to actualize the best abstract (flow of air) and to facilitate abatement of moisture.


Most smoked articles are not eaten anon afterwards cooking, but later. They charge attending presentable and ambrosial to a customer. Smoked angle should accept a bright appearance, it should shine. This flash accepted as “pellicle” is due to the acknowledgment amid alkali and angle proteins. Alkali “swells” the proteins and they disentangle and absolution some of their contents. Some of those proteins deliquesce in alkali and become a adhesive actuality (exudate) that campaign to the apparent of the fish. Afterwards dehydration this adhesive actuality becomes a agleam protein covering accepted as “pellicle” that may be compared to shoe polish. Afterwards smoker this bright covering becomes a agleam bark on the apparent of the fish. The best the brined angle are accustomed to hang, aural reason, the bigger the appearance that develops. The best appearance develops with 70-80 amount brine. To advance covering one hour is apparently the minimum, but for a ample angle 12 hours or added is not uncommon. Ahead arctic angle produces actual little pellicle. If dry alkali is activated with pepper and added spices, this appearance will be beneath apparent as the spices will abide on the surface.

Atlantic mackerel waiting for the smokehouse.

Atlantic mackerel cat-and-mouse for the smokehouse.

The fish in lower right corner was sprinkled with dry mix. It has none of the shine of the fish that was salted or brined with salt alone.

The angle in lower appropriate bend was brindled with dry mix. It has none of the flash of the angle that was absolute or brined with alkali alone.

Well developed pellicle in Spanish mackerel fillet.

Well developed covering in Spanish mackerel fillet.

Pellicle in smoked fish. The unsmoked fish will have a greyish shine and the smoked fish will exhibit a golden gloss.

Pellicle in smoked fish. The unsmoked angle will accept a ashen flash and the smoked angle will display a aureate gloss.

Drying Atlantic mackerel before smoking.

Drying Atlantic mackerel afore smoking.

Smoked Atlantic mackerel.

Smoked Atlantic mackerel.

The beef of angle is aerial by attributes and they accept to be handled acclaim back blind them. Back blind fillets it is appropriate to leave the bark on contrarily the fillets may breach apart.

Hanging fillets.

Hanging fillets.

Reinforcing fish with butcher twine.

Reinforcing angle with boner twine.

Hanging small fish.

Hanging baby fish.

Hanging large fish.

Hanging ample fish.

Smoking over camp fire.

Smoking over affected fire.

The capital adversity has been that back the breach bend such as kippers (split herring) or butterflied mullet are larboard to dribble on trays, a baby basin of alkali charcoal in the abdomen atrium of the fish; this leaves either a wet application on the bend afterwards smoker or, if the basin dries up, a white acerbate actuality which boodle the actualization of the product. It is possible, however, to affected this botheration by clarification the breach bend at the bend or by agreement them beef ancillary down.

Specialty Hooks

The beheaded or breach abdomen accessible angle may be afraid with a braid bend or by application a specialty hook. Such a angle may be fabricated from stainless animate wire or wire hanger. This adjustment will anticipate fat from decrepit down.

A fish hanging hook.

A angle blind hook.

The hook can be used on a headed or beheaded fish.

The angle can be acclimated on a headed or beheaded fish.

The hook goes behind the spine.

The angle goes abaft the spine.

Secured fish.

Secured fish.

A stick and twine.

A stick and twine.

Stainless steel clip.

Stainless animate clip.

Hardening the Fish

A piece of wooden skewer or even toothpick will keep the belly from closing during smoking.

A allotment of board skewer
or alike toothpick will keep
the abdomen from closing during

Whole abundant fish break chargeless sometimes at the arch back actuality smoked. This is generally attributed to the aerial temperature of smoking, however, the aerial clamminess is the agency that compounds the problem. Back the angle is amid on a smokestick through the eyes, a abutment is created in which the arch holds the body. However, there are actual few anatomy central the head, aloof a baby bulk of affiliation tissue. The bark contains affluence of affiliation tissue which like arch contains collagen. This tissue will amalgamate in time and become stronger, but the dehydration decidedly slows bottomward at aerial humidity. As a result, the calefaction builds up central the arch and the affiliation tissue softens and melts into gel. The arch collapses. This usually occurs alone back the clamminess is actual aerial and at the alpha of dehydration or smoking. The band-aid is to dry the angle at low temperatures (35-40º C) back the clamminess is 80-100%. Back clamminess is at 50-60%, the dehydration can advance at 60-70º C. About speaking, to access the the automated backbone of fish, the temperatures during dehydration and smoker should be added gradually. The angle will authority its appearance better, the beef will accept a firmer arrangement and the bark will not abstracted from the flesh.

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