I cobbled together a recipe from lots of different sources, and the shad was magnificent - the best we've ever had. Here's what I did:
Smoked Shad (and Roe) à la Minnamuska Creek Farm
Serves 4 to 6 people
2 filets shad (1 lb each)
1 set of roe
Coarse sea salt
For the smoker:
2 bundles fig sections
1 bundle grape sections
1 bundle hickory sections
Two or three hours before starting to smoke the fish, grind the spices and herbs together in a coffee or spice grinder. Sprinkle lemon juice onto the fish and rub the spice/herb mixture into the filets, mostly on the flesh rather than the skin side. Start the smoker about a half hour to forty-five minutes before adding the fish; bring the Egg to about 170 – 200°. 180 – 190° is ideal. Place the four bundles of wood, wrapped in aluminum foil with holes poked along the length, on the coals, top with the plate setter, legs up, set the rack on the legs, and then place the dry-brined shad on the vegetable grilling pan on the rack, with the spice/herb mixture still in place. Cook for two or two and a half hours and then add melted butter to the surface of the fish. Continue cooking another half hour or so; internal temperature should be 140 – 160° if you can test it; otherwise go by appearance; fish should be a deep golden brown and should be flaking or separating.
For the roe, separate the set(s) into two pieces and soak for a couple of hours in a brine of coarse salt and water. Then place in a bowl with some lemon, garlic, pepper and bay leaf. I used the rest of the ground mixture. Pour boiling water around the sacs, trying not to pour directly on them. Soak for 10 or 15 minutes. Place in a hot pan with melted butter and sauté on both sides until brown – about three or four minutes. You can add the roe, on an aluminum foil sheet, to the smoker for a half hour before serving to pick up some smoke flavoring.