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Smoked fish pellicle formation?

PharmerPharmer Posts: 37
edited 2:50PM in EggHead Forum
Looking to hot-smoke fish on the egg for the first time this weekend. I have a brine recipe courtesy of a friend and plan to loosely follow the instructions listed here:

http://seafood.ucdavis.edu/pubs/smoking.htm

My question, given that it appears difficult to maintain very low temperatures (i.e., the 90 F suggested in the above link for the first two hours of smoking), is: How do most people here ensure a proper pellicle formation before completing the smoking process at higher temperature?

Comments

  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    I put the fish on a wire rack in the fridge after rinsing the salt off and let it sit overnight. -RP
  • James MBJames MB Posts: 356
    I find half an hour or so usually does the trick - in the fridge or on the counter. Then I just smoke at the desired temp all the way through rather than the low temp start.
    TVWB method works well for me.
    btw - I sometimes dry on a bent skewer but if I'm putting it in the fridge a plate is fine skin side down.
  • ditto ( +1)
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    DSC00111aa.jpg

    Although I prefer a dry cure over a brine cure, the pellicle is very important. I agree with the others about an overnight refrigerated rest. This will allow for good pellicle formation, and allow the curing process to equalize. I often lightly season my fillet before the rest, or you can do it later. I know it's hard to tell but the above picture is following the rest, and the below picture is the same fillet after hot smoking.


    DSC00121aa.jpg

    This picture shows the rack set-up over a plastic tray I use for resting.

    DSC09040a.jpg

    An easy way to knock out some heat while smoking is to put a pan of ice below the fillets. Change it out as often as you need to. In this case, opening the Egg and letting heat escape is good. Watch your internal temps once the albumen starts to rise...

    DSC09867aacopy.jpg

    I like mine a little on the moist side.

    DSC00125aa.jpg
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • James MBJames MB Posts: 356
    Crikey that looks better than mine, I usually settle for a more (ahem) rustic product!
  • PharmerPharmer Posts: 37
    Seriously, those fillets look great!

    Thanks for all of the advice everyone ... I'll brine tonight and rest overnight for smoking tomorrow.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    7e88cf0e.jpg

    Well, I can go rustic... it all eats the same. Heheee.

    I do fancy it up around the Christmas holidays using green and red peppercorns for decoration.

    td3DSC06996.jpg
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • PharmerPharmer Posts: 37
    Thideye, from the pictures, it looks like you are set up to smoke with direct heat. I was planning indirect ... should I reconsider?
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    DSC09058a.jpg

    No, not really.....In the photo above, I'm using an alumimum pan as my heat shield and on this cook the pan was in the entire time. I like this set-up because I can add ice if needed, or slide the tray out a little bit and drop a few chips onto the coals. I use this kind of set-up often. If the fire starts to get real low I can always just remove the tray.

    I sort of adapt to the conditions. Sometimes if it's cold outside (I smoke year-round in Wyoming) and/or I have a small fire, and my grate is raised, and the fish are thick... I can do a direct cook. Here is an example, and yes, that is snow on my Egg Mates.

    dsc01185ab.jpg

    Another option is using a pan with a grate atop it. With fish, you can get pretty creative.

    DSC07444a.jpg

    Take a look at my Salmon page for a bunch of information. I'm not trying to sway you away from using a brine, but there are a few tips there that apply to smoking fish, and there might be something you don't want to overlook.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Very nice Wayne - always enjoy visiting your site
  • PharmerPharmer Posts: 37
    Gave your method a try and it turned out quite well IMHO. This being my first shot at hot-smoking, I stuck to two small fillets in case things went horribly wrong. Thankfully they didn't, although I think I had the grid temperature a tad high ... things went pretty quickly to 130 F internal. I'll try adding the ice/water tray next time.

    IMG_6162.jpg
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    That looks really good. Nice color and firm. Low temps are hard to hang on to..... with some practice you will be able to grab them.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
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