Smoking Whitefish

Discussion in 'Fish' started by gsdressler, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. I have some fresh frozen whitefish that I would like to smoke and I am wondering if I have to scale the fish first before going on the smoker. I usually leave the skin on the fish because it holds everything together while smoking, and remove it after the fish has cooled. It's no big deal really; but it could be one step I could skip (scaling the fish). The fish is filleted, not whole.

    Any feedback or comments would be appreciated. Thank you

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Are you hot smoking it, as in fully cooked fish. If so I don't think it would matter either way. Personally I smoke fish without skin so they get more smoke penetration. Why don't you try some both ways & let us know what you think the best way is.
  3. I am hot smoking the fish on a Traeger pellet grill until fully cooked.I do use a grill pro offset charcoal smoker in the warmer weather. The Traeger is just easier to maintain the heat in the cooler months.  I was just wondering if leaving the scales on would be a problem. The reason I ask is because the scales on a whitefish are quite large when compared to say, a salmon. I usually smoke them with a mixture of hickory/ apple or hickory/cherry pellets and they turn out great.
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It should be fine to leave them on but I would personally take them off. The only problem I would see is if you have multiple trays in the smoker and some of the scales fall off onto the piece below. It wouldn't hurt anything you would just need to pick them off. Also some people like to eat the fish skin and you couldn't do that if there were still scales on it.
  5. shortend

    shortend Meat Mopper

    Hmmmm. Smoked Whitefish. Personally, I would scale them, myself, but leaving them on shouldn't hurt anything.
    fisherman93 likes this.
  6. I'm going to try it once without scaling them and see what happens. My smoker has a single grate configuration, so if some scales do come off, they'll end up in the drip pan. And like i said earlier, I'll peel the skin off once the fish has cooled and get then ready for the freezer.( Well, probably not ALL of them) lol
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    When I was a kid we would get smoked whitefish, but it was the whole fish, skin on but scaled. That was a real delicacy back then.
    fisherman93 likes this.
  8. idaho jack

    idaho jack Newbie

    I just returned from a trip to the South Fork of the Snake River and brought back a large Whitefish.  I would like to smoke it whole.  I've always thought that a brine is the key to smoking fish.  Do I just place the entire fish in the brine?  Or, to use a brine do I have to fillet it or at least cut it down the spine?  Any suggestions?
  9. fisherman93

    fisherman93 Newbie

    if you are going to smoke it whole, i would just scale it and put the dressed fish (scaled and gutted) in the brine as-is then proceed to smoking.

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