Here in San Diego we are entering the best time of the year - fishing is starting to go off, and right now the tuna are starting to show in numbers. Recently a buddy came back from a multi day trip and spread the wealth, so naturally I got the smoker ready. For this smoke I have a new secret ingredient, and I have to say that it will be included in just about everything I smoke from now on that requires a brine step.
Here's the Brine:
2 cups apple cider
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy (I used dark soy)
2 Tbs Molasses
1 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
And here is the secret ingredient : 3 cans Vernor's Ginger Ale
Why Vernor's - This Ginger Ale not only gives a nice ginger hint to the meat, but since the syrup is aged in oak barrels for years before canning, it has a beautiful sharp oaky flavor that simply works. Only Vernor's is made this way, so no substitutions will do...
I heated up the brine solution in a sauce pan to dissolve the ingredients, let them cool - then added the 3 pre-chilled cans of Vernor's. The Yellowfin tuna loins were sliced up into 1 1/2" thick pieces and brined for 6 hours. Here they are on their racks forming a pellicle. I used a fan to help speed up the process.
I fired up the smoker to 200* - no water pan, but a large tray of play sand is in place. The AMNPS was stoked up with Maple pellets, and the yellowfin went in for a 4 hour smoke to an internal temp of 140*.
Here was my view on opening the door:
Out on the counter cooling off, but I couldn't wait - just after I took the picture I had to try a piece. Nice and moist with a wonderful flavor. I don't think this will last very long...