I usually don't post much on here since most of the recipes I try, I get from other members here reading the forums. However, I couldn't find a good smoked walleye recipe so I decided to give it a try with nothing more than a brine recipe. Most of the forums I read all stated that walleye is a very lean fish and it doesn't have the amount of oils that other fish do so smoking it usually doesn't work out. So the task was to try and figure out a way to keep it juicy and I did just that.
First, the brine.
8 Cups of apple juice
3/4 cup of canning/pickling salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
I mixed everything up in a glass bowl and once the salt and sugar was dissolved, I poured it over the walleye fillets in a deep dish long enough to lay them flat. I had skin up so all the flesh was submerged in the brine. I had four fillets but only brined two in case they didn't turn out. We had two left as a backup to deep fry. I finished the brine at about 11:30p and placed the fillets in the fridge uncovered. At about 4p this afternoon, I got my UDS going with some Stubb's briquettes, hickory chunks, and JD chips. While the UDS was settling in, I pulled the fillets out of the brine and did a good rinse. I then took a nice sharp knife and made a slit down the thickest part of the fillet and stuffed it with butter. My thinking here was that the butter would melt, stay in the slit and seep into the flesh. I sprinkled some salt and pepper and I then drizzled some honey over the butter and the rest of the fillet. Time to put them on the UDS.
With the UDS at a steady 220°ish, I placed the fillets on the top rack with a water pan underneath with a little apple juice in it just to add some moisture to the smoke. After an hour, the walleye had a nice golden brown color with some white flakes of flesh starting to separate. I put the meat probe into the thickest part and it read 147° and the flesh flaked apart as I inserted it. Time to eat!!!
The butter stayed in the slit like I wanted it to. The honey helped to seal in some of that moisture and they tasted amazing. My only gripe would be that I added a little to much salt when I sprinkled it on. Might take that step out next time. The portions that didn't get too much salt, were amazing. Great smoke flavor and oh so juicy. I knew they had to be good because noone was talking and the only sounds were mmm, and ohhh...lol.