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I'm smokin yesterday's catch

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
It's Monday and time for some Smokin'. In case you missed my previous smokin' posts, you can find them here:

Ribs: http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=499815
Chicken: http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=502629

Today I am smoking fish, Spanish mackerel to be exact. Went fishing with my brother-in-law yesterday and caught grouper, snapper and later in the day, seven keeper Spanish mackerel. Spanish mackerel are voracious feeders and strong fighters. They have very sharp teeth which can bite trough 50 lb line in a snap. They can also bite through your hand if you are not careful.

Anyway, Spanish mackerel are oily fish. This makes them perfect to smoke. I don't really care to eat them any other way other than smoked. Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and blue fish are all common fish in this area that are good to smoke. How do you eat smoked fish? In smoked fish dip.

Before smoking the fish, I like to brine them. This holds in moisture during the smoking process.

Here is the brine prepared:

The brine is 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of kosher salt, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 long squirt of chili sauce (**** sauce), 3 tbl black pepper, 2 tbl onion powder, 1 tbl garlic powder.

I brined the fish overnight. Here they are coming out of the refrigerator.

Next step is to take the racks out of the smoker and rub them with peanut oil so the fish won't stick (hopefully).

Remove the fish from the brine and rinse them completely to remove all traces of surface salt.

Place the fish on the racks skin side down and pat dry with paper towels.

Next step is to help them develop the pellicle faster. I put a fan blowing air over them while I get the smoker ready and smoking (45 minutes).

Updates to come as they occur.

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

Re: I'm smokin yesterday's catch

Ok, the fish are in.

I want to keep the smoker below 250*, 225* would be better. The total time should be between 2.5 and 3 hours.

Good smoke going:

As with any locker type smoker, the temperature is not consistent through out the smoker. So, every hour I will rotate the racks.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok, one hour down and it's time to rotate.

These were on the bottom rack.

Here they are rotated with more wood added to the smoke box:

Next update in an hour or so.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok. Two hours down and one to go. Tested the bigget filet at the thickest part:

147* is most of the way there. I would like to see 160*. But the real test is flaking with a fork. However, the flake test is difficult with Spanish Mackerel as they can be mushy fish when cooked. I'll give it another 30 minutes to an hour.

Last rotation is complete:

More updates to follow.

post #5 of 16
Love those pics! keep them coming. When do we eat?


post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I don't have everything I need to make the dip yet.

If you start driving south now, you should make it here about the time the dip is ready. :D
post #7 of 16
I can try to make it in about 3 days.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


post #8 of 16

Re: I'm smokin yesterday's catch

Lots of great looking photos! :D Don't believe I've ever had smoked mackerel, but I'd like to. wink.gif
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok, they are done. Here are the filets on the racks cooling.

To verify doneness, check to make sure they flake all the way to the bottom.


Now that they have cooled enough to handle, carefully peel the skin off. With a little practice, the skin can be peeled off in sheets leaving a full filet. Remove the bloodline with a fork and the pin bones that surround the bloodline. Note: Spanish have bones that run the length of the fish in the middle where as Blue fish have bones around the rib cage.

Here are all 14 filets cleaned, deboned and ready for use.

I took a little more than 1/3 to chop and vaccuume sealed the rest.

The chopped fish was used to make a double batch of dip:

Here is the dip recipe:
1 pound crumbled smoked fish
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 stalk finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
3 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
Put the smoked fish in a medium bowl and add the milk. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
In a separate bowl, Stir in the cream cheese, onion, celery, parsley, relish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Add the fish/milk combo and mix well.
Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours until flavors have blended.
Serve with your favorite crackers.

Note: This makes a soupy dip. If you prefer a more spreadable dip, use 1/4 cup of milk or less.

post #10 of 16
On the way! Lookin' good.

post #11 of 16

Re: I'm smokin yesterday's catch

Looks wonderful. I have never had makeral before can you not eat filleted? The fish dip sounds wonderful..I just copied the recipe and puit it in my stash under q3131a's smoked makeral dip . But just curios cuz the fillets look great pre dip stage!

Great pictures had me salavating from the word go!!
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yes, you can eat the mackerel prepared a variety of ways. Spanish Mackerel is a popular shushi dish. SM sashimi is popular. Others like it fried, backed, etc.

I prefer to smoke it. I have so many different kinds of fish here on the gulf coast, that I prefer to smoke mackerel and bluefish. I like to fry red fish and sea trout. I like to bake/broil/sear grouper, etc.

Spanish Mackerel is an oilly fish. So, it doesn't freeze well when raw.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Oh, and you can use this exact recipe on King Mackerel, Blue Fish or any other oilly fish.
post #14 of 16

Re: I'm smokin yesterday's catch

Wow thanks for all the info on fish!! I love to fish almost as much as I like to smoke!! Unfortunately my current job doen't allow much of either.

I have copied your information into my recipe book for future use! thanks again.
post #15 of 16

Re: I'm smokin yesterday's catch

Great Job, really well done. Lots of great pics as well. I use to go fishing and when I caught a blue fish I gave them away.. thanks for sharning.

post #16 of 16

Re: I'm smokin yesterday's catch

Holy Mackerel!!!!! That looks the grub!!
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