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always brine?

saltysandman

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I assume the brine is to prevent the growth of pathogens, right? is it possible to smoke fish, fresh off boat without wet or dry brining? i want to make my smoked fish dip for a party later but don't have time to brine. any suggestions?
 

ksblazer

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I have done salmon without brining with no problems

Just make sure you cook it to temp
 

daveomak

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If you sprinkle 2% salt over the fish, 2% sugar and a dash of onion and garlic powder, you will get a product that has more flavor...
 

banderson7474

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I assume the brine is to prevent the growth of pathogens, right? is it possible to smoke fish, fresh off boat without wet or dry brining? i want to make my smoked fish dip for a party later but don't have time to brine. any suggestions?
I've never heard of brine doing that. I was always under the impression it was to flavor it and make the protein moist after the cook.
 

Dafish13

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Brines are about flavor, moisture and tenderness not so much for pathogens. Cures are to prevent pathogens. You can smoke anything without brining it. Brining just improves the taste.

here's a silly question. how do you make exact 2%?
Take 2% of the weight of the fish which is effectively a dry brine I believe.
 

daveomak

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here's a silly question. how do you make exact 2%?
You need a grams scale.. 0-100 grams... weigh the fish and add the % of salt, sugar etc. to the surface... That way it's not too salty and comes out good.... 2%... weight of the fish in grams X 0.02 = amount to add...
A 3# fish = 454 x 3 = 1,362 grams x 0.02 = 27 grams
 

SonnyE

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here's a silly question. how do you make exact 2%?
What Dave said, the long weigh around...

Accurate weighing. As I realized my old Postal scale was not going to cut it any more, I did some shopping.
I bought a digital scale that can weigh up to 11 pounds, or 5,000 grams (5 Kilograms), to use as my kitchen scale.
To this I pulled in my reloading scale, very similar to this. Mine came with a test weight to check it, and a small tare pan.
I also use that test weight to check the bigger scale. Dead on!
Weigh the meat. I just use one of our dinner plates. I set it on the big scale and turn it on. It automatically zeros itself with the weight of the plate. Always use this method to Tare your container, even paper plates, or dry waxed paper if you use it, accuracy counts!

For chits and giggles, lets say your Meat weights 1 Kilo. (1,000 grams, 1kg= 2lb 3.273965oz) Metric's are the easiest way to do your conversions because Metrics are already digitized. ;)
Pop Quiz: What is 2% of 1 kilo? Answer: 1,000 X 0.02 = 20 grams. 20 grams is 2% (.02) of 1,000 grams.

Now, your prepped, ready to work fish (meat minus bones, skin, slime) weighs 4 pounds 3 ounces. What is 2%? How much Salt and Sugar?

4lb 3oz= 1.899418kg Do the math and 1.899418 (1899.418 Grams) x .02 = 38 Grams of Salt, and of sugar, each.
Now look, this is cookin, do we need to be anal to 4 to 6 digits? NO! I just wanted to give you the method, and why Metrics work well for this stuff.
Round it up and you can be fine. 1.9 Kilo's needs 38 grams of salt, and 38 grams of sugar. Nobody is gonna die, and nobody is gonna spit it out. (Except my wife. She hates fish.)

Where this comes into hard play is when working with curing agents. Pink salt, Prague Powder, cure #1, Kure, etc.
Accuracy counts. For piece of mind, if nothing else.
In industry, Hormel (for example) weighs a bunch of Pork Bellies, and batch weighs the curing agents, salt, sugar, and whatever else they put it in (unpronounceable crap).
So You are the batchmaster. You do the work. And You are also the Mad Scientist playing with the
ingredients, taking notes, weighing things out, finding the percentages.
Your rewards are when folks say, "WOW! That's good!"

Whew! Long way around to get 2%... :)

Dave, could you grade my paper for me?
 
Last edited:

SonnyE

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I've never heard of brine doing that. I was always under the impression it was to flavor it and make the protein moist after the cook.
Salt retards bacteria growth. That was why they use to salt down meat for long trips.
And part of why sailors were called, "Old salts".
They were salty inside and out.
 

Bearcarver

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I believe they keep the "2% Salt" in the same Aisle as the "2% Milk", except the Milk is in the Fridge. :D

Bear
 

saltysandman

Smoke Blower
85
12
Joined Jan 1, 2018
What Dave said, the long weigh around...

Accurate weighing. As I realized my old Postal scale was not going to cut it any more, I did some shopping.
I bought a digital scale that can weigh up to 11 pounds, or 5,000 grams (5 Kilograms), to use as my kitchen scale.
To this I pulled in my reloading scale, very similar to this. Mine came with a test weight to check it, and a small tare pan.
I also use that test weight to check the bigger scale. Dead on!
Weigh the meat. I just use one of our dinner plates. I set it on the big scale and turn it on. It automatically zeros itself with the weight of the plate. Always use this method to Tare your container, even paper plates, or dry waxed paper if you use it, accuracy counts!

For chits and giggles, lets say your Meat weights 1 Kilo. (1,000 grams, 1kg= 2lb 3.273965oz) Metric's are the easiest way to do your conversions because Metrics are already digitized. ;)
Pop Quiz: What is 2% of 1 kilo? Answer: 1,000 X 0.02 = 20 grams. 20 grams is 2% (.02) of 1,000 grams.

Now, your prepped, ready to work fish (meat minus bones, skin, slime) weighs 4 pounds 3 ounces. What is 2%? How much Salt and Sugar?

4lb 3oz= 1.899418kg Do the math and 1.899418 (1899.418 Grams) x .02 = 38 Grams of Salt, and of sugar, each.
Now look, this is cookin, do we need to be anal to 4 to 6 digits? NO! I just wanted to give you the method, and why Metrics work well for this stuff.
Round it up and you can be fine. 1.9 Kilo's needs 38 grams of salt, and 38 grams of sugar. Nobody is gonna die, and nobody is gonna spit it out. (Except my wife. She hates fish.)

Where this comes into hard play is when working with curing agents. Pink salt, Prague Powder, cure #1, Kure, etc.
Accuracy counts. For piece of mind, if nothing else.
In industry, Hormel (for example) weighs a bunch of Pork Bellies, and batch weighs the curing agents, salt, sugar, and whatever else they put it in (unpronounceable crap).
So You are the batchmaster. You do the work. And You are also the Mad Scientist playing with the
ingredients, taking notes, weighing things out, finding the percentages.
Your rewards are when folks say, "WOW! That's good!"

Whew! Long way around to get 2%... :)

Dave, could you grade my paper for me?

Thank you SonnyE. Is this formula good for both dry and wet brine? for wet, isn't the amount of liquid going to play a factor?
 

banderson7474

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined May 24, 2016
I actually forgot you were making smoked dip. Man that was fresh off a boat too? What recipe did you use? I love me some smoked dip!!!
 

saltysandman

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Joined Jan 1, 2018
I actually forgot you were making smoked dip. Man that was fresh off a boat too? What recipe did you use? I love me some smoked dip!!!
found this recipe deep inside this forum. Best i've ever had. i usually make a double batch. just double ingredients.

Smoked Fish Dip (originally from 3men.com)

  • 1 ½ cups crumbled smoked fish (mahi, kingfish, salmon would be fine too)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened or whipped
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 stalk finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon 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. Squeeze a little and pour out excess milk. Stir in the cream cheese, onion, celery, parsley, relish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours until flavors have blended.
Serve with your favorite crackers.
 

banderson7474

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined May 24, 2016
Thanks! I think I might make that this weekend. I was going to make smoked dip 6 months ago but forgot. Which fish did you use? It's hard for me to find good white fish here in Alabama but I should be able to figure it out.
 

saltysandman

Smoke Blower
85
12
Joined Jan 1, 2018
Thanks! I think I might make that this weekend. I was going to make smoked dip 6 months ago but forgot. Which fish did you use? It's hard for me to find good white fish here in Alabama but I should be able to figure it out.
I've mainly used kingfish and mahi mahi. you could do with salmon. works better with a meaty fish. small flaky won't do as well.
 

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