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always brine?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by saltysandman, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    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?
  2. ksblazer

    ksblazer Smoking Fanatic

    I have done salmon without brining with no problems

    Just make sure you cook it to temp
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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...
  4. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    here's a silly question. how do you make exact 2%?
  5. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    145 farenheit is good right?
  6. 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 likes this.
  7. 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.

    Take 2% of the weight of the fish which is effectively a dry brine I believe.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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
  9. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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: Dec 12, 2018
    saltysandman likes this.
  10. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

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

    banderson7474 likes this.
  12. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    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?
  13. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    sign of the bearcarver must be in bizarro costco.
  14. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    trying a no-brine, straight smoke to 150-160 degrees. i'll let you know how it turns out.
  15. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    turned out great. i'll have to compare it to a brined one next time.
  16. 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!!!
  17. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    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.
    ksblazer and banderson7474 like this.
  18. 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.
  19. saltysandman

    saltysandman Smoke Blower

    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.