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Cold smoked haddock recipe questions.

Discussion in 'Fish' started by Oleg, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Oleg

    Oleg Smoke Blower

    Hi guys, I found this recipe on seriouseats.com website. I do not understand a couple of steps so any theories are appreciated:
    - why keep fish at room temperature for 1-2 hrs after brining if it goes in the fridge after that.
    - after 1-2 hrs. at room temperature the author suggests to move to refrigerator and leave uncovered between 1 and 24hrs. Why such large range?

    ok, here is the recipe:
    Real finnan haddie is an incredible ingredient and it's worth tracking down, but you can also cold-smoke any lean white-fleshed fish (like haddock, cod, or halibut) at home, if you have the appropriate equipment. To do it, make a brine by dissolving 60g (~2 oz.) salt and 30g (~1 oz.) sugar, along with 2 bay leaves and 15 whole black peppercorns, in 500ml (~17 fl. oz.) water over high heat. Remove from heat and add an additional 1500ml (~51 fl. oz.) cold water (you could also add 500g (~17 oz.) ice to chill the brine rapidly). Make sure brine has cooled fully; then add fish (skin on or off, as desired), and let soak, refrigerated, for 1 hour. Remove fish from brine, set on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet, and let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours.

    Transfer fish to refrigerator and leave, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours longer. Using a real cold-smoking rig, smoke fish following the smoker's instructions with cherry or other wood until deeply smoked, about 4 hours. Alternatively, put fish in a zipper-lock bag, and, using a Smoking Gun, inflate bag with smoke. Seal, then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add another blast of smoke to bag; then refrigerate again for 30 minutes. Repeat this process for a total of 5 or 6 smoking and resting cycles (or longer, if you want an even deeper smoke flavor).
  2. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Hi Oleg!!
    I'll give it a try:
    The only things I can think of is the 1 to 2 hours setting out uncovered could be just to dry it a little more.
    And the 1 hour to 24 hours uncovered in the fridge could be to try to get somewhat of a Pellicle, before smoking.
    Although it would be nice if they would have mentioned that in their directions.
    The reason for the large Range could be that some Fridges have higher humidity than others, and if it was written properly it might say "for 1 to 24 hours, or until you have a Pellicle".

  3. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I believe those steps, Room temperature for 1-2 hours, then in the refrigerator, uncovered are to help form the Pellical.
    The range being that not all refrigerators are the same, some may dry the fish sooner than others.
    I do a Pellical forming with Salmon, and with bacon's.

    One thing that strikes me as odd is the smoking gun method. Seems to me that if you didn't flip your fish over, how is the bottom side going to get smoke to it?
    In my smokers, which are modified to cold smoke, the smoke is able to get to, probably, 95% of the fleshes surface laying on my mats on my racks.
    But laying in a plastic bag? I fail to see good coverage.

    Edit in:
    I see Bear and I are on the same page with the Pellical.
    Mornin Bear!
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They are trying to form a quick pellicle AND meat USDA Safety Guidelines. USDA allows protein to be at room temperature no more than 2 hours so restaurants can prep, cut and whatever to get ready for service. Then the protein must be cooked or refrigerated until ready to cook. So if it's for supper tonight. Brine 1 hour, counter dry 2 hours and refer another couple hours until pellicle forms. Then Smoke at 36 to 40°F, true Cold Smoking, for 4 hours. If no rush, brine and go in the refer, overnight uncovered, to form pellicle and Cold Smoke...JJ
  5. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Howdy Sonny!
    That could be another one they failed to mention----Flip Fish over each time you fill the Bag with smoke from the Smoking Gun. Seems the Instructions were written in "Shorthand".

  6. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Is that a town in Scotland? :emoji_laughing:
    Made me wonder about the writers actual experience with a Smoking Gun. Or smoking in reality.
  7. Oleg

    Oleg Smoke Blower

    Thank you Bear, Sonny, and Jimmy
    I was thinking about pellical but had my doubts. Cold smoking does not require it. Maybe smoke flavor sticks better but I am not finding much difference. I am just not thrilled about 2hrs. in room temperature. I'd rather keep it 5 more hours in the fridge.
  8. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    If it's for drying & Pellicle, just put it in front of a Fan (running) for a couple hours.
    That should do more than both the 1 to 2 hours on the counter, and the 1 to 24 hours in the fridge.

  9. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't think the two hours at room temperature are necessary.
    When I'm doing meats that need a Pellical (Brined or cured), I tend to pat dry and get into the fridge to let them form the pellical in a cold environment.
    I've done both. But I think the fridge way is a bit more sanitary.
    But that's just me.
  10. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    That's if they have enough room for whatever needs a Pellicle.
    I always used a Fridge, but I had an extra Meat Fridge.
    If they don't have room, a fan for an hour or 2 is good.
    The other thing I've done was put the meat in the Smoker for the first hour or 2 without smoke. Then add the smoke after pellicle has formed.

  11. tropics

    tropics Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Is the Haddock fresh or frozen?