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Smoke flavour


Meat Mopper
Joined Nov 23, 2014
I've just done my first smoked fish (Mackerel) using (Aussie) Hardwood pellets.

Now, as always, I do things first and then read the manual so I'm hoping you all are my manual.

My procedure was thus, I brined the fish in a brine of 11/3 cups of salt and 2/3 cup of brown sugar in 4.55ltrs (1 gal) of water, refrigerated over night, approx. 10 hours. Removed fish from brine and washed in cold water then patted dry. Returned fish to refrigerator and  started smoker (cabinet style). Place fish on top shelf of smoker approx. 1 hour later and set temp to 60 deg. Celsius, (140F). 

I removed fish 7.5 hours later after the amazing smoker ran out of puff.

The result was that I had a somewhat semi dry smoked product that was more than eatable.

As I have eaten far better smoked fish I would like to produce such myself so in saying that can you come to my rescue and tell me where I went wrong and point me in the right direction.

Cheers and thanks from down under. 

hillbilly jim

Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 13, 2015
Internal temp for fish is 145* F. Recommended cabinet temp is 225 to 250, although I like to run mine at 200 to 225. It gives the fish a little more time in the smoke.

I use a Thermpro with a cable probe stuck in the meatiest part of the fish with the alarm set to 150*. I  use a calibratable thermometer to keep tabs on the cabinet temp.

That's my story an' I'm stickin' to it.


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
One of my go to simple easy cures for any fish is a 4:1 Sugar to salt dry brine. I use brown sugar and kosher salt. Depending on how much fish you have you may need to mix more than one batch. In a non-reactive dish (for large batches I use a meat lug) layer the bottom of the dish with brine. Place the fish on top of the brine (if skin is on place skin side down). Cover with brine. Add more fish (skin up if skin is on). Cover with brine, repeat until all fish is in and covered. Place in fridge for 6-8 hours. Remove from fridge, rinse well. Place on drying racks, skin side down if skin is on. Now is the time to season the fish. I like to use spices like garlic powder, ginger, white pepper, black pepper, five spice, dill. After seasoning allow the fish to air dry. To aid in this place the fish in front of a fan. The meat will form a pellicle. It will look shiny, and a bit tacky to the touch. Now's the time to place the fish into the smoker.

I like to use a step method when applying heat. For the first hour I will set the smoker to a temp of 120°f-130°f. After the first hour I bump the temp up to 150°f. I let it ride there for a hour then I up the temp to 180°f. I leave it there until the fish is done. If you go above 180°f you will risk fat out and your fish wont be as moist or tender. As for finish temp it is recommended that 145°f is the finish temp, but I use that as only a guideline. I go by texture and depending on what I am smoking or trying to achieve that varies. Fish jerky I want to be very dry, salmon, tuna etc I like to be moist and tender. Tuna belly I can go either way on. It's good moist, but it also makes a good chewy jerky you can gnaw right off the skin, or eat the skin if you like.

Here's a link to a smoke where I did three different styles in one smoke:


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