Smoked Spoonbill

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Oct 26, 2010
Marshall, MO
Well, I had this giant fish to do something with and I personally don't like spoonbill. I had tried everything.
I tried searching my favourite Smoking sites for some ideas and didn't find allot so here is what I did:
Not a whole lot different than Salmon, I brined it for about 36 hours with a strong 2 cups kosher salt and 2 gallons of water, about twice what I brine poultry in, no sugar, just salt to get some of the fatty fishy taste.
I dried it on a rack in the refrigerator over night to form a pelicle (SP, my spell check don't use that word??).
I smoked it for about 4 1/2 hrs at 175-200 deg. until it was 150* internal temp on the largest chunk (chunks were about 2x3x4" thick). I used cherry for the smoke.
I came out pretty darn good, except I could still taste fish long after I ate it (kinda ick) but by far the best way I have eaten this fish.
My brine bucket, cookie rack, refrigerator, tongs, spatulas and anything else that fish touched smelled like fish after washing until I bleached it (no kidding). Then it about ruined my UDS, I had to burn my coals up till the temp hit 350* then scrubbed the crap out of the racks to get the smell out of it before I could do some chicken tonight.
Overall, real pain in the butt, but it was really good for the most part.
If you like spoonbill and haven't had it smoked then your in for a treat.

On the smoker:

Off the smoker:

I won't make myself such a stranger, but I've been looking and cooking, just been lazy with the camera.

See Ya,
nice looking fish bet it was tasty
Sounds like you did a pretty good job on that fish to me.

I am not familiar with a spoonbill. I googled it and is it a paddle fish? spoonbill catfish?

I have cooked some fish that folks said were bony, oily and terrible tasting, mainly to see what could be done.

I found you can overcome both of those attributes and end up with some pretty good tasting, easy to eat fish.

My solution was, when you catch the fish, tie a line thru it's gill plate while alive, cut the gills (both sides) and put back in the water. Their pumping heart replaces all the blood with water. That is the first step to get rid of soured blood taste.

Second, skin the fish and scrape all the fat off of the meat. Remove the innards. Smoke and cook whole. Bones and all. Wrap in foil to finish to keep moist.Adding bacon, butter, onions and garlic helps.  When done, the meat comes right off of the bones. The meat is sweet, delicious and not oily. Could be the bacon, butter etc..
........Whatever works.

Where there is a will, there is a way to make everything taste good.  
It sure looked good coming out of the smoker, but that's one fish I don't think I would want to eat. I guess you really have to know how to cook them.
Good job!!  I had to google it, too! - We don't have those crazy looking fish up in our parts!   DaveOmak -" Adding bacon, butter, onions and garlic helps" there's some words to live by.  Thanks for all the other great advice, too. If I have a fish question, I think I'll be coming to you.    Cheers! to you both
Well, Spoonbill are all cartilage, no bones just the head, fins and the spinal column have the cartilage, the fillets are all meat, no rib bones etc. Smooth skin like a catfish.
Bleeding them out through the gills like that sounds interesting. The way we do it is get them hung up as soon as we can after fishing then cut around the base of the tail and pull the spinal cord out (kinda creepy to me) and all the blood drains out.
They are VERY oil fish lots of fat layered in the meat. They also have allot of red meat on the skin side of the meat that I cut off and throw away, I wonder if the gill trick might get rid of some of that?? That would be great, because there is quite a bit of waste getting the red meat off.
Smoking it defiantly made it more edible to me. Some people (My dad and brother) RAVE over it, I LOVE fish, but these things are a whole different animal.
That looks good...

Also looks like someone has been down to Bagnell doing some snagging...LOL is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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