Smoking carp revisited

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Original poster
Jun 6, 2021
Newbie here, I've gone through a lot of the old posts and found a couple on smoking carp but they didn't answer my question.

I shoot carp with my bow in NM and have smoked a couple batches and while the flavor is great they aren't as tender as I remember from growing up in WI and getting them from the fish shop in Port Washington.

I did fillets the first time and smoked them to IT of 160 but being thin they got leathery but not bad. I looked for another recipe on line an did another batch in steaks/section about 4" long but that recipe said IT 180 and the fish pulled away from the bones and again got really leathery. I did do them slow as it took 8 hrs to get to 180.

I started to look farther into this and USDA suggests IT of 145 to be safe for fish but all the carp recipes have had much higher temps, am I missing something in regards to carp. I think most of my problems would disappear if I only went to 150, BUT id rather not get sick.

I have a small master built propane smoker and a probe IT temp gauge and another that clips to the meat grill so I can control the temps well. I replaced the little chip box with a cast iron frying pan and can use larger chunk wood and smoke for much longer periods before adding wood. I start out at just over 100 degrees for the first couple hours and gradually go up to 225-250. I do brine them for 12hrs before smoking.

Any thoughts.

First batch at 160 PXL_20210508_191958207.jpg


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Reactions: PolishDeli
They look great, Most times a long smoke will dry them out, Maybe try a hotter temp or lest time. Just a thought.
Personally I wouldn’t eat the carp I used to shoot with a bow. But if I did I would cook them well done then make smoked fish dip with them.
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Reactions: PPG1
Certainly looks good.

I smoke a fair amount of fish but all saltwater,mostly bluefish.
Most of my hot smoked fish are salmon or mackerel.
However, 180°F IT does seem a bit high.

This is the brine i use for smoking fish:

1gal water
600g Salt
100g brown sugar
75g cure#1
Brine the fish for around 5-8 hours.
After brining, rinse well and refrigerate overnight, uncovered, to form a pellicle.
Smoke to IT 150°F - 160°F. Total smoke time should be a few hours. 8hrs is too long.
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Reactions: DanMcG
I just finished another batch and kept the IT down to 160 worked great, I have a couple chunks and a slice of bread for breakfast.
PXL_20210702_214645294 (1).jpg
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I just finished another batch and kept the IT down to 160 worked great, I have a couple chunks and a slice of bread for breakfast.View attachment 504527

Hi there and welcome!

Yeah I think your Initial Temps (IT) were too high. I believe as long as you don't have a parasite issue you can smoke down to 145F and be good to go according to the USDA guidelines.

The meat should be fine, the ski.... no telling it may be a little leather but that's just how skin behaves at lower temps. This is the big chicken/turkey skin conundrum hahaha.

Feel free to try 145F and see if it gets even better, that is the IT I do my hot smoked salmon to and it comes out great! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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