Using Hondashi as part of a dry brine/cure?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by there4im, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. there4im

    there4im Newbie

    Hi folks.  Brand new to the forum.

    I'm used to smoking salmon with an overnight wet brine, or even making gravlax, but want to branch out.  I've recently been asked to smoke 4 beautiful hand caught lake trout filets.

    I'm seeing a lot online about the advantages of a dry brine.  I'm planning on a 50/50 kosher salt and raw sugar blend for about 6 hrs, 2 hrs pellicle, then smoking in my electric over applewood to an internal temp of 145F.

    But here's the question:  ​Has anyone used Hondashi granules as part of a dry brine/cure?  I want to do one of them with a Japanese flair.  I'm planning on a dry brine with equal parts kombu dust, kosher salt, raw sugar, and Hondashi granules.  I may add a few pinches of granulated garlic and ginger.  I may also lightly paint with soy while smoking.  

    I'd love any advice or reaction (crticism is welcome).  The only thing that I cannot change is the electric which runs at a consistent 225F given a warm day.  Might add ice to the water tub to moderate a bit.
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  2. there4im

    there4im Newbie

    I realize now that 6 hours on a 50/50 may be too salty.  I'm now leaning toward a 3-1 ratio of sugar to salt for about 4 hours.  And will likely go overnight in the fridge for the pellicle.  

    Am I getting closer?  Still would love to hear if anyone has used dashi granules for curing...
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't help with the dashi ,but use frozen water bottles in the smoker you will have less condensation 

  4. there4im

    there4im Newbie

    I wanted to post results because there are some lessons learned.

    The trout turned out fine, and my guests had no complaints.  But to my mind there were ways to improve/not screw up.

    I believe I over-cured.  On a 3:1 sugar:salt ratio I needed to keep the dry brine at 5 hours max.  It went for 9.

    I believe I over-cooked.  My Brinkman runs at 225-230 on a warm day, even with ice in the water pan.  Internal temp on the filets tipped 165F, but was still tender and moist on the thickest bits.  That only took 85 minutes.

    BUT, the Japanese style cure was pretty awesome.  I am planning to repeat with kombu dust, ginger, garlic, and Hondashi dry brine.  Soy/mirin paint while smoking over alder.  No need for added sugar or salt.
    chef jimmyj likes this.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Catching this late but no issue with the Hondashi. I use meat bases in place of added salt in many of my dishes. A couple teaspoons of Chicken Base in place of salt in a pot of Mashed Potatoes gives big flavor and no gravy required. The Hondashi is providing a ton of Umami from natural Glutamic Acid found in Kombu and the I & G Nucleotides from the Bonito Flakes, enhance the effect on taste even more. Point for thinking outside the box...JJ
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A bit late also. My go to fish cure is 4:1 sugar to salt. 6-8 hours rinse form pellicle, smoke.
    Since you mention basting with soy, you will be getting more salt on the back sided so you may want to reduce the salt even more in the cure.
  7. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Never tried Hondashi but sounds like a nice addition. A little fish sauce yes.

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