Cooking Your Catch: Smoking

The tenth installment of our Cooking Your Catch series is about smoking your fish.

To smoke fish keep the heat low and constant.  Different types of smoking equipment may be used (i.e. electric, gas, or manufactured smoker).

An easy home method is to place an electric hot plate at the bottom of any hooded barbecue.  Place a small iron skillet containing hickory chips on top of hot plate.

Hickory chips may be soaked in water for a short time, if desired, and replenished as needed.

The use of charcoal briquettes is a less desirable method of smoking since the heat produced by briquettes is not consistent.

Cooking times vary with weather, intensity of heat, amount of moisture in chips, type of grill, distance from heat and size of fish.


6 dressed fish or 5-10 pounds fish fillets or chunks at least 3-4 inches thick; 1 gallon water; 1/2 cup salt; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 3-4 cloves; 2 large garlic cloves, pressed; 1 medium lemon, thinly sliced.

Clean and was fish.  Add salt, sugar, cloves, garlic and lemon to water.  Stir until dissolved.  Place fish in brine and let stand for 8 hours.  Remove fish from brine.  Drain.  Brush with oil.  Place fish on well-greased grill about 4 inches from heat.  Cover and smoke 1.5 to 2 hours.


1.25 cups flaked smoked fish; 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish; 1/2 medium bell pepper; 1 whole green onion; 2 hard-cooked eggs; dash liquid hot pepper sauce.

Blend cream cheese, lemon juice and relish in blender or food processor for a few seconds.  Add bell pepper, onion, eggs and liquid hot pepper sauce and blend additional few seconds.  Add fish last and blend long enough to combine all ingredients.