What could be tastier than smoked fish, especially if it was caught with his own hand? It turns out that you can smoke fish at home, in a special smokehouse, which is most often used at the summer cottage because of its size. How to do it right and what is the difference between hot and cold smoking?
What is a smokehouse?
There are 2 options for smoking sheds: these are units for a room that are large in size and allow both hot and cold smoking; and street ones that look so simple that you can even do them yourself. The latter, of course, have reduced functionality - most often only hot smoking is available with them. They work on chips and / or coals, unlike household, which "feed" with environmentally friendly briquettes that do not give foreign odors. But household smokehouse is expensive and not always convenient in a small apartment, while a street box or a barrel is not only a budget option, but also very mobile.
- When hot smoked, the smoke temperature fluctuates within 40-120 degrees, and the product itself is brought to readiness relatively quickly: the process takes no more than 3 hours. At the same time, the density of the product changes - it becomes softer, there is no hard shell. Before the smoking procedure it is not prepared in any way. Storage of finished fish is only 2-3 days.
- Cold smoking involves the processing of smoke, the temperature of which does not exceed 25 degrees (the lower limit is 19 degrees), and for this reason the process is sometimes delayed for several days. But the finished product, which is significantly compacted, can be stored much longer than the one that was processed with hot smoke. But before carrying out this procedure, the product is necessarily impregnated with salt.
The reason why cold-smoked machines are in less demand is their size. According to the technology of such a device, a very large distance is needed between the furnace and the main chamber (in some cases, 7 m).
How to smoke fish in the smokehouse?
First of all, you should choose a good product: the view has almost no effect, so you can use perch and carp as well as the perch, sturgeon, etc., you have caught yourself. It is important to follow only 2 rules: first, the fish must be fresh; secondly, it is impossible to mix products of different sizes. The latter is not a strict prohibition, but if this nuance is violated, what you load into the smokehouse will be prepared unevenly, and by the time the largest fish get the right state, the smallest ones will be burned, especially if you are working with hot smoking. But the most delicious, of course, is a fatty fish, because it does not dry out completely, while maintaining the tenderness of the fibers.
What else needs to be considered so that even the “first pancake” does not turn out to be lumpy?
- Cutting is the most important stage, which affects not only whether you have to mess around with the removal of bones and other inedible elements, but also on taste. Offal often give a tangible bitterness, which is not killed by any marinade or additives to the finished product. The exception is small fish (for example, perches), which are cooked whole, even without cutting off the head.
- Large fish is recommended not only to gut, but also cut along the spine. It is not necessary to remove it, as well as the rib bones and tail, especially since they are often what allows the fish to keep its shape. Also, do not remove the scales, because in the process of smoking on the product is going to soot, which is much easier to remove along with strong scales.
- Despite the fact that according to general technology, salting involves only cold-smoked procedure, professionals advise to conduct such preparation for hot. Rub the gutted carcass with coarse salt, or pour in brine (1 tablespoon salt for 200 ml of water) and leave for 2-3 hours, especially if you eat the dish not immediately after removing it from the grill. At the same time, it can be treated with lemon juice and / or spices.
- How to smoke a fish in hot smoked smokehouse? If the fish was in brine, dry it with paper towels. Warm up the smokehouse up to 65-70 degrees using wood chips (oak or apple will do), place the prepared carcasses on the grill, make sure that they do not touch the walls of the unit. Hold the fish at this temperature for 20 minutes, then copy at 107-110 degrees for another 30 minutes. Before you open the lid, wait for the smoke to stop falling out of the cracks, otherwise there is a high probability of getting burned.
- How much smoke fish in the smokehouse? For large species, the total time is 1.5 hours, while small ones can be prepared in 30-40 minutes. Willingness is determined by the appearance of the product: it must have a reddish-brown hue.
It is worth saying that a similar result can be obtained without a smokehouse, but using live fire. It is necessary to wrap the fish prepared by the same technology in foil, making 3-4 turns around the carcass, and then make several small holes in the foil. Put the fish on the grill and bake in the grill on the embers. And everything, you can regale yourself!