The Best Way to Smoke Seafood

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Where there is smoke, there is flavour. Smoking seafood at home may seem daunting, but it is no more difficult than grilling. Check out these tips for perfectly smoked fish!

Start with Brining

Before smoking fish fillets, the first thing you need to do is brine them in a non-reactive dish (stainless steel, ceramic or glass) for anywhere between 6 and 10 hours. Brining your seafood before smoking keeps it from drying out. Soaking the fish in a brine of water, salt, and sugar will also infuse it with rich flavour and texture.

Rinse and Dry

Remove your fish fillets from the brine once they are completely soaked. Next, run them under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. If you want to season your seafood with a spice rub, brush it with olive oil or melted butter, then sprinkle the dry rub once it has dried.

TIME TO SMOKE

Smoker Instructions

  1. Preheat your smoker to 175°C to 200°C and add smoker chips. 
  2. Remember to grease the grate before placing the fish to prevent it from sticking. Alternatively, place the fish on a greased sheet of aluminium or a wood plank. Soak the fish in water for at least 1 hour before smoking it on a wood plank.
  3. Place the fish in the smoker when it is hot enough. Smoke for 2-3 hours.

Charcoal Grill Instructions

  1. Soak the smoker chips in water for 30 minutes before cooking. Soak the fish in water for at least 1 hour before smoking it on a wood plank.
  2. Pile coals on one side of the grill and light it. This will produce an indirect heat zone on the other side of the grill, where the fish will cook. Add the wood chips once the coals are hot.
  3. Place the fish on the grill in a lightly greased grill basket or on a cedar grilling plank. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes with the lid vent open over the fish—the cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish.

Smoked Trout Recipe

  1. Mix 1-quart water, 1/2 cup garlic salt, 1/2 cup kosher salt, and 1/2 cup white sugar to make the brine. Lay the trout fillets in the mixture in a non-reactive dish. Cover the lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (6 to 10 hours if you use a smoker.)
  2. Take the trout fillets out of the brine, rinse, and pat dry with a paper towel. If you will smoke the fish on the grill, put it in a lightly greased grill basket or on a cedar plank.
  3. Preheat the smoker/grill and proceed with the smoking instructions listed above.
  4. Remove from heat and serve.

Cajun Smoked Salmon Recipe

  1. Mix 1-quart water, 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup light brown sugar to make the brine. Lay the salmon fillets in the mixture in a non-reactive dish. Cover the lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (6 to 10 hours if you use a smoker.)
  2. Take the salmon fillets out of the brine, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  3. Combine the following dry rub ingredients in a small bowl: 3 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp dried thyme, 1/2 tbsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper.
  4. Brush the fillets with 3 tbsp melted butter, then sprinkle with the spice rub and lay them on a cedar plank.
  5. Preheat the smoker/grill and proceed with the smoking instructions listed above.
  6. Remove from heat and serve.

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