Undoubtedly, smoked fish has been a delicacy for centuries. Back in the day, individuals used smoking for preparation and preservation. Now, there is a wide range of mouthwatering smoked fish dishes that help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, if you plan to smoke fish, there are a few things to note. The final taste of smoked fish highly depends on the type of fish and the method of smoking. We all know that there are numerous types of fish to prepare through smoking. Also, there are two primary smoking techniques of smoking; hot smoking and cold smoking. So, you have to source the best local fish for smoking. But how do you do this?
If you plan to prepare your fish through smoking, you have to select high-fat content. Typically, fish with the fattest content is often found in cold water. Some of these fish include salmon, tuna, bluefish, bass, trout, and mullet. When you smoke such fish, the fat and oils in them contribute to a crunchy texture. Simply put, the interior gets flaky, and the outer surface gets crispy. This effect only happens when you smoke fatty fish. And this contributes to the tastiness of the fish. Even so, don’t get it twisted. Most fish with a lot of fats are healthy because they have unsaturated fat, which benefits your health.
Consider salmon: One of the best local fish you can get for your smokery is salmon. Not only does this fish have a lot of unsaturated fat, but it also is rich in protein. Salmon is also suitable for improving your overall health by reducing your chances of getting high blood pressure and heart diseases. One of the main advantages of smoking salmon is that this technique does not interfere with omega-3 fatty acids’ content. An alternative to salmon would be trout. But note that you can smoke almost any type of fish. However, in general, fatty fish would be tastier when smoked. When it comes to smoking fish, there are very few limitations. Additionally, you can always smoke the whole fish or sections of the fish. It all depends on your preference.
As seen earlier, there are two major types of smoking fish. The first one is cold smoking. Cold smoking is often considered more challenging than hot smoking. Therefore, it requires some level of expertise and background knowledge. Cold smoking uses low temperatures for smoking. Hence, it might not eliminate all bacteria present in the fish. Thus, you have to use the right equipment and know-how to conduct this procedure.
If you have the right fish, hot smoking should not be a problem. This technique is much simpler and delivers excellent outcomes. However, this process is much slower and requires you to be patient. Typically, when hot smoking fish, you need to set a temperature of 90F for the first two hours. Afterward, increase the temperature to 160F for the next hour. You can eat the fish immediately or store it in the fridge for at least 24 hours to give it a ‘smokier’ taste.
You can serve smoked fish with a wide range of side dishes at the end of the day. Not to mention, smoked salmon can get used to preparing a broad spectrum of mouthwatering dishes. All you need to do is be creative. Smoked salmon can be a healthy meal or snack that keeps your weight on track. Feel free to look up all these recipes online or through cookbooks from famous chefs.
Even though the type of fish mostly determines the result, you have to use the right smoking temperatures to produce a fantastic outcome. Seafood experts recommend maintaining a temperature of about 150 F / 65 in the first two hours or one hour of smoking. Then, increase the temperatures to approximately 200F in the next hours. You have to make sure that the fish gets heated evenly to avoid burned or cold spots.
More often than not, smoking fish requires you to incorporate high smoking temperatures and an extended smoking period. Even though most people report that smoking does not tamper with the nutritional quantity of food, it can sometimes be harmful. What happens is that smoking releases nitrites and nitrates, which lead to the production of a dangerous chemical compound that increases the risk of getting cancer.
When sourcing the best local fish for your smokery, it is essential to know one thing. It would be best if you always chose fish that have a lot of fat content. Smoking makes such fish crispy and crunchy, hence making them even tastier. So, conduct your research on the best fish that are ideal for smoking. Some of these fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, and mullet, among others.