As we speak, I’m throwing some salmon steaks in to broil. Good eating! Firstly, you have some of your best protein in the form of seafood or freshwater fish. The meat is high protein, packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, and it supplies forms of essential nutrients that are very beneficial in strengthening your cognitive abilities and preventing things such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In a wilderness environment, you can easily erect a three-posted tepee out of green wood, and a “platform” of green sticks on which to smoke your fish, or you can skewer them on a pole and dry them out over an open fire. This video gives great instructional information on how to smoke using this method. Without refrigeration, you want to eat those within 24 hours. In this article, we’re going to deal with more conventional methods, as they are more readily available and simpler to use.
You can smoke with an oven, but the preferred method is with a barbecue grill (Brinkman being the best kind, as it has multiple levels). Take your charcoal down to gray coals, and above this place a pan of wood chips that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes. Hickory and mesquite chips are good for this. The object is to make smoke with the chips, and not fire. You should smoke the fish for about 30 minutes, and make sure the edges of the grill don’t allow the smoke to escape.
For the fish, after they’re cleaned, gutted, and scaled, season them down. I prefer Old Bay seasoning for all my fish, but you can use lemon, pepper, and natural hickory smoke flavor. Make sure your rack of fish is close to the smoking wood chips…just over top of it for maximum output. Remember: you’re smoking it hot, not “cold smoking” it, which is not cooking it. When you’re finished, you want to refrigerate the fish.
Hot smoking by this method cooks the fish, and the smoke flavors the meat. This is not to be confused with dehydrating, which is not the same as dehydrating meat such as beef into jerky. There are many stove top-type smokers up there that can be used on the kitchen stove. Just be sure to provide plenty of ventilation when you use it: you should have a good exhaust fan with your stove.
Smoking can also help your meat to last longer should you decide to freeze the fish after you’re done. In the end, you’ll come out with a good piece of meat that has been cooked without any added oils or breading…high protein and healthier for you. Try it out. Bass and crappie are in season, and flounder are running now on the East Coast. Smoke some, and get some good quality protein and practice for when you’re next in the woods and land that trout. JJ out!