Discussion in 'Fish' started by smokeydobee, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. smokeydobee

    smokeydobee Newbie

    I like my smoked fish to be somewhat salty all the way through, and have also had smoked fish that tasted smokey all the way through.. when I smoke fish it tends to be salty and smokey on the outside only and the smoke on the outside being too intense ... same thing on pork and other meats as well ... how do I get a better penetration of smoke without it being overwhelming on the outside and also how to get the brine to absorb deeper so that I have a saltier flavor through out? Length of time in brine doesnt seem to be having any effect on it. Thanks in advance!
  2. tailgatingpirate

    tailgatingpirate Fire Starter

    smoke overwhelming? arounious
  3. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    First off... I wonder about the "too intense" thing... is it creosote and not thin blue? What does the smoke look like while you are smoking? I see from your past posts there has been some issues with the Brinkmann. Fire troubles, etc. And the cold smoking question. You cannot cold smoke by merely closing off incoming air to choke the fire, it will produce high creosote levels that way. Sounds to me that this is what may need to be addressed before any brine or rub troubles.

    Any other thoughts from you folks?
  4. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Arounious whutious? Mulberry Bushious? [​IMG]
  5. meowey

    meowey Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Are you trying to hot smoke, or cold smoke your fish? I have limited experience with fish. If you are trying to cold smoke, then a fire in an offset smoker might give you a too intense flavor if you are trying to keep temps down by closing all the vents and causing a creosote laced smoke to develop. For a cold smoke in an offset you could try a cast iron pan on a hot plate in the side firebox to generate smoke. Leave the top vent open and the intake vents at about 50%. (I'm taking a WAG here - Hopefully someone else with experience can jump in here and help. You might PM Salmonclubber - he does a lot of fish)

    Hope this helps.

    Take care, have fun, and do good!


  6. smokeydobee

    smokeydobee Newbie

    No I am not cold smoking and my vents are never closed. The smoke coming out is thin blue , it just seems that yes it is a creosote type flavor even though the vents are open, Im using a brinkmann offset smoker - maybe it needs some mods? Baffles? The intake vent is almost always at the very least half open and the outlet chimney is 3/4 open to wide open.
  7. meowey

    meowey Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like your vents are fine. My only other thought would be, what are you burning? Charcoal, wood, combo charcoal/wood. Is the wood seasoned? You can get a "creosotey" (if that's a word) taste when burning unseasoned wood. Perhaps try a smaller, hotter fire.

    Hope this helps!

    Anyone else have any ideas??

    Take care, have fun, and do good!


  8. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    I've only done salmon but I would suspect most fish would be the same.

    Are you burning all wood or charcoal and wood? What kind of wood? I don't like mequite on fish it's to ... harsh? for lack of a better word. Overpowering maybe?

    Are you getting a smooth air flow? Sometime the smoke can get stuck and stale and that could taste ecky. I'm leaning towards green wood or stale smoke due to low temps or poor air flow.
  9. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I have a couple of questions for you. Some say that they are "Smoking" fish, when what they are really doing is just running a pan of smoke against it and then completing the actual cooking by another method, such as frying, broiling, BBQ etc. Then, of course, there is what is normally termed "Smoking fish", where you smoke and cook at the same time and continue the process until the fish is actually ready to eat. I presume this is what you are doing. Let me know for sure. Your answer could alter our suggestions.

    I also see that many use the same method for virtually every kind of fish. This gives mediocre results much of the time. Just as beef and pork "CAN" be cooked the same way, almost all fish "CAN, as well. But, just as in meats, you are usually happier if you use a method that is proven for each specific fish. That goes for brine composition, brine times, as well as cooking or smoking method.

    Also, some Smoke fish at fairly high temps. They get a thick slab of Salmon done in just a couple hours brcause they have their temps way up. Well, it may end up kinda smokey, but I think they just cooked it, not smoked it.

    Salmon wrote the book on the old saying "Low & Slow". Salmon should be smoked at a fairly low temp. If 'cold' smoking you should be at 90F to 110F. If 'hot' smoking, most people I know like to stay between 140F to 150F. Try PMing with 'Salmonclubber'. He is a fishing machine and smokes every type of fish and wild game you can imagine. He brines a little differently than I do, but he will confirm and share info on temps and times.

    A Salmon of normal thickness will take from 3 to 7 hours to smoke, low and slow, at 140F to 150F. Much of the difference in times is due to the outside temp, thickness of the fish, amount of moisture that was leached out during the brining process etc. There is no set rule. Just like meat, it is done when it is done.

    The problem is that most smokers are not meant to run at this low temp. Therefore they do not make good Salmon Smoker.

    Everyone here has asked some very good questions and given you very good advice. I agree, I think the vents are OK. I also agree that some woods are too strong for Salmon. They may not be bitter when on a nice cut of beef or slab of pork, but thay can be on fish. I would suggest Alder. It is the most commonly used throughout the nation, for Salmon. I would also mess around with your smoker temps. Try to get down to that preferred range. My new GOSM verticle couldn't do it, so I had to buy an inline needle valve that gave me better adjustments. I can now successfully smoke Salmon, yet get high temps when I need them. There is info here on the valve and if you can't find it, PM me and I will help you.

    Many of us have multiple smokers. Some are just better for one thing than some of the others. As a last resort you may consider buying a cheap electric Leur Jensen Smoker. They were developed out here in the Pacific NW, specificly for Salmon. $65-$75 new and at garage sales for next to nothing sometimes.

    Sorry for the long rambling post, but wanted to share a little of what I have learned smoking fish. Hope it helps

  10. smokeydobee

    smokeydobee Newbie


    No the long post was fine, I am hot smoking as I stated earlier. Generally at around the 225 -240 range though and you seem to think maybe lower and slower. Green wood is a possibility - I am using some pear that fell in an ice storm earlier this year and dont know how well it was seasoned before the guy gave it to me. Several have mentioned Salmonclubber and pming with him.. where can he be found and at what hours of the day. I really like smoked fish and it is disappointing to have spent the time catching them and working towards some fine eating just to have it turn out "ok" at best. Thanks for all the pointers and I will try to find this Salmonclubber.

  11. smokeydobee

    smokeydobee Newbie

    Oh by the way I am using charcoal and wood as fuel. I forgot that question.

  12. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    I do cold smokes all the time with charcoal either in my ECB or my Smoke Vault. Just get 3 or 4 coals going and lay a chunk of wood on top. Depending on the temperatures outside you may need a few more coals. Once I establish the temperature I want I add little trails or coals to the outside of the hot ones so they catch on fire just a few at a time and add more wood chunks in between. This is a sort of sideways minion method for cold smoking and it works great for salmon, bacon, cheese or whatever. Keep the coals just far enough away so they don't touch but whe the coals burn down they light the next row of coals. If they fail to light just shove them a little closer with your tongs or a stick.

    It looks something like this:
  13. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    No sweat. I will point him your way. Salmon is one of the easiest things you will ever do. You just need a little pointer here and there. We will get you going. I am also going to send you a couple links for some very good info. I got your PM and so stay in touch and let me know if you hook up with Huey and if you get my information.

  14. salmonclubber

    salmonclubber Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i got your pm and the info given here is all good skip is right on and deb is got lots of good info for getting low temps with charcoal someone mentioned using a hot plate this is a great idea i have used a hot plate for smoking fish for years i put a cast iron pot on it and filled the pot with alder chunks it works great i think you will like the rock salt recipe i gave you for your salty taste i think that because you are hot smoking your fish the smoke does not have time to penitrate before the fish gets cooked
  15. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Right On! And Ken, this was my point. I think you are "Cooking" your fish, nor "Smoking" it. You need to get down to those "Low & Slow" temps, I mentioned earlier. And, for whatever you do, make sure you are using DRY wood (preferrable Alder) not fresh or partially cured wood.

    The low and slow temps along with dry Alder will give the smoke time to penetrate and you will find yourself "Smoking" your fish over several hours. NOT "Cooking" it in a short time, with bitter results.

    My e-mail is in my profile. Feel free to use it if you have more questions. And, let me know if you got the links I sent.

    I talked with Huey. He said he had contact with you. You are in good hands.


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