Discussion in 'Fish' started by jonboat, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    When I was a kid, we'd spend summers at my grandparent's place at the lake. Many nights we'd sit up late, fishing for the carp that would come in to get the duck feed that the ducks missed. It was a blast to fight these big fish on our little Zebco 202 fishing combos, and we always released them. One night, my grandfather came out when he heard the commotion of one of us catching a carp, and said we ought to smoke up a couple of them (he had a full size smoke-house out back.

    Well, I'm thinking "does this mean we're going to eat carp?" Indeed that is exactly what it meant. I was a little grossed out, since I had always heard them called trash-fish and bottom feeders - not exactly appetizing. The end result, however, was quite nice - I was pleasantly surprised.

    Here's how we prepared and smoked them...

    First, we cleaned them - head-off, and entrails removed. Then using a hatchet, he cut them in half along the backbone. Just like fillets with the bone still in.

    Brine... Poppy (my grandfather) brought out a big crockery basin, and started layering with canning salt, then fish, then canning salt then fish.
    He told us that the carp make their own brine, all we need to do is add salt.

    The next day, he rinsed off the fish pieces and put them on racks in the smokehouse. Next he fired up the little firebox in the back, burning hardwoods (not sure what kind). He let the smoke house go, adding wood as needed for about 24 hours.

    When he finally opened it up, the fish was cooked, and partially dried, and nicely smokey. The end result was something close to cooked smoked ham. We used it as an appetizer on crackers and everybody loved it.

    Just thought I'd share a bit of something different that was apparently pretty common with past generations. My sister wants me to do a carp for her. Not sure my ECB can compete with Poppy's smokehouse, but will probably give it a go before the summer is over.
  2. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Jonboat,

         Tanks for the post. It sounds like a lot of really special memories of a different time. I was surprised to see that you guys in NY ate Carp. I didn't realize they were in the North. I grew up in the South (Eastern NC) and if it hadn't been for Carp and Catfish ....... and a few other critters, some of which we hunted at night, I wouldn't have grown up. Your post brought back a lot of memories for me as well. We ate Carp and enjoyed it ..... we really didn't know any better. I have to say I don't especially enjoy it now but again, that was a different time. 
  3. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    I hear ya! We have lots of carp, in fact there is an international carp tournament held in the Syracuse area every year. I think it was last weekend.

    I probably would have still grown up without eating lots of things we hooked or shot, but the variety of tastes we experienced when spending time with my grandparents was something that many don't get to experience these days. I'm sure helped out a ton with the grocery bill too.

    Smelt and goose/duck breasts smoke up nicely too!!

    Lots of great memories, for sure.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012

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