Smoked Cod?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by socalq, May 8, 2013.

  1. Smoked cod, when you can buy it, is ridiculously expensive here in SoCal.

    Does anyone have a good recipe so I can try smoking some cod filets myself?

  2. mlrtime

    mlrtime Fire Starter

    I see you are on the left coast, do you mean black cod or do you want findan haddie?
  3. No clue!  LOL!  I picked up some frozen cod filets at Costco and all the package says is "Wild Alaskan Cod." Does that help...?
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would make sure I hot smoked Cod to a safe internal temp. Cod seems to be the fish that comes up most, when you do a "fish parasites" search.

    Personally I do that with all fish.

  5. These are frozen filets from Costco. I was intending to defrost and then shoot for an IT of about 140. Sound OK?
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    140 is okay for the cod fillets. The freezing will have taken care of the bugs. I use the same brine I use on salmon. You don't need to smoke it long. Cod has very little fat and will get bitter if your over smoke it. Also use a mild fruit wood.
  7. dirtsailor: What's your brine recipe?   Thanks!
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    140 should be OK.

    Found this for you:

    What happens if you eat a cod worm? If it's dead, which it's bound to be if you cooked your fish to opaque state (or 140F), nothing at all happens. Even if you prefer your fish cooked a little less (120-130F) like I do, the odds of you eating a live worm are very slim. It would have to be a really hardy worm to survive those temperatures. If you are serving fish raw, and one of those guys manages to stay intact after you sliced the fish, and makes it all the way to your tummy intact, you are in trouble. Your stomach will eventually kill them, but since they originate in seals, they can get quite comfy in any mammal including us humans making the experience extremely unpleasant. As Dr. Palm puts it, “It is better not to eat them alive.”

  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There are several that I use. Here is a simple brine solution:

    1 gallon water
    ½ cup sea salt (non-iodized)
    ½ cup brown sugar
    ½ cup honey
    1 tbsp tarragon
    1 tsp garlic powder

    Combine all ingredients in a non-metallic container, dissolve well. Place fish in the brine for 5-8 hours. Remove fish rinse, place on racks in fridge to dry and form pellicle.

    You can add other spices to suit your taste.

    Here is a dry brine that I use:

    2 cups brown sugar
    1/3 cup salt
    1 tbsp onion salt
    1 tbsp garlic salt
    1 tbsp celery salt
    1 tbsp black pepper
    1 tbsp white pepper
    1 tbsp dried hot mustard
    1 tbsp dried lemon peel
    1 tbsp dill weed

    Rub the fillets completely with the mixture. If doing large batches place rub on bottom of non-metallic container then place in one layer of fillets, cover fillets with more rub, place next layer of fillets on top, repeat. Brine for 12-24 hours. Remove from brine and rinse, place on racks in fridge to dry and form pellicle.

    Once again you can adjust the spices, but keep the salt to sugar ratio. Normally I use a 4:1 sugar to salt ratio for salmon, but for fish like cod I use less salt. Once again there is not enough fat to absorb the flavor. Since your cod fillets will not have skin on them,you will want to spray the smoking racks with non-stick spray.
  10. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I tend to always dry brine my fish these days with a 3:2 mix of Sugar:Salt. As cod has such a delicate flavour I try not try to mask it with flavours other than the smoke. Though for Salmon I will usually add chopped fresh fennel leaves/seed or tarragon to the dry brine.

    Cover with the dry brine mix for 2 hours (yes only 2 hours), wash well in cold water under a running tap, pat dry and then chill in the fridge for 2 hours before cold smoking. I usually leave it in the smoker overnight (6-7 hours) ensuring the temperature does not go above 12C 50F.

    At this point the smoked fish can be finally cooked and eaten or it can be frozen for later use.

    To cook (if the fish has been frozen ensure that it is completely thawed) bake in the oven or on the BBQ at 180C 350F for 12 minutes - no longer.

    I will be doing a batch of mixed fish tonight and will take some photos for a Qvision.
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  11. mlrtime

    mlrtime Fire Starter

    damn seals, I sell fish and our cod has more worms than ever before.  our ancestors kept them in check which resulted in substantial catches of target species.  At certain times of the year I can't even eat local cod, it has so many worms.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That sucks!!!

    I guess you're stuck with Lobster!

  13. esquared13

    esquared13 Newbie

    Do you put any liquid in the smoker while it's cooking? What type of chips would you recommend?
  14. I did not use any liquid, and the result was that the fish was a bit dry. Next time I'll try it with some sort of liquid in the water bowl.

    I don't remember which wood I used, but it was of the more mild variety (cherry or apple, I think). I didn't want the smoke to overpower the fish. Even though the fish was a bit dry, it was VERY tasty.
  15. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    I've smoked salmon a couple times and I would guess cod would be similar. I usually smoke for 1.5 to 2 hours with alder. Then we jar it with a water bath to finish the cooking. It is very moist when done. We did 45 quart jars last year. What a lot of work but is so worth it in the end

    Water bath canning is not safe for any non acid food... fish is in that category.... DaveOmak
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2013
  16. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Jason,  A pressure canner is required for processing fish. The high temperatures reached under pressure are necessary destroy C bot spores and ensure a safe product.  A water bath cannot reach the required temperature to destroy the spores(240°).

  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Tom is right on the money.... killing botulism spores takes 240-250 degrees for 15-20 minutes....  water bath canning is not safe....   

    Controlling botulism....

    For those of you processing fish, this is an important read...

    And this article speaks of botulism..... Good stuff to know....

    Safe practices for cold smoked fish.....

    File these for "later reference" so you can access them....  children and older folks are more susceptible to food borne pathogens than us "middle aged" folks whom are really healthy... (or so we hope)....  think about who is going to eat your food before you  prepare it.... 

    Some may think "because I've dome it this way for years, and nothing has happened", that is a reason to continue old habits.....

    On this forum, we try to continue a dialog of practicing "safe food practices" regardless of time proven "safe" recipes that may have flaws in their methods....   We are not the food police.....  just concerned that some "updating" may be in order to help keep your food safe...

  18. I smoked some cod a month or so ago (just before I joined SMF), at the request of my boss - who was used to buying it at local delis.  He mentioned he didn't see it very often any more.  I told him, if I could find the right fish, I would certainly smoke a batch for him.

    I did some research on the "right" kind of cod, and found that "true cod" or sablefish was what I was looking for, but black cod would work too.  All of my readings indicated that one should use only fresh cod, if hot smoking was the cooking method - frozen would yield a drier finished product, due to the moisture loss during freezing.  Whole Foods had cod only sporatically, but Santa Monica Seafood had it regularly - and it was on 'sale' the week I bought it.  $14.99/lb  *gasp*

    The filets were fairly thin, only a scant 3/4" at the thickest point, so I needed to be careful about how long I was going to brine the fish.  I brined overnight, about 8 hours.  I can't track down the brine recipe I used, but I know I opted to cut back on the salt (I used fine sea salt), bringing it in line with the sugar (white).  I added peppercorns, lemon zest, fresh ginger and a few bay leaves to the other ingredients.  Pulled from brine, dried with paper towels and set on racks in front of a fan for several hours.

    All of my reading indicated it may take up to 6 hours for the filets to come up to temperature.  My total cook/smoke time was 4.5 hours.  I started at 100 for an hour, bumped to 120 for 2 hours, 160 for the remainder of the time.  I did this before I had a AMNPS to supplement the smoke at the low temps, so I didn't get any smoke until after the first hour.  Used a probe thermometer to keep tabs on the IT.  I used applewood chips.

    I did notice a couple of "hitchhikers" tried to escape during the cooking, but didn't make it through the higher temps.  Thankfully, I am not squeamish and I just removed them.

    I let the pieces cool and then vacuum-packed them for distribution.

    I did try a piece.  It was tasty, but a little 'fishy' for my liking, and thankfully not too dry - even the very thin tapered ends.  Lightly smoked.  I prefer smoked salmon.  My boss was very pleased and very appreciative.  He did mention he remembered the stuff from the delis was always yellow-colored - not from the smoke, but more from a coloring - saffron, maybe tumeric?

    Side note:  Although it was smoked outside, it was brought inside to cool, and it made the house smell fishy.  Odd.

    Good luck!
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well said, Dave!

    Good links too, and a good one on freezing fish to eliminate parasites before smoking.

  20. akdutchguy

    akdutchguy Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the correction. We did indeed pressure can them. I had a lapse of genius and wrote water bath. I'm blaming the wife because she was talking about bath time for the kids.

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