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- Culinary Arts & Cooking Techniques
Minnesota Cooking: Smoked Fish Such as Carp
Smoking Fish Requires a Little Preparation
Fish requires a soak in a salted brine before it is smoked. Usually, a heavy concentration of salt is mixed with water and the fish is left in the brine for 10 hours or more.
Soy sauce and brown sugar are popular extras added to the brine. When the fish has soaked for the req'uired period of time, it is placed on a rack in a special smoking grill called a smoker. The temperature of the smoker is lower than a normal grill and the heat slowly penetrates the salt infused flesh and slowly dehydrates the fish and imparts a ham-like flavor and smell to the meat.
After the fish cooks in the smoker for a while, it is tested for done with a fork. If the meat flakes, it's ready.
It is quite a treat!
Local Fish are Good to Smoke
The skin is left on, and the fish is left to smoke skin side down. This keeps the fish from falling apart as it flakes.
The skin is discarded when the fish is ready to be eaten. It peels easily once cooled. In Minnesota, many fresh water fish are available. All are good to smoke. We have tried carp, walleye, northern pike, crappies, sunfish and an occasional bullhead. All good.
Soaking Brine and Smoking Add Ons
First you have your soaking brine. Should be enough salt in it to float an egg. Then, after your meat has soaked, it is dried off and placed directly on the smoker rack. We usually sprinkle brown sugar, peppercorns and onion slices on our fish.
Those ingredients enhance the flavor of the fish. You can make up your own extra ingredients, or leave them off.
My son smoked this piece of carp. I have not smoked any fish for a few years now. The flavor is like ham, but fish flavored. Salty. The texture is usually firm.