I’ve tried a number of variations, different ingredients and processes (some good, some not so good) when it comes to smoking my fish. I’ve tried the stainless smoke boxes, and had my fish smoked commercially, which is great in large quantities, but you do loose the joy of preparing your own catch.
Most recently I purchased the smoking kit for my Weber Q which showed promise – but I soon realised the temperature you had to have the BBQ at, to get the wood smoking, meant that within 10-15mins the fish was cooked through and effectively drying out. Of course this kit is only for hot smoking and it produced very little smoke.
After a bit more trial and error, and a long stint of just not smoking anything, I’ve now found a solution that works great on my Weber, with the ability to adopt it to a future (soon to come) smokehouse or wine barrel setup (or anything else you build to serve this purpose).
Whilst working on a project with Tony from Smokai, he gave me a Smokai Classic Smoke Generator to try. The Smoke Generator can be used for Cold Smoking or Hot Smoking when paired with a heat source – in this case, my Weber Q. It easily attaches to my Weber (and is compatible with other styles of BBQs) and provides continuous, controllable natural wood smoke.
Smokai products are designed and manufactured in New Zealand, and endorsed by chefs such as Al Brown, and icons such as Josh James, the Kiwi Bushman.
Let’s go over a Classic Kiwi Smoked Fish recipe:
First we will brine the fish, then we will smoke the fish.
You will need the following for your Wet Cure:
- Your fish prepared for smoking. I used a XL Koheru and a Trevally. Both taken on a recent trip to the Mokohinau Islands.
- 1 Litre of water
- 200g Non-iodised Sea Salt
- 100g Soft brown sugar
Note: you can alter this recipe to suit your quantity of fish, just keep the ratios the same. I doubled this as I had a big container to use for the brine.
Now, combine the water, salt and sugar in a saucepan and heat/stir until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Allow this to completely cool.
Next, submerge your fillets in the brine, in a non-reactive container for 45 minutes. Then, remove from the brine and soak in fresh cold water for 15 minutes to remove some of the saltiness and sweeten them a little.
The next step is crucial. Get some paper towels and pat the fillets dry. Make sure you remove as much moisture as you can, then place on a rack, skin side down and put it in the fridge for a few hours. You will find the fish will go tacky – this is what your smoke will stick to.
Before you smoke – bring your fish to room temperature.
When you’re ready fill your smoker with wood chip, I used 3-6mm Manuka, then fire up your smoker. In this case I used the Smokai Classic Smoke Generator with the Weber attachment, then turned my Weber Q to its lowest heat setting. I found by propping the hood open a little with a piece of stainless steel I could get a constant temperature of around 70c.
The smoking temp and times will vary based on your fish, your bbq and your taste. I found 2.5 hours at 70c perfect.
With the smoke taken care of, you can experiment with temp and times.
The result was great, moist, salty, sweet smoked fish. I ate some of it hot and put the rest in the fridge.
Tip from Tony at Smokai – by putting your smoked fish in the fridge for 24 hours you allow the smoke compounds to further permeate the flesh and balance the flavour.
The Smokai unit will now stay on my BBQ and serve as my smoker until I get my wine barrel sorted. When that time comes I will simply move the smoke generator to the barrel, and pair it with a heat source. I will document and share this build.
If you’d like to learn more about the Smokai brand and products, click the button below.
And finally, for those who like to experiment, here’s some optional ingredients for your fish brine, give them a try:
- Bay leaves
- Onion finely chopped
- Dill, fresh or dried
- Black pepper corns crushed
- Garlic crushed
- Chillies fresh or dried
- Fennel seeds crushed
- Star anise
- Ginger fresh
Here are some ideas for utilising your smoked fish – Click here.
Disclaimer: the links in this article to the Smokai website are affiliate links. This means, if you think you’d like to try a Smokai unit for yourself, and click through from this site, EWYK will receive a small % of the sale. This money will go towards funding EWYK community projects and initiatives.