Having your own electric smoker opens up a whole world of culinary delights to try at home, and preparing smoked fish is one of the best ways you can put it to use.
The key to smoking the perfect fish is knowing what types of fish are made for this cooking process, and with the right ones in your smoker, you’re half way to achieving perfection.
Which fish are the best to prepare in your smoker then for the tastiest results?
The best types of fish to smoke are traditionally fatty ones like salmon and trout. The higher fat content of these fish means they’re able to ingest the smoke during cooking, giving the perfect flavor and final texture that you’re trying to achieve.
We’re going to look at the five best fish to prepare in your smoker and also show you the ideal way to cook them.
An electric smoker can be used for so much more than just meats, and getting the perfect recipe for smoked fish will put a whole new spin on how you use your favorite cooking accessory.
What Are the Best Fish for Smoking?
The best fish for smoking are those with a higher fat content that allows them to absorb the flavors of smoking but also cook to perfection.
There are five types of fish to choose from when you’re planning on smoking this delicacy, and each one can deliver something completely different in the end result.
Salmon is the most popular fish to enjoy smoked and one that has huge taste and health benefits.
It contains a lot of oil and fat content which makes it perfect for smoking and the final result is a fish that breaks apart with tenderness when you eat it.
People prefer to smoke salmon in smaller fillets for the best results.
Trout is a healthier option than salmon for those who want to keep their weight in mind while smoking and is part of the salmon family.
It’s rich in protein and vitamins, and a larger fish that’s better smoked as a whole rather than in fillets.
Tuna features many healthy fats and is one of the cheaper fillets of fish you can purchase for smoking.
It’s not as fatty as salmon but still has enough oil within to make it ideal for this cooking process.
Seabass is often regarded as one of the most flavorsome types of fish and one with high fat content.
These two features work together to make it perfect for smoking, however, it can be expensive depending on the type.
One of the lesser smoked fish due to its availability, sailfish is a great choice for those who want to venture out and try something new.
These large fish have a high fat content so they’re perfect for smoking if you’re able to get your hands on them.
What Wood Should Be Used to Smoke Fish?
Once you’ve chosen the type of fish you want to smoke, you’ll have to select a wood that’s going to achieve the flavor you want.
Thankfully, most types of wood work well with fish, but the best pairing is something that’s going to give a sweeter taste.
Because fish doesn’t take as long to smoke, you don’t need to worry about harsher woods like mesquite impacting its taste.
Just be sure to keep an eye on the cooking time and don’t let them get overdone.
The most obvious choice for salmon is alder, but any other fruit wood or even oak will do nicely when you’re smoking any type of fish.
Step by Step Guide to Smoking Fish to Perfection
Smoking a fish in your electric smoker is a lot easier than other types of meat and it has a far shorter cooking time as well.
Follow these steps once you’ve chosen your fish and woodchips to cook it to perfection.
- Preheat your smoker and add the desired wood chips for around 45 minutes so they reach the ideal temperature. Set the temperature to between 175 – 200 degrees depending on the size of the fish fillet.
- Brine the fish before you start by making a mixture of 1 tablespoon of salt with a cup of water in a large container. Add any other flavoring you plan on using to the brine, like peppercorns, lemon, or white wine. Place the fish fillet inside and leave it to sit for 15 minutes inside the fridge. When done, rinse under fresh water and dry.
- Add your fish to the middle rack and let it smoke for up to 3 hours. You’ll want the internal meat temperature to reach at least 160 degrees so it’s safe to eat. A standard meat thermometer can do this, so make sure you place it in the thickest part of the fillet. If it’s not thick enough, aim for 3.5 hours per pound of fish that you’re cooking.
Smoked fish a delicacy that can be eaten on its own or added to a range of other foods for flavor.
These are some frequently asked questions about the process and methods of smoking fish so you can be equipped with all of the knowledge before you begin.
Do You Have to Brine Fish Before Smoking?
The purpose of brining fish before smoking it is threefold.
The brine adds flavor to the fish, keeps it moist during cooking, and prevents it from breaking apart during the smoking process so it’s vital no matter how to choose to prepare it.
Can You Cold Smoke Fish?
Depending on your electric smoker, it may be possible to cold smoke fish, but the process takes a lot longer.
Cold smoking is done at temperatures below 80 degrees but is done over a few days, so it’s not ideal for last minute smoking sessions.