Cold and hot smoking of fish at home - recipes with and without a smokehouse

Smoking fish at home is a completely solvable task. And it doesn’t matter whether you have a smokehouse or not. Today I will give recipes on how to make amazing hot and cold smoked fish, in different ways, in nature and without leaving home.

This, by the way, will be a good alternative to kebabs, both meat and chicken, which we traditionally cook at a picnic.

In the article you will find:

  • What kind of fish can be taken for hot smoking.
  • How to salt and prepare fish for smoking.
  • Rules for determining the freshness of fish.
  • How to cook hot smoked pike perch.
  • The process of smoking fish.
  • Hot smoked crucian carp - a classic recipe.
  • Cold smoked mackerel in a smokehouse with a smoke generator - step-by-step recipe with photos.
  • How to cook smoked fish without a smoker at home on the stove.
  • Bonus - smoked fish in a slow cooker.
  • Hot smoked fish at home - in the oven (video).

We will start with hot smoking in a special device - a smokehouse. It is very similar to a barbecue, the only difference is that the hot sawdust is located at the bottom of the smokehouse. Heating comes, of course, from fire, or rather from smoldering coals.

And here, as in many recipes, there are some nuances. The fish must be well salted beforehand.

What kind of fish can be taken for hot smoking

Almost any. Since I myself am an avid fisherman, I mainly smoke what I catch myself - pike, bream, pike perch, perch and even ruff. If there is no catch, or we just went out into nature or to the country, we simply buy noble fish in the store: salmon, salmon, mackerel and smoke it with the same success.

How to salt and prepare fish for smoking

First, the fish must be caught yourself (just kidding...). If we are talking about fresh fish, of course it should be gutted and washed. If we buy fish in a supermarket, it will already be a finished product and we won’t have to bother with gutting it. Be sure to buy only chilled fish, not frozen.

Rules for determining fish freshness

  • The fish's eyes should be clear (like those of a teetotaler...), and not cloudy.
  • The gills have a bright red tint.
  • The scales fit tightly to the body.
  • When you press on the pulp, it quickly recovers.
  • And of course, the smell. It should be pleasant (although the smell of fish...).

All! Caught or bought, prepared. Let's begin the smoking process itself.

There is such a nuance here. I will talk about smoking recipes with pre-salting. Of course, when fishing, when in the evening you already want to try smoked “fresh” food, everything is prepared without prior salting. Although if you spend two or three days fishing with bait, and enough fish are caught, of course you can’t do without processing. And when the fish is well salted, it turns out much tastier.

Smoking fish - how to cook hot smoked pike perch

Take the carcass and rub it with salt. I usually take the large sea fish - it’s healthier and the salting goes faster.

Here you can give one piece of advice before smoking - it is advisable to remove the gills of pike perch, because everything that is harmful and unclean accumulates in this place.

You can add other favorite spices to taste, for example, a little ground black pepper. I’m not a fan, since such bright flavor accents overwhelm the taste of smoked fish. We leave the carcasses in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning I rinse them well under running cold water.

Now we hang our pike perch in a dry, ventilated place. All moisture should evaporate.

Fish smoking process

The smokehouse, wood chips and other necessary parts should already be ready by this time. We hang pike perch carcasses in the smokehouse. I have a camp smoker (perhaps most people do too...), where the fish is placed on racks, usually there are two of them. On the lower one I put larger carcasses, and on the upper one you can also put ruffs with holes.

We light a fire and level the wood chips in a special compartment. Don't forget to install a drip tray for fat and excess juice (if you have one...). The smoking process takes approximately 40 minutes, if the carcasses are large - 50 minutes. The main secret is that the fire should not burn too intensely.

I check the acceptable temperature this way: drop a drop of water on the lid of the smokehouse. It should not evaporate with a loud hiss. In order to somehow regulate the intensity of the smoking temperature, rake the coals in time and monitor the process.

How to smoke fish in a hot smoker

The recipe for how to smoke fish in a hot smoker will require the following ingredients:

  • fish (mackerel) – 3-4 carcasses;
  • salt;
  • ground black pepper.

How to properly smoke hot smoked fish - step by step recipe:

  1. Prepare store-bought mackerel for the process: defrost naturally inside the refrigerator, rinse, and dry. Carcasses need to be salted and seasoned before being sent to the equipment.
  2. Pour slightly damp sawdust inside the device; you will need about 3 handfuls of it. Deciduous trees are ideal for mackerel.
  3. Place the product on the grill. Make sure that the carcasses do not touch each other.
  4. Close the device with a lid and place on a medium flame, leave for 10 minutes.
  5. Lift the shutter to release the smoke. This measure will help avoid the appearance of bitterness in the product.
  6. Lower the lid again and smoke the fish for another 20 minutes.
  7. Let the finished mackerel cool a little, it will be tastier.

Hot smoked crucian carp - classic recipe

This fish turns out great only if you know some subtleties. Crucian carp meat has a rather specific taste and so that there is no grassy taste left, the fish must be poured with brine. But there is nothing complicated about it.

The crucian carp needs to be gutted without cutting the belly all the way. We leave literally a couple of centimeters under the head. This is necessary so that it does not fall off the hook if the fish is suspended, for the reason that the structure and bones of crucian carp are rather weak and will not withstand their weight during heat treatment.

We leave the head, scales and fins. Based on this, it is important to use more salt for impregnation.

Prepare the brine - 6 tbsp. spoons of salt per 3 liters of water. Bring to a boil. Pour the cooled liquid over the crucian carcasses, previously rubbed with salt inside and out.

Leave the fish in the brine for 4 hours. After this, we take out the crucian carp and blot them a little with water. We hang them in a dry place. After a couple of hours, put them in the smoker and cook as usual. Believe me, the taste of such fish will be different and not for the worse.

How to properly smoke fish in a cold smoker

For a recipe on how to cold smoke fish, you will need:

  • chum salmon – 5 kg;
  • salt – 1.3 kg;
  • spices - to taste.

Smoking fish in a cold smokehouse - recipe step by step:

  1. Prepare the carcasses: rinse, remove scales, remove entrails, dry or wet salt. Chum salmon must be marinated in brine for 12 hours. After salting, cut each fish lengthwise in the ridge area, rinse and dry a little.
  2. Hang the fish ready for smoking evenly in the smoking cabinet.
  3. Pour sawdust into the firebox of the device. If the smokehouse is electric, set the temperature to 28 degrees.
  4. The smoking process can last from 2 to 4 days. Its duration depends on the size of the fish.

Detailed photos and video recipes will tell you how to pickle mackerel at home, and you will also learn everything about the beneficial properties of this fish.

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Cold smoked mackerel in a smokehouse with a smoke generator - step-by-step recipe with photos

An equally tasty dish is cold smoked fish. You can prepare it using a smoke generator, which is designed specifically for this purpose and, of course, is commercially available.

The main difference in preparing fish by cold smoking is the longer salting time. The fact is that the temperature will be lower, so we need to protect ourselves from all kinds of parasites. Rub the carcasses with plenty of salt and place them in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Do not forget to periodically pour out the released juice and fat.

After this time, the fish must be hung in a ventilated place. The street or balcony is best suited.

I do this - I hang the mackerel and cover it with thin, clean gauze on top. This is necessary to protect against flies and other insects.

We hang the fish in the smokehouse or place it on grills.

Now we take several types of wood chips - alder, apple wood. We fall asleep in the smoke generator.

Close the smoke generator lid.

We ignite sawdust in the generator.

Smoke came out of the device's outlet. We insert the hose, one end into it, the other into the fitting in the body of the smokehouse itself with the laid or suspended fish.

There is also a so-called “inlet” in the smoke generator; we insert a hose with an air compressor there to create a draft for supplying smoke to the smokehouse.

All! The process has begun.

The temperature in the smokehouse should not exceed 37 degrees. How to monitor this is individual. depending on the smokehouse.

Tip: You can monitor the temperature using an electronic thermometer by inserting a remote sensor inside. But you can regulate the heat supply itself, perhaps lengthening or shortening the hose itself from the generator to the smokehouse.

The cooking time is quite long - from 8 hours. My fish was ready within 9. After the process is completed, I also hang the carcasses in the open air so that the smoked aroma is evenly distributed throughout the fish. And, of course, at this time the too strong smoked smell goes away.

The taste of such fish cannot be compared with anything. With hot potatoes, fresh green onions. Dill, parsley. I'm guessing your mouth is watering? Do not deprive yourself and your loved ones of such culinary pleasure. Cook for joy, and the process of smoking fish is interesting and creative. There is a reason for flight of thought.

How to smoke fish in a smokehouse

An important aspect when preparing smoked fish is the choice of type. Fatty varieties of river and sea fish will be suitable for preparing in this way:

  • salmon (trout, salmon);
  • sturgeon;
  • mackerel;
  • tuna;
  • perch;
  • carp;
  • zander;
  • tench.

To prepare a delicious dish, you need to properly prepare the carcasses:

  1. Be sure to rinse the fish to remove all dirt and foreign odors. If the fish are large, clean them by removing the insides and head. Small fish do not need to be processed in this way.
  2. Salting fish is allowed in 2 methods: wet and dry. The first salting option involves preparing a water-salt marinade, the second involves rubbing coarse salt on each carcass. It is not recommended to marinate with iodized seasoning - a specific, unpleasant taste and aroma may appear.
  3. Before sending it inside the device, you should dry the fish a little by hanging it on hooks.

There are a few important tips you need to know to create a good tasting smoked fish:

  • Do not use sawdust from coniferous trees for cooking to avoid bitterness.
  • Try to choose carcasses of a similar size, place them loosely so that the fish do not touch.
  • Make sure that oxygen does not penetrate into the device.
  • Take special care when preparing eel. The blood of this variety is very poisonous, so it takes a little longer to cook.
  • Place water near homemade or purchased equipment to ensure safety in case of fire.

How long does it take to smoke fish?

There are different types of smoking:

  • Hot involves manufacturing the product at a temperature above 70 degrees. It is important how long to smoke fish in a hot smoker. The fish pulp is ready in 40-50 minutes.
  • Cold involves heating to 28-50 degrees. Fish can take 2 or more days to prepare. But such a product will be stored for a long time.

How to cook smoked fish without a smoker at home on the stove

Until I purchased a smoker, I tried many recipes for “smoked” fish. Several can be called very successful. Of course, this is not exactly the taste that is obtained on the fire in a smokehouse, but as an option - why not?

Let's take the ingredients for smoking fish:

  • Mackerel or other fish – three carcasses
  • Water – one liter
  • Salt - three tbsp. spoons
  • Sugar – 1.5 tbsp. spoons.
  • Large handful of onion peels
  • A small pinch of black tea.

Let's start, as always, with fish. We gut it, if necessary, and wash it. I also like to cook mackerel because this unpleasant procedure does not require much effort.

Put water on the fire. As soon as it starts to boil, add sugar, salt, tea and onion skins. Let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour the prepared fish with cooled brine and leave for 3 days.

After which we take out the carcasses, blot the moisture and hang them in a dry place. It is necessary to lay something underneath, since the fish gives off juice quite intensively.

Bonus – smoking fish in a slow cooker

I also tried smoking fish in a slow cooker. As soon as my wife purchased this device, I began experimenting. One day I was left at home alone, but I was terribly hungry and my hands were itching to try out the new device to the fullest. Then I simply cut meat, onions, potatoes into a bowl, added hot tomato sauce, salt, spices and set the stew mode. I didn’t expect it to turn out so delicious (that was a lyrical digression...)!

After that, I began to look and try many other recipes for this device.

Let's return to our sheep (that is, fish). In this smoking method I will use a little liquid smoke. Of course, this product is not particularly useful, but sometimes it is possible. By the way, a new multicooker model with a smoking function was recently released. Alas, I don’t have it, so we’ll smoke the fish like this:

Rub the fish with a good pinch of salt and ground black pepper. If you don't like it, don't add pepper. In this particular cooking method, I like to add different spices.

Take 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke (tablespoons). Gently rub the mackerel. You can let the fish soak for literally half an hour.

Place the mackerel in a baking bag and seal well. Set the steaming rack, put the bag of fish there, and then turn on the baking mode for 30 minutes.

Naturally, the fish will only look like smoked; this is not natural smoking of fish. However, it is also very tasty. Especially in combination with crumbly potatoes, pickled cucumbers and a glass of cold foam (non-alcoholic, we are for a healthy lifestyle).

How to smoke fish in a hot smoker

Beginners will be interested in knowing how to smoke hot smoked fish using a smokehouse. Hot smoking means treatment with high temperature smoke. The technology is based on short salting time and short smoking in very hot smoke with a temperature of over 100 degrees. The smoking time is no more than 3 hours, sometimes less, depending on the thickness of the carcass and its fat content. The finished product has an appetizing taste and color - both smoked and baked. It doesn't last long, but is eaten immediately.

The main stages of smoking are:

  • prepare the fish - clean, remove the gills, rinse, marinate with a solution or salt by rubbing;
  • after washing comes drying;
  • baking;
  • actual smoking.

For a large carcass, the salting time is increased - up to 12 hours, and to prevent it from falling into pieces during processing, it is additionally tied with twine. It is not forbidden to add spices: pepper, dill, herbs, fennel, cumin, especially when making mackerel. In addition to the smokehouse, you can use the oven of a gas stove - the temperature there can reach 90 degrees, and the duration can last several hours.

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How to smoke fish in a smokehouse

An important point on how to properly smoke fish in a smokehouse is the choice of wood fuel. This can be firewood, shavings, sawdust obtained from deciduous trees without resin. Birch is not suitable for a smoking recipe, but there is an option to prepare a dish using beech, hornbeam, maple, alder, poplar, ash, and apple. At home, it is possible to replace the shavings with gas and electricity, but the resulting product will differ in organoleptic properties.

Firewood for the smokehouse should be taken dry - with a humidity of no more than 25%; if it is over 50%, the product will be unattractive in appearance, the taste will be bitter and tarry. At higher humidity, the product cannot be smoked - it will turn out boiled and become an unpleasant dark color. It is better to choose firewood than sawdust because it produces more smoke, and this is an important component of the success of hot smoked fish.

It is important to monitor the density of the smoke - if it is thick, the fish will become dull, dark brown in color, with a sour-bitter taste. If the smoke density is low, the product will not be smoked to a golden color; it will have a weak aroma. The amount of firewood required for the technology depends on the duration of cooking - a minimum layer of 4-6 cm is needed, which will be maintained throughout the entire production.

What kind of fish in a smokehouse will be delicious?

When asking how to smoke fish in a hot smoker to make it tasty, you need to take into account the breeds:

  • whitefish, grayling, carp, trout, pike, eel are suitable - but their strong taste should be softened with seasonings;
  • local reservoirs will produce large perch, pike perch, bersh, sterlet, sturgeon, bream, asp, sabrefish, crucian carp;
  • Unfrozen fatty species will be tasty: capelin, mackerel, halibut, horse mackerel, catfish, flounder, silver carp, catfish, burbot.
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How long does it take to smoke fish?

Lovers of delicious homemade dishes will be interested in how long to smoke fish in a hot smoker. The time will depend on the fat content of the carcass, the selected firewood and tools. A stationary large outdoor smokehouse requires a cooking time of up to 12 hours, and small portable barbecues can smoke the product from 20 minutes to several hours. The fattier the meat, the longer it will take to cook.

This time does not take into account the duration of salting, which must be carried out to enhance the taste of the dish. Small fish are salted in brine for 1 day, large fish - up to 3 days, if you take frozen material, then it needs to be thawed in salt water - this process lasts up to 4 days. It is up to the cook to decide whether to salt or simply marinate the carcass. After salting, the meat is dried for 60 minutes, washed for the same amount of time if the carcass is large (mackerel) and a few minutes for small ones.

The hot smoking itself lasts half an hour to an hour for small ones, from 1.5 to 3 hours for large ones. You can tell that the meat is ready by the golden tea color of the scales and dry surface. The maximum storage time for the finished recipe is 3 days without refrigeration, but if you prepare it in small quantities, the carcasses will be eaten by household members and guests in a matter of minutes. It is better to eat the finished dish right away, while it is fragrant and soft.

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