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#12575403 - 01/12/18 10:58 AM Project Smoke
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
I do a lot of curing and smoking of a variety of meats like bacon, hams, and fish. I thought I would share my exact brine and recipe so you can try it yourself. This works well with heavier grain fish like Striper but we will be using catfish for this project.

THE BRINE:

3 quarts of water
1/2 cup kosher salt or sea salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 finely crushed Bay leaves
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon dill

Combine ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer 10 minutes. Pour the brine into a non-metallic bowl. Let cool.




After the brine is room temperature we will add fish. Your fish pieces should be equal in thickness for best results.


The time it takes for the brine to penetrate will vary based on thickness. We check and stir in one hour.(Continued)
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#12575466 - 01/12/18 11:29 AM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
Ok, fast forward one hour. This picture is to show the importance of using same thickness cuts. As the brine penetrates the fillet it will become translucent. The lower part of this fillet is fully penetrated while the upper(thicker) needs a little more time.


This piece is exactly what I want it to look like when it's ready to remove from brine. This piece is bluecat and was soaked 2 hours. Channel cats have a denser grain and will take a bit more time to penetrate same thickness fillets.


Once the fillets have the look of the last photo you will remove and lightly rinse the brine off fillets with cold water. I then pat dry the fillets with paper towels and lay out to dry.

This drying time is called equilibrium time. It allows the brine in the meat to fully and equally distribute itself throughout the fillet. We will allow 6 hours in the refrigerator on a towell-open air. Next step, The Smoker. Continued
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#12575522 - 01/12/18 11:59 AM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
El Gato Azul Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/31/16
Posts: 794
Loc: Lewisville Texas
martini chef grill I’m on me me way...c u at supper time!! bolt
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#12575569 - 01/12/18 12:29 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
SMOKER'S: there are two delineations of smokers, hot and cold smokers. The delineations say it all! For this project we will be cold smoking. Cold smoking uses smoke and no heat. It allows more time for smoke flavor to penetrate the meat but will not cook it. I generally smoke fillets 3-4 hours with no heat. We will cook the final product for about 7 minutes at 350. You may choose to hot smoke on your BBQ pit. It will greatly reduce time but sacrifices much flavor.

Smokers can be made of anything. I started with an old refrigerator and used it for years. I now use an old bread rack from a commercial kitchen for these smaller projects.




Here's yesterday's jerky for Gato sitting next to today's fish.

I'll be back to talk smoker wood in a bit. It's a very important subject if cold smoking. Continued


Edited by Littlefeather (01/12/18 12:33 PM)
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#12575603 - 01/12/18 12:56 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
oakpointaggie Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/02/16
Posts: 158
Looks excellent!

So your saying El Gato will take you fishing for beef jerky?? eek

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#12575605 - 01/12/18 12:57 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
oakpointaggie Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/02/16
Posts: 158
I think I can come up some... haha

Great post though

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#12575771 - 01/12/18 02:51 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
Gato makes me bring the beer and throw the net! Jerkey just smooths the edges!

Ok, we are off and smoking! Wood selection for cold smoking is very important! Hardwoods are generally the only wood used to cook but I choose a white wood for smoking fish and white meat. I almost exclusively use pecan which is second cousin to Hickory. I do not use the wood itself but instead go looking for the rotted pulp wood of former pecan logs. This pulp is super light like balsa when you find the right stuff. You can light the end of a piece and it will smolder but will not light. This equates to smoke but no heat! Here's a picture.




I lightly baste my brined fish fillets with olive oil and introduce to the smoke house.




When smoking, it is important to remember that a light smoke over a long period is much better than rolling heavy smoke for a short period. Heavy smoke will impart a sooty crusty smoke that will be bitter. Take your time and lightly kiss the meat with light smoke for several hours so that it has time to penetrate. Continued
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#12575838 - 01/12/18 03:52 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Ed-n-eddy Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/27/17
Posts: 130
Loc: Bedford (DFW), TX
punk wood, who'd have thunk it?
food
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#12575936 - 01/12/18 05:30 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Poppa P Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 02/12/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Texas, Nevada
This is awesome I'm setting here at work with a little drool running down my chin
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#12575944 - 01/12/18 05:35 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
3 1/2 hours of cold smoke ought to do it for these thin cuts. Now to pat dry any moist spots then get ready for some quick heat.


Perfectly cured!
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#12575981 - 01/12/18 06:08 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
El Gato Azul Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/31/16
Posts: 794
Loc: Lewisville Texas
Littlefeather the Comanche Smoke Shaman!.. here is a picture of Littlefeather after cold smokin all afternoon!
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#12576008 - 01/12/18 06:30 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
I pre heated the oven to 350 then I put fillets in on a cookie sheet and inserted for 7-10 minutes. Here's the final result!


My wife just said she'd throw out lobster to make room for more brined and smoked catfish! The nice thing about fish this way is that you can crush up leftover fillets and mix with cream cheese! Serve with crackers on the next fishing trip. Thanks for tagging along with me on this thread! Good luck on your next fishing trip! Try this brine recipe with or without the smoke. You won't be disappointed! Curtis
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Never let truth stand in the way of a good fish story!

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#12576050 - 01/12/18 06:58 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Poppa P Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 02/12/15
Posts: 129
Loc: Texas, Nevada
Will do, it looks beautiful Man.
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#12576124 - 01/12/18 07:52 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Txmedic033 Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 4605
Loc: Longview, Tx
Want to fish tomorrow? roflmao

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#12576160 - 01/12/18 08:24 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
Lol! Thanks fella's!
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#12576178 - 01/12/18 08:36 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
taterpop Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 879
That sure looked good !!

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#12578059 - 01/14/18 11:29 AM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
serj5150 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 2984
Loc: The Colony,Texas
mmmmmm...Thanks for the post buddy!!! thumb
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#12578347 - 01/14/18 03:15 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
Thanks for the replies! Let's do the left-over cream cheese dip. I will not be giving exact measurements because I believe everyone can please their own pallet with the seasoning you enjoy. I generally start with 2 blocks of cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and chives.

I mix 2 parts cheese to 1 part grated smoked fish. The seasonings are strictly personal choice. Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature or microwave for 20 seconds so it's pliable.

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Never let truth stand in the way of a good fish story!

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#12578356 - 01/14/18 03:21 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
After completing the arduous task of mixing I top with a light sprinkle of paprika and grated dill. I generally advise letting this sit for 24 hours so flavors penetrate but rarely does the mix make it for more than an hour.


Use this dip on saltine crackers if your Redneck side is shining through! I prefer the Melba toast crackers with it but sometime I just spoon it out of the bowl!! This is an awesome snack to have onboard while out replenishing your catfish fillets! If you run out of crackers you might try stuffing some fried shrimp with it! Lol!
Enjoy! CK


Edited by Littlefeather (01/14/18 05:39 PM)
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Never let truth stand in the way of a good fish story!

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#12578469 - 01/14/18 04:18 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
banker-always fishing Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 44363
Loc: Universal City Tx.
Awesome post. Looking MIGHTY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. food
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IGFA World Record Rio Grande Cichlid. Lake Dunlap.

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#12580030 - 01/15/18 04:30 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Rshifflett Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 03/18/16
Posts: 17
wow that looks to good not to try thanks for the post!!!

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#12580090 - 01/15/18 05:05 PM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
serj5150 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 2984
Loc: The Colony,Texas
OOhhh!!! My gosh that looks good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! food
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Visit my Youtube channel if you'd like https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKsHpQ1vQP7HRC_sw0fXopQ?view_as=subscriber

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#12580734 - 01/16/18 07:55 AM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Fishin' Nut Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 6734
Loc: Huntsville, AL
Slow down, Spags can't take notes that fast! grin
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Kirk Long (Kikr) March 4, 1959 - June 19, 2009
I guess the Lord needed a fishing buddy more than me.

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#12580762 - 01/16/18 08:12 AM Re: Project Smoke [Re: Littlefeather]
Littlefeather Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/16/15
Posts: 439
Loc: Brownwood, Texas
I'm glad you guys enjoyed the thread. I wish I could show my other smoke projects but this is the catfish section so they don't qualify! Happy fishing!
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