Smoking fish on your BBQ
There are two ways to prepare fish before smoking; the wet brine method and the dry cure. Both are good and both are widely used. It's personal preference as to which method is employed. Because you have to leave fish in the wet brine for a longer amount of time, a lot of people prefer to use a dry cure where the fish really on has to be left for a couple of hours before smoking.
Here is an idea of how you can use both methods to create perfectly smoked fish on your hooded BBQ or in your portable smoker.
The first is the brining method and here we will use a slab of marlin.
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 cups salt
3 litres of water
Add spices such as cloves, allspice etc if you want.
Mix everything together in a plastic or glass container until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Add the fish fillets and leave in the fridge for 6 hours to overnight. Allow the fish to dry before smoking.
The other way to prepare your fish for the smoker is through a dry cure. Here's how you do it:
Dry cure ingredients:
1.5 cups of soft brown sugar
Half a cup of salt
Mix salt and sugar together and rub into fish fillets. Leave for a couple of hours before wiping the mixture off with a damp cloth. Leave the fish to fully dry before smoking it.
Smoking the fish:
Most people will have some form of equipment at home that will allow them to smoke food. Whether it's a small, portable stainless steel smoker of a gas BBQ with a hood, you can do it easily. An easy way to smoke fish on your gas BBQ is to sprinkle your soaked wood chips into a roasting pan and placing your fish fillets above on a roasting rack that has been lined with tinfoil.
Here we will be hot smoking our fish, which is a very quick method as the fillets are exposed to a lot heat as well as the smoke.
Before you smoke your fish, soak your wood chips (we mainly use manuka) for around half an hour. Then place a couple of handfuls in your smoking dish, ignite the BBQ rails underneath the dish and wait until you see smoke starting to come off them before adding your fish and closing the hood on your BBQ.
Two handfuls of wood chips should burn long enough to cook a whole fillet of kahawai or a slab of marlin or kingfish. I always wait until I see no more smoke coming from the BBQ and then waiting another five minutes before lifting the lid as the residual heat will continue to gently cook the fish. Every BBQ is different however, so it may take some practice before you find the perfect smoking time and amount of wood chips you need to smoke effortlessly on you BBQ.