Michigan Sportsman Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,440 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished my first batch of smoked salmon. The brine I used tastes good, but there is an overbearing flavor of charcoal.

My (borrowed) smoker is a charcoal burner. Next time Im thinking of burning straight wood chunks for fuel... Possibly hickory?

Is this the best way to smoke fish with a charcoal smoker? Wood instead of charcoal? Or maybe some combination of both?

Thanks!

JB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,787 Posts
Myself, I get the best smoke with saw dust. Takes a lot of saving though. If your not smoking too much and depending of your smoker I'd try the Smoke House brand made for Little Chief smokers. Apple and Alder work really well on fish. It comes in bags of shavings and the amount of burn/smoke is pretty easy to control.

How much flavor your fish will end up having has a great deal to do with your smoke time and tempurature. If your smoker temp is below 150 your fish will cook much slower get a heavier smoked flavor than at say 190 or 200 and the smoke has a better chance to get into the meat. You can just light a few charcoals or lump oak (use less of this than you would charcoal as it burns hotter) and place a small pile of shavings on top to smother the amount of heat put out by the coals. The more you open your intake or smoker door/top, the greater chance you'll have with flare ups. If your coals seem to burn down too soon just add a few more and when they get going add a little more shavings on top to keep the flare ups down. Eventually you'll get the hang of it and your smokes will get better as you learn your smoker.

Depending on your method and recipe, a couple hours should do it. Then you can go to straight coals to finish cooking the fish if it isnt done yet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
Forget the charcoal. Get a cheap electric hot plate. Put a small pan on it to hold your chips or dust. Regulate the heat down until it is smoking but not a lot of heat. Watch for garage sales or Salvation Army or used stores, they are pretty inexpensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,728 Posts
Get a cheap electric hot plate. Put a small pan on it to hold your chips or dust. Regulate the heat down until it is smoking but not a lot of heat.
Under $10 at many local neighborhood hardware stores. Don't even have to go to a big box store for something like these hotplates.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,294 Posts
Two things, though.

1. My firebox is offset. I don't think this would be an issue either way.
2. Most importantly, the coals must have stopped giving off their bluish smoke before I put ANYTHING over them. They must be pretty much white, but at the very least, they have to have burned off their smoke. That's likely where you'd be getting the sooty charcoal taste.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
i use a charcoal smoker for my fish as well, the biggest thing to remember is that the charcoal must be all ashy in color, no black showing or very little.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
931 Posts
I smoke mine on a charcoal grill. I found it best to let the charcoal burn with an open grill for a while until the exterior is all ash and no longer smoking. Then I directly add my wood chunks (small logs, 6-8 inch long, of apple I get off my tree) to the coals. Next, I play the watching game to get the temperature down to around 180 degrees F. When it hits 180, I then add the fish and control the vents until I can get a constant temp around 180.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top