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Smoking Brine (smoked fish to die for)

2 Quarts of water
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of apple juice
½ cup of non-iodized salt
1 cup of soy sauce
¾ level teaspoon of fresh black pepper
¼ teaspoon of onion salt
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of Lawry's seasoning salt
4-5 heavy glurps of Tabasco sauce

Brine fish for 6-8 hours (thin chunks or average filets) and 10-12 hours or maybe even more for whole fish while in the refridgerator. Remove the fish from the brine and place on your smoking racks with air circulating around them. You want the fish to glaze over if at all possible.

This brine makes enough to cure 12-15 three pound trout or salmon.

Always smoke the fillets skin side down and leave adequate room between fish pieces to allow air to circulate in the smoker.

Suggest smoking with a sweet apple wood or Alder wood for best flavor (no bark). Do not over-smoke and the smoking should actually be done in the first hour or less. Set your smoker at 200 degrees and try 2 hours smoking time initially so that the internal temperature of the fish reaches a minimum of 160 degrees for 30 minutes to kill off any nasty parasites. has some good info regarding the proper smoking of fish to insure safety for human consumption.
Glad you liked it Marge. The first time that I used this I was living out in Montana near Canyon Ferry lake. We were catching all sorts of 3-4# rainbows and it worked superb on them. Have since tried it on northern, white bass, cisco, trout, cats, bullheads and salmon. (bullheads are particularly good using this brine as are cisco).

A fellow out there gave me the recipe. One of the very best smoking brines that I have ever tasted.
Glad to hear that some of you folks have enjoyed this recipe. Wish I could claim that I stumbled upon the brine concoction myself, but I cannot. The man that gave it to me is long dead and to be quite honest, I cannot remember the man's name.

There are a couple of really, really good smoke houses along Lake Michigan here (Fiali's, Smith Bros and the Wharf) and this brine will compare favorably to any of their recipe's in a smoke-off.

Will post any other good recipe's that I lay my hands on, but I rarely visit the forum here. It is simply the nature of the beast. Rest assured that when I do post any recipe's they will be prize-winners Smiler I'm a pretty picky guy about my eats....
gpalma, this sounds good! I just got done cleaning 12 Tullibes (Cisco's) and want to try it. However, after clicking on the Oregon State link you provided, I am wondering about the amount of salt you used and what the article says about, "bring fish to 160 degrees for a full 30 minutes", where your pics showed you smoked to 145 degrees? Gotta check a little more. Write if you read this and let me know if I'm paranoid or just trying to be safe. Thanks, Roy.
I'm doing a slab of salmon right now. I don't do a "wet brine" any longer.. rather, I'm doing a dry brine. Why? Part of why if brine is to remove excess water before I smoke.. didn't make a ton of sense to me to add water and make a solution. Smiler My basic recipe is two parts of sugar (brown/white/or mixture of the two) and one part of sea/kosher salt.. not rocket science. Add a bit of soy or teriyaki and put it in a glass baking dish. I also add to the mix a sprinkle of garlic salt and onion powder.. not much. Place in the dish, cover with wrap and put in fridg for a good long overnight.. about 12 hours. Remove and rinse well, pat dry with paper towels, put on a stainless cookie rack and turn a small fan on low to get the air to circulate around it and form the pellicle quicker.. then on to the smoker.

Just another twist on the process.

I'm with Smokenque except for the milk thingy...

I started a job in northern Manitoba back in 85 and discovered our fisheries people held a fish party every year for the last 12 years. Their fish brine was similar to the dry rub above and it worked with every fish species.

Most brining only takes 3 - 4 hours but big salmon slabs might take 6 hours. Overnite would take too much juice out of the fish making it hard.

The interesting part is that the brine is started off dry but after a few hours it has turned to a gummy paste with the extracted moisture. When ready the fish should feel firm but not hard.

From a handwritten recipe sheet from 1985 here are some guidelines I use with excellent results every single time. Golden yellow sugar and a non-iodized salt are used with a few spices - usually 1 Tbs each of allspice, garlic powder and nutmeg.

Trout/Char slabs - 3 sugar, 1 salt & spices
Brine 5 hrs, smoke 6

Small trout - 3 sugar, 1 salt & spices
Brine 3-4 hrs, smoke 5

Tulibee, Pike & Goldeye - 2 sugar, 1 salt & spices
Brine 12 hrs, smoke 8 - 10
Pike brine 5, smoke 6

Hmm, think I'll do a couple Rainbows tomorrow...

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