Many who said they didn’t like bluefish quickly changed their minds after tasting this recipe!
This has been a great year for bluefish in many areas and one way of enjoying them is to throw them on the smoker. They are a good candidate for smoking because of the oil content in the flesh which really enhances the smoking process. This beer brine recipe gives a delicious malty and yeasty flavor that really is quite tasty.
So to get started. Prepare the brine with the following ingredients:
One 12-ounce dark style beer
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup kosher salt
1 lemon sliced
½ onion chopped
One tablespoon of black pepper
3 cups of water
Now mix all the ingredients into a large pot and add about 3- to 4-pounds of bluefish fillets with the skin left on. It can be s done with the skin removed but I find that it holds together better if the skin is left intact. Next place in refrigerator for about four hours or overnight and stir occasionally.
Next remove fillets from brine and give a quick rinse and pat dry. Place back in fridge on a rack to dry for a few hours. This creates a tackiness (pellicle) that will allow the smoke to stick to fish.
It’s time to heat up the smoker with the wood chips of your choice and add the bluefish. Smoke for about two hours at about 225 degrees, then lower temperature to about 150 and smoke another hour or so. The fillets should have a deep smoky look to them but still have some moisture in the middle. You can now remove them and cool in fridge.
I like to seal the finished product in Ziploc bags so they can be kept in your refrigerator ready to eat or even make a smoked fish salad with mayo and chopped celery on toast with tartar sauce. I’ve had friends that normally were not crazy about eating bluefish quickly change their tune after tasting this. They were pleasantly surprised and asking me when I would be smoking another batch!