Author Topic: Hanging a whole fish  (Read 12419 times)

Offline Smokeville

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Hanging a whole fish
« on: January 15, 2011, 08:08:16 AM »
I have been given a wild arctic char by a friend from Yellowknife who came to visit over Christmas. It's been cleaned but it is whole and in the freezer.

As a test -- so I don't ruin a treat -- I've got two whole rainbow trouts that I want to smoke whole. I know they can sit on the racks, but I wondered about hanging them by the tail and doing a long slow smoke. Some comments in other threads seem to have ended in disaster with the fish falling off the hook, but I couldn't tell if they were for fillets or a whole fish. It seems to me a whole fish would have the "structural integrity" to stay together.

Thoughts? They have been brined and are air drying as I write this....

Thanks, Rich

Offline Smokeville

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 03:16:19 PM »
One of the fish did fall off the hook as the guy who cleaned it took off the tail. I'm assuming the tail would have saved the day?

Anyway they are in the smoker and have about an hour left before my wife and I eat them with some St. Andre triple-creamed (brie) cheese......

Rich who is hungry after writing this.

Offline classicrockgriller

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2011, 10:21:43 PM »
Just a thought as I have never "Hung" a fish.

In some post I have seen other use a rack at the bottom of a

hanging smoke to kinda help support it. Hope this helps.

Offline 3rensho

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 11:09:59 PM »
When I smoke whole fish I hang them by the jaw.  I do trout all the time and it works fine.
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Offline Smoking Jim

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2011, 01:09:27 AM »
Hi Smokeville.
I have just smoked 30 rainbow trout 1,5 to 2 lbs this weekend ,i made wire hooks fed then through the mouth and bent at a right  angle pushed through the back bone and the skin just below the neck,worked a treat first lot smoked for 8 hours at 190deg no problems ,used hi mountain fish gourmet brine mix and chery smoke,what a great flavour.
Jim,

Offline Smokeville

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2011, 06:59:06 AM »
I never thought about the mouth/jaw. I'm not sure if the Char has the head on or not as it is wrapped up tight.

The trout I did turned out ok but not dried enough. I didn't smoke them long enough I think.

Rich

Offline RAF128

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2011, 12:15:27 PM »
I've never done it but have seen pictures.    Salmon were split along the back bone and stopped just short of the tail.   They were hung with a fillet on each side of the stick/dowel.   Skin was on.    As long as they're not over done it should hold together.

Offline Smokeville

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2011, 12:22:23 PM »
What got me started on this was a TV episode of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag, where they reviewed "Where People Feast: An Indigenous People’s Cookbook." One of the recipes was for half-smoked salmon which was a two day event over alder wood. Apparently, full-smoked salmon goes 4 days.

The cookbook didn't pass the test but the salmon recipe was by far the best one they tried, and they actually smoked it for 2 full days.

Fun show.

Rich

Offline umbrellalady

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 07:36:14 PM »
Anyone know roughly how long it will take to smoke a couple brown trout that are 2.5kg and 2.65kg - I do them whole?  I prefer them drier.  (Husband caught both within a half-hour of each other - both are 24 in long and master angler's - not bad through a hole in the ice!)

Offline pikeman_95

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 09:02:20 PM »
Well this one that I have some experience with. I was raised at a fish hatchery. And my dad and myself have smoked thousands of fish. The thing is you need to consider the fish you are smoking. Has it been frozen, How much does it weigh and what type of fish is it. Some fish do not have as strong of a bone structure and the will fall off easier. Arctic Char and Rainbow Trout will smoke about the same. I would say if they are over two pounds I would not hang them. Look at Smoker Jims reply and look at the effort that he made to hang the fish. If you loop a hard cotton string around the tail and pull the loop so hard that it just about cuts it's way to the bone they might not fall. You need to start the smoke slow so that they have time to dry out. If you bring them up to heat too fast the flesh will soften and the weight will be only be held by the bone structure and they will likely fall. As far as telling when the moisture is right my dad used to say to squeeze the fleshy part of you palm just under the little finger. The flesh along the fishes back should feel the same. it works quite well. If your fish has been frozen reduce your salt level some because previously frozen flesh will soak up more salt.


KC

Offline Smokeville

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 08:23:58 AM »
Thanks, Pikeman, that's very helpful. The first trout we ate wasn't smoked long enough. The next day I put the other one back in for another 2-3 hours and it came out great. I haven't tried the char yet.

Where was the fish hatchery?

Rich

Offline pikeman_95

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2011, 08:50:51 AM »
I was raised at the Montana state rainbow trout hatchery. We used to also manage some fresh water kokanee lakes in which case we would do some shocking and netting to control populations. These were most of the fish that we smoked. Man those kokanee salmon are good smoked. Rainbow trout and kokanee are both Salmonids so they are treated the same in the smoking venue.
KC

Offline umbrellalady

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 07:40:46 PM »
Thanks for the information, Pikeman_95 - I was especially pleased with the easy test for moistness - a bit different from a steak but same principle. 

The fish is definitely over two pounds - one is 5.8 lbs and the other is 5.5 lbs so I don't know if I will be hanging them but will check Smoker Jim's reply.  I was planning to smoke them whole. They are so long that I guess I will have to cut them up to fit them into the smoker...bummer.

Offline pikeman_95

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Re: Hanging a whole fish
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 08:46:00 PM »
I have seen large chunks of Salmon hung from bacon hooks. They hang the fish chunks sideways and stick the bacon hooks under the spine in several places to carry the weight. I have not done it my self so take your chances. At one time I considered making kind of a stainless cone that would slide up and down a stainless rod that had a hooked end. You could put the fishes head in the cone and adjust it up or down the rod to fit the length of the fish. This way the fish would be held vertical but instead of hanging it would be more or less standing on it's head. you would use a string on the tail to hold it to the rod. you could actually do that in several places.

kc