Author Topic: Smoking fish without a brine  (Read 2708 times)

Offline Smokeville

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Smoking fish without a brine
« on: August 13, 2011, 04:14:26 pm »
Hello all;

How much salt do you think a standard brine (1 gallon water to 1 cup salt and 1 cup sugar) adds to salmon or trout?

We have a fair number of would-be customers who are on extreme salt-restricted diets, for things like hypertension, etc. Fish, they say, is fine, but smoked fish is out. My first thought is to smoke some salmon and trout without brining first.

Obviously, I can try this and do a taste test, but what are your thoughts? Kummok's brine is superb. Can it be "duplicated" without salt??????

Regards, Rich

Offline moodyfisherman

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Re: Smoking fish without a brine
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011, 03:34:48 pm »
The "first" smoked salmon done by the NW Indians only used sticks to open up the salmon belly flesh and stake next to an alder fire.........no salt and the ate it all winter long. I would use no salt seasoning and sugar as the brine and give it a whirl. ;)... better send me a sample when done to verify its quality though ;D
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Offline Smokeville

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Re: Smoking fish without a brine
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2011, 06:57:40 pm »
Thanks, Moody...

When you say "no salt seasoning," do you have anything specific in mind?

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Smoking fish without a brine
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2011, 02:28:58 am »
If you don't brine, and use low temperatures to fully smoke/cook, you may find that the texture may be too dry and/or stringy to sell it commercially. If you are going without brine, maybe apply the smoke then finish it off at a higher temperature and cook until the fish is done. Such as move it to an oven at 325 - 350°F.

Just recently Cook's Illustrated performed a brine experiment using a low salt substitute that was about 40% potassium. They found the moisture of the meat was the same as if they used regular salt, but a few testers complained of a bitter after taste that is associated with potassium. But extra potassium in a diet with some people taking certain high blood pressure medications can also be an issue.


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Offline Smokeville

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Re: Smoking fish without a brine
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2011, 02:15:28 pm »
Thanks, HS;

I've just cut up 30lbs of Steelhead Trout so I think I'll take a random piece and not brine it in anything. I'll post again on Wednesday after the smoke....

Regards, Rich