Author Topic: Internal temp for smoking fish  (Read 35190 times)

Offline nodak

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Internal temp for smoking fish
« on: January 01, 2012, 10:00:32 AM »
Is there a Internal temperature to shoot for when smoking salmon??

Thanks
Nodak

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 10:10:09 AM »
Not really. It sort of is done when its done. You want to get it to about the dryness you desire. I like mine a little dryer but my brother made some awhile ago and didn't make it as dry and I really liked it. You have to go to your personal liking. Some like it closer to loks and some like it drier.
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Offline pmmpete

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2012, 06:20:04 PM »
How much to dry your fish while smoking it is a matter of personal preference.  However, the internal temperature which your fish reaches while smoking it is important for the safety of the fish, and should not be a matter of personal preference.  Food preservation experts recommend that you always heat smoked fish to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F for at least thirty minutes in order to kill the bacteria which can cause botulism and other food poisoning. 

University extension services are a good source of information about the proper way to smoke fish.  If you Google "smoking fish extension service," you'll find a lot of useful and credible information.  An example of the information you'll find is Smoking Fish at Home - Safely, by K.S. Hilderbrand, Pacific Northwest Extension Publication #238, which is available at http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/cepublications/pnw238/pnw238.pdf .

Food preservation experts say that producing safe smoked fish requires three things: (a) salting or brining the fish long enough to ensure that adequate salt is present in the smoked fish, (b) heating the fish to a 160 degree internal temperature for at least 30 minutes, and (c) refrigerating and/or freezing the fish after it has been smoked.  Because fish of different thicknesses, different oiliness, and with and without skin will absorb salt at different rates, you can't determine whether a piece of fish has adequate salt content to preserve it without chemical analysis.  As a result, the only way to ensure that your smoked fish is safe is by bringing the fish to an internal temperature which is high enough to kill the bacteria which cause botulism and other food poisoning, and by refrigerating the fish after it is smoked.  Unless the fillets being smoked are quite thin, the air temperature in your smoker will need to be higher than 160 degrees to produce an internal temperature of 160 degrees in the fish in a reasonable amount of time.  If your smoker can't produce high enough air temperatures to produce an internal temperature of 160 degrees in your fish, you should finish the fish off in an oven after smoking it.

I've noticed a lot of postings in this forum in which people say that they feel that a smoker temperature or an internal temperature which is much lower than a 160 degree F internal temperature is sufficient for smoking fish.  Food preservation experts don't agree with those opinions.

Some trial and error is required to learn how to produce fish which has what you regard as the perfect degree of dryness and a nice flaky texture, without developing "curds" from getting the fish too hot before it has dried out sufficiently, but while reaching a 160 degree internal temperature for at least half an hour during the smoking process.  This typically involves beginning the smoking process at a moderate smoker temperature such as 140 degrees, and then as the fish starts getting as dry as you like, increasing the smoker temperature to a level which will get the fish up to a 160 degree internal temperature for half an hour before the fish gets too dry.  You'll need to try various combinations of time and temperature.  I have a lousy memory, so I keep notes about what I did and how it turned out.  You can pretty quickly figure out a good procedure for a particular kind and size of fish, but may need a quite different procedure for a different kind of fish.  For example, the last fillets I smoked were pretty large and thick lake trout fillets, which aren't particularly oily.  I'm currently smoking a batch of kokanee salmon fillets, which are little thin oily fillets, and require quite different times and temperatures.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 01:07:48 PM by pmmpete »

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2012, 06:39:41 PM »
I wonder what they have to say about Lox's?
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Offline tsquared

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 09:34:22 PM »
Quarlow--all the lox testers are dead--unless you drink copious amounts of vodka, which kills the bacteria.  ;)

T2

Offline Quarlow

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2012, 11:23:55 PM »
Wwell that works for me.  ;) ;)
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Offline zueth

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 08:03:35 PM »
How much to dry your fish while smoking it is a matter of personal preference.  However, the internal temperature which your fish reaches while smoking it is important for the safety of the fish, and should not be a matter of personal preference.  Food preservation experts recommend that you always heat smoked fish to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F for at least thirty minutes in order to kill the bacteria which can cause botulism and other food poisoning. 

University extension services are a good source of information about the proper way to smoke fish.  If you Google "smoking fish extension service," you'll find a lot of useful and credible information.  An example of the information you'll find is Smoking Fish at Home - Safely, by K.S. Hilderbrand, Pacific Northwest Extension Publication #238, which is available at http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/cepublications/pnw238/pnw238.pdf .

Food preservation experts say that producing safe smoked fish requires three things: (a) salting or brining the fish long enough to ensure that adequate salt is present in the smoked fish, (b) heating the fish to a 160 degree internal temperature for at least 30 minutes, and (c) refrigerating and/or freezing the fish after it has been smoked.  Because fish of different thicknesses, different oiliness, and with and without skin will absorb salt at different rates, you can't determine whether a piece of fish has adequate salt content to preserve it without chemical analysis.  As a result, the only way to ensure that your smoked fish is safe is by bringing the fish to an internal temperature which is high enough to kill the bacteria which cause botulism and other food poisoning, and by refrigerating the fish after it is smoked.  Unless the fillets being smoked are quite thin, the air temperature in your smoker will need to be higher than 160 degrees to produce an internal temperature of 160 degrees in the fish in a reasonable amount of time.  If your smoker can't produce high enough air temperatures to produce an internal temperature of 160 degrees in your fish, you should finish the fish off in an oven after smoking it.

I've noticed a lot of postings in this forum in which people say that they feel that a smoker temperature or an internal temperature which is much lower than a 160 degree F internal temperature is sufficient for smoking fish.  Food preservation experts don't agree with those opinions.

Some trial and error is required to learn how to produce fish which has what you regard as the perfect degree of dryness and a nice flaky texture, without developing "curds" from getting the fish too hot before it has dried out sufficiently, but while reaching a 160 degree internal temperature for at least half an hour during the smoking process.  This typically involves beginning the smoking process at a moderate smoker temperature such as 140 degrees, and then as the fish starts getting as dry as you like, increasing the smoker temperature to a level which will get the fish up to a 160 degree internal temperature for half an hour before the fish gets too dry.  You'll need to try various combinations of time and temperature.  I have a lousy memory, so I keep notes about what I did and how it turned out.  You can pretty quickly figure out a good procedure for a particular kind and size of fish, but may need a quite different procedure for a different kind of fish.  For example, the last fillets I smoked were pretty large and thick lake trout fillets, which aren't particularly oily.  I'm currently smoking a batch of kokanee salmon fillets, which are little thin oily fillets, and require quite different times and temperatures.

Personally I would never take salmon to 160, it would dry and tough.  I normally shoot for about 130, but go mostly by look at taste of course.

Offline Waltz

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Re: Internal temp for smoking fish
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 06:52:36 AM »
I regularly make gravlax, which is not cooked at all but only preserved using salt and sugar and other herbs and spices and eaten raw. It looks like the statement about taking fish to an IT of 160F is to make allowance for the possibility that the fish may not be cured with sufficient salt.
Here is a link to a fish research site in Scotland about making kippers which states they should not be taken above 30C (about 85F).
http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/tan/x5925e/x5925e01.htm#Making%20kipper%20fillets
A lot of fish is cold-smoked and then cooked afterwards so I suppose it depends what you want to do with it.