Mike Hehner shares with you his preferred 1/3’s method for brining and smoking whitefish. This method can also apply for any other fish suitable for smoking such as ciscos and trout. Before you begin there are a few things you will need in order to make smoked whitefish. The first is a 6 gallon bucket that is clean. A 3 pound bag of canning and pickling salt and of course you will need some whitefish.
There are a few different ways to prepare your whitefish for smoking them. Some anglers will fillet them, but I preferred to leave them whole and use a Bubba Blade to just remove the head and gut the fish. I feel like this keeps more moister in the meat and the fish meat doesn’t dry out as much.
To start the brine you’ll want to add two gallons of cold water to the bucket.
Then add in one pound of the canning and pickling salt and mix it throughly until it is all dissolved.
If you like your smoked whitefish sweeter you can add about 2 cups of brown sugar, but that is a personal preference. I don’t like my smoked fish that sweet so I won’t be adding it but it is an option.
Once the salt is thoroughly dissolved it is time to add the whitefish into the brine and you will want to let this sit and soak for about 16 hours at refrigerator temperature.
If you were to used filleted fish instead of whole fish you will want to cut the brine time in half to about 8 hours.
After brining let you fish air dry for about a half hour and then place them in the smoker. You’ll want to set your smoker to about 200 to 220 degrees.
Depending on the size of the fish is should take about 3- 6 hours.
Once it is done let it cool and then it is ready to enjoy!