Few things bring the caveman out in us like a smoker. Slow-smoke a brisket and you can’t help but start grunting like Tim Allen.
Yet for many the thought of smoked fish conjure images of little more than lox and bagels. Lox is actually cold smoked at about 98.6F, which is not hot enough to cook the salmon, only cure it.
Not that there is anything wrong with cold smoked fish, but the caveman in us wants fire, right?
TJ’s recently teamed with our friends from Big Green Egg (“The World’s Best Smoker”) to demo how to smoke your own seafood at home.
What makes a Big Green Egg different than other smokers? It has absurdly thick ceramic walls to hold heat inside, and a centuries-old draft design that circulates heat and controls temperature. The end result? Smoked seafood that is flavorful but unbelievable moist.
First we smoked Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon on an alder wood plank. Just sprayed a little Pam olive oil on top and smoked with the lid down at 350 for 15 min. Then ruby trout the same way. Shrimp skewers needed nothing more than salt and pepper and the natural smoke flavors from some hickory chips on direct heat for about 5 min.
Want to ramp up your smoked seafood (or meat or poultry)? Brine it overnight before smoking. Brining is an age-old way of preserving meats that also makes them more tender and juicy when smoking or grilling. At TJ’s we use a mix of garlic, cloves, salt, pepper and brown sugar for our home-smoked salmon. Let it sit overnight to absorb the brine, wash off and then smoke away.
Satisfy your inner caveman AND your cardiologist: put the ribs on hold for a night and smoke some seafood for dinner.
Change your life: eat more fish!
Jon Alexis is the co-owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Catering, 11661 Preston Road, Dallas.