Smoking Fish

Fish are most commonly smoked for the flavor and not for preservation. While smoking does produce a safe, fully cooked product, it is important to remember that smoking does not make fish immune to spoilage. The safety and quality of smoked fish depends on the skill, experience, and knowledge of the person doing the smoking.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Choosing the Fish

  • Any fish can be smoked, but some species taste better and have a higher quality when smoked than others.
  • In Wisconsin, the favorite fish for smoking include salmon, trout, whitefish, chubs, carp, suckers, buffalo, and catfish. In general, fatty fishes like these will come out juicier than lean fish species like perch and walleye, which have a drier and firmer character when smoked. (See the table of fat content to determine which fish are fatty and which are lean.)
  • In the final analysis, your personal preference for dry or moist smoked fish will determine which type of fish you want to smoke.

Copyright, 1998, by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
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