Friday, March 19, 2010
What you gonna do with all those fish?
Okay you know where to go and you know the bait but what do you do with a cooler full of herring? First thing is come prepared to deal with them and have a plan for them when you get them. They are excellet garden fertilizer, I mean the Native Americans taught us that trick, but they have a higher calling. First get a cooler full of ice and pour rock salt over the ice like you were making ice cream. You want a cold water slurry that will make your hand hurt when you go in it! Now catch the fish, and with a pair wire cutters snip out the gills, and gut it, remove any scales. rinse the fish out in the river and place the fish in the salt/ice water slurry. The trick here is to keep the fish as fresh as possible, and doing the chore immediately is always the best, plus rock fishing down stream from where you clean the fish is also a bonus! Now when you get home take and rinse the fish cooler out and fill it with fresh water, mix enough salt in it to float an egg. All of the fish must be immersed in the brine so using the cooler is a good ideal, add some hot sauce, some onion chopped up, some garlic and the ever popular Worcestershire sauce, place the fish in the brine and cover completely. Change the brine the next day, putting the fish through the process three times. I like to rinse my fish off between brines also but be easy as these are soft flesh fish and are beginning to cook in the brine sorta kinda. Now after the third brine take your fish out and tie a string around the tail so you can hang it from a rod and hang the fish out in the air till they dry and get a sheen to them. It is important that the fish be good and dry, you can even set up a fan to blow air across them, but hang them don't lay them down on a flat board or a rack, the air has to blow around them. Now make yourself a smoker a cardboard box will do, but make it a big one like from an appliance, or use a canvas tarp over a frame. Now make a smoke from a fragrant wood like apple or hickory. A gallon can with some briquettes will work about a dozen briquettes and a handful of chips not a thick smoke just a light smoke coming out of the smoker you can also buld a SMALL smudge fire with twigs and get a log smoking which will last longer. when the fish take on a coppery brown color they are done and should be allowed to dry out in the breeze for a bit. These are now ready to eat and should come off not mushy but in a chunk white flesh easily slipping from the bone. Enjoy!