Smoking Tips from your friends at the Cut River Store

If you want to prepare for yourself a delightful treat from the fish you’ve caught or the meat you’ve hunted (yes, the same instructions apply if your hunting grounds have aisles and carts!), then we’re happy to share some tips and instructions so you can do it yourself.

To make your project a bit easier, try our Sugar Maple Smoking Chips, Jerky Cure and Fish Brine Mix.

Smoking Tips

Always use hardwoods for smoking.  Never use resinous woods such as pine or cedar.  Good woods include hickory, oak, alder, apple, cherry, pear, beech, mesquite and our favorite – sugar maple.

Experiment with times, temps and brines.  Only you know what you like.

Try different spices in the brine.  Consider using brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, molasses or even fruit juices.

Fresh fish do not brine well.  For best results, gut fish as soon as possible, refrigerate one day, then brine.

Record your ingredients and measures so you can repeat later a particularly good batch.

Always make sure that during the smoking process a high enough temp is achieved to kill any bacteria or molds that may make you ill.  Always use a meat thermometer.

Beef – 145 degrees

Fish – 180 degrees for 30 minutes

Turkey – 185 degrees

Smoked fish, beef jerky and other smoked meats keep best when wrapped in paper.  When wrapped in plastic wrap, they can become moldy quickly.  Always cool smoked items quickly and store in the refrigerator.  Fish will be safe to eat up to 14 days after smoking.  Jerkies will last longer.  Jerky can also be frozen and stored for 6 months in the freezer.  It is not recommended to freeze smoked fish.  Fish may be frozen fresh, then completely thawed, brined, then smoked.

Fish and meats should be brined in the refrigerator or below 40 degrees.

For beef jerky, we use eye of round.  We trim off every speck of fat and connective tissues and cut the meat in long strips, with the grain.  The strips are about 1″ thick all around and as long as the cut of meat allows.

Different types of fish should be cut differently.  For instance, lake trout is a very oily fish so we lay the fish open along the backbone on the smoking racks to allow the oil to drain off.  Chubs, herring and menomine are smoked whole.  Whitefish are smoked whole or, if very large, are cut in half across the middle after the head is removed.  When smoking whole whitefish, herring and menominee, prop fish open with toothpicks to allow the smoke in.  We cut our chinook salmon in several steak-type chunks since each fish is generally very large.

W5954 U.S. 2, Epoufette, MI 49762

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