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Smoking your Own Marlin

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TM.... View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 7:24pm

Hello all....this is something I have been thinking about doing for a while now as my various crews and I are not in a position to be spending big bucks on smoking fish with it in the vicinity of $2.50 - $3.00 per kilo green weight these days....

I know your saying tag them then.....(and we regularly do)  but we like doing contests and that invariable means a respectable fish will be weighed (as we like prizes too)
 
Its bad enough with the increased petrol prices then the realisation after landing a nice marlin that there is another hefty bill on the way....we landed a good blue a few years ago and got NO change out of $500...thats just nasty
 
I have done a bit of research and have built a nice smoker about the size of a port-a-loo using steel cover sheets from the local roofing manufacturer and untreated 50mmx50mm
which probably owes me less that $150...thats a bargain......and I have a good source of manuka to burn.....
scored a large LPG bottle and cut the top off and that will be the fireplace....have done a test burn and it works a treat...
 
I would like a bit of advice from those who know on the actual preparation and smoking of the fish.....
 
I favour the soaking in brine method as its easy and quick compared to rubbing each piece with salt and sugar which leads me to my first question.....
 
what ratio of salt and sugar and how much of each should I use in the brine......I have a large  fish bin to put the chunks into but want to get the mix right....
 
secondly what about the smoking process......I have heard about and will probably use the 1,2,3 method ie dry for one hour,  cook  for 2 hours,  smoke for three hours (as you have guessed I am not going to use a cold smoke)
 
I have eaten fished prepared and smoked using this method and the results are awsome
 
any advice on the subject would be welcome along with your preferred methods
 
I am sure there are others out there who would like to give it a go as from what I have seen its dead easy and a lot of fun not to mention cheap
Team 'Wild Bill'

2006 Tutukaka Small Boats Heaviest Marlin

2007 Blu Heelers Contest Heaviest Snapper

2008 Tutukaka One Base 2nd Heaviest Marlin

2009 Bay of Islands Small Boats Heaviest Marlin
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dohboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 7:54pm
TM where are you based?
If in auckland go to mitre 10 mega in henderson and get  a book called 'The Kiwi Smoker" its only 32 pages long but has a very good brine mix as well as some very good tips.

I dont know about the 1,2,3 thing but when i do my fish it takes up to 12 hours and all depends on how much i keep away from the meat. If you can keep the heat down for a long time and then only in the last 1-2 hours bring it up to around 70c you will end up with very nice fish the is well smoked but NOT cooked..
Dean
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:21pm
TM, we use a 2 brown sugar to 1 salt mix in our brine. The other thing we do is only smoke what we want at the time and freeze the rest in big chunks and then smoke them as the need arises. The other thing we do now is make marlin jerky, cut the marlin in to thin strips about 5 - 8mm thick and put onto a skewer making sure they do not touch and smoke for about the same langth of time as you would a normal peice of fish (we normally smoke marlin for about 4 to 6 hours), these come out unbelievably nice, especially with a beer or two, we are finding that we are smoking most of our marlin and tuna this way now.
With respect to the amount of brown sugar and salt required for about say 7  or 8 kilos of fish we would use about 3 cups brown sugar and 1.5 cups salt in about 15 litres of water, and leave the fish in the brine overnight. Also when we smoke the fish we jsut get the fire going nice and quietly using either manuka or pohutakawa and keep it going for 4 to 6 hours until the fish is done, generally we don't use saw dust as the fish brown up nicely with a good strong smokey flavour as it is over this length of time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:22pm
TM forgot to mention that we have smoked fish that has been in the freezer for almost a year and it comes up just as good as if you had just caught it. So you do not need to smoke the whole lot at once.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMFSH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:25pm
Tony there are a couple of options here, there is a big difference between brining and curing marlin, a brine will ad flavour and a cure will cure the meat, goto www.bradleysmoker.co.nz, there is a whole section on curing and how to get the best out of your fish and meat, to give you an example, i managed to smoke some blue marlin the other day and brined some and cured some, slowly smoked them at 70C for 5-6 hours the diffeerence was chalk and cheese, the brined fish was grey where the cured fish was still pink and will preserve the meat better, on the website is how to do and a huge database free to all with downloadable recipes and tips, as long as you can controll the temperature you are on a winner, also as you have a gas burner try different types of woods, you will be very surprised, the reason bradley released the cures was so people can create a wide range of flavour and to be honest the next marlin i catch will be done in different flavours rather than 150kg all the same and no you don't need a bradley to use there recipes or process but they have been doing it for 20 years and have given all there successes, good luck catching a fish this season
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kaveman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:27pm
Good advice there Vance, we vacuum pack fish and smoke it as needed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMFSH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:29pm
Marligator you are right on experimented the other week with marlin jerky and it was fantastic using the same process in a dry rubThumbs%20Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote K_N_B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:35pm
Marligator you say you will freeze in large chucks. Do you then let the chucks thaw out in the brine or do you brine before you freeze?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMFSH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:45pm
KNB defrost then brine or cure, don't brine before hand, chunks should stay fresh when frozen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stef da maori Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2009 at 8:48pm
2:1 sugar to salt. Rubbed on then put back into the chiller for a day or 2. Then smoked. Tino rekaThumbs%20Up
Like the idea of freezing.Just done a load of puka and bluenose wings that we kept frozen over 4 weeks of fishing for them. Come out just as good as fresh.
The other thing i'd like to add is the availability of better household vacuum packers. This makes smoking your own fish a more attractive thing to do. Gamfsh has one of the best on the market that i have seen for the price you pay.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fishb8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 5:39am
Questions:- What sort of vacuum packer is that and where did you buy it?
Is blue marlin as good as stripy, to eat smoked as I heard it wasn't?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 5:58am
Roy, generally blue marlin is not as good as striped marlin, but every now and then you get a blue which is really good, I think a lot has to do with how the fish fights, blues often go crazy and burn themselves out and I would suspect there is a bug buildup of lactic acid in these fish and they almost cook themselves and are not as good to eat.
 
Weighmaster should be able to make some comment on this as he was the smokey at Toots for a number of years.
 
The 313 kg blue we got last year smoked up very well, it was a fish that never jumped at all and so was in good condition for smoking.
 
Kevin and Stef I like the idea of vacuum packing and will be looking into getting one for myself or between a group of friends.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kaveman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 7:00am
Roy..........the big blue we caught was Sh#t compared to a stripy, they are not as fine in the flesh as stripies,very coarse.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMFSH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 7:45am

Roy vaccum packers are on there way at present and will be here in a few weeks, they are available from any of the bradley smoker dealers on the website

Kaveman, Marligator has a theroy but is is also how it is prepared, the blue marlin i did the other week, i used a maple cure with maple syrup to infused the flavour and smoked it in a really mild wood (alder), the outcome was nobody could tell me what marlin it was so different brines and cures along with smoking it makes a huge difference, it didn't last long eitherThumbs%20Up

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMFSH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 7:49am
I wil go a bit of topic here to give you guys a bit of insite, the other week we caught a bin of albacore so while i was up at toots we smoked it after brining it and to be honest it was ho hum as you could still taste the amonia slightly, took some fresh home and actually cured it in a liquid cure and the result was it tasted like chicken, the cure removed all the amonia and added more flavour so it has alot to the way fish with a monia present it prepared, have a look in the kitchen and see what kezza has done with his albacore recipe and technique, i used the same and it was stunning result
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Bushpig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 8:32am
Interesting result on the blue. All the Blue marlin I have ever had tasted like crap, no exception.

If your Albie tasted like chicken then it may have been a little over done, as that's when they take on that taste
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAMFSH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 8:42am
Graham certainly wasn't overdone, still very moist but great flavour, i was surprised also about the result of the blue marlin, but brines with alot of salt have a tendency to draw the moisture out, why aren't you at the whakatane tuna tournament, weather down here today is variable and sunshine, hopefully the tuna will show today
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bushpig Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 8:55am
Tuna are bait fish for Marlin.  I am keeping my powder dry for an assault on Waihau Bay in 2 weeks.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Weighmaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 4:39pm
Marligator you are right about 1 in 7 blues were fantastic, i'd put this down to age of the blue not fight time as such, as one of the best over 200kg i did was a longer fight than most and a small quick 120kg specimum was glug.
 
i never was a fan for brown sugar, only used it on very special requests 90% time all salt only. 6 - 10 hours in the shed depending on vollume my sheds held 140kg, 180kg & 220kg of green meat for smoking on trays all manuka and kanuka for wood although i used to get gived all the storm downed pohutukak from the council for special ocasions.
 
there is nothing like a tuna tastey (jerky style) with a beer watching a one dayer.
 
marlin and tuna smoke better when chilled for a day or more in large blocks then broken down and salted in smaller user friendly chunks overnight the smoked early on the day so they cool down in the cooler afternoons and removed the next morning cold.  my sheds had milk factory temp gauges on the to monitor temp and a temp spreading plate over the fire pit to stop hot spots..
 
i would recomend to all to smoke at least some of your own fish as when i have to i will not mind paying $3 per kg for a good smoked, packed ready to tansport chilled lot,  with no waste to get rid of (ground up for berly) tails, wings, bills, blood and smell.
 
blue on a barby is nice with a yoghurt and mayo spiced up coating.
 
s/m and tuna as sushimi, raw fish, sushi, cerviche, barby cooked, smoked chunks or jerked strips bloody awesome do try it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fitty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2009 at 9:21pm

I reccommend that you keep the backbone and wings of any large fish you intend to smoke.Brine the same way Marligator reckons .Leave in brine for around 8-12 hours.

 Smoke on a low heat the next day and wash down with a cold beer.
 
This meat is often the best to be had on a large fish.
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