Do you use wet or dry brine to smoke fish? A traditional fish smoker hardly escapes to use brine, in order to keep the fish longer. Brining is a form of preservation and thus ensures that the product also becomes more tender and better in taste. We also call brining ‘laying’, which makes it both a wet and a dry technique.

Wet brining of fish

In most cases, we salt the fish by brining it wet. You need both salt and brine for this. Use cold water, as the fish will start to cook. In addition, hot water can cause the bacteria in the product to grow faster, which will make the fish less sustainable for a longer time. If you use ice in the water, you should take into account that brining can take a little longer due to the low temperature.

Depending on the type of fish and the quantity, it is important to use the right amount of wet brine. You let the fish ‘swim’ in the water containing the dissolved salt, so that the salt will draw into the fish. The longer you let the fish swim in the wet brine, the less likely it will be to salt deposit on the skin.

A mackerel of 200 – 250 grams can be allowed to swim in the wet brine for about an hour, while you will have to leave a salmon side that you want to smoke for about 2 hours. An eel with a thickness like your little finger will have enough for 20 minutes, while an eel with the thickness of your wrist will have to lie for about 3 hours.

Do you use wet or dry brine to smoke fish | Dry brining of fish

On the other hand, you can also brine dry, when you want to be able to keep the fish longer. Sprinkle the fish with a layer of salt, possibly in combination with some herbs. Also make sure that you provide the bottom of the bowl with enough salt, to put the fish in it and take care of the salt all around. You can use dry brining in combination with cold smoking, because the moisture will draw a little more out of the fish. Leave the salt layer around the fish to extract more moisture. That’s why you use wet or dry brine for fish.



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