How to Smoke Smelt

By Philip Powe

Smelt are a small species of fish from the salmon family. They typically reach a length of 7 inches and run into the estuaries and rivers in early spring. They are a common table fare on the Northern U.S. coasts and around the Great Lakes. They can be deep-fried or smoked. The smoking process produces a deep flavor and can be done in an afternoon.

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Step 1

Mix the water, sugar and salt in the pot. Make sure everything is dissolved. Add the herbs of your choice. This is a personal issue, so the selection is yours.

Step 2

Add the smelt to the pot. Allow the smelt to sit in the brine mixture for about 2 hours; any longer may make them too salty.

Step 3

Start the smoker. Your selection of smoke wood again is a personal choice. Mesquite is one choice. Get the smoker to about 140 degrees.

Step 4

Place the smelt into the fish basket. Fish baskets have small grills and clamp around the fish like a clam. They allow the smoke to penetrate the fish. Place the smelt on the grill.

Step 5

Smoke at 140 degrees for 2 hours. Raise the temperature in the smoker to 180 degrees. This is done by closing the vents slightly. Smoke the smelt for another hour.