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How to smoke herring

Updated February 21, 2017

Smoking fish is a delicious way to cook herring, yet don't assume smoking has preserved the herring, so that it no longer needs refrigeration. Refrigerate your finished product after removing it from the smoker. When smoking herring, only use freshly caught fish that has been properly stored on ice or refrigerated. Different types of fish are prepared in different ways before smoking. With herring, remove the head and gut the fish before proceeding.

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  1. Add 1 cup of table salt to 7 cups of water to make brine. Do this if smoking 0.907 to 1.36 Kilogram of herring.

  2. Pour the brine mixture into a large food storage bag and add the fish. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  3. Remove the herring from the salt water and rinse with cold water. Discard the brine.

  4. Place fish on greased racks, skin side down.

  5. Set in a cool, dry, breezy location for two to three hours. During this time, a membrane-like skin called "pelican" will develop on the surface of the fish. It serves as a protective coating.

  6. Start your smoker, following its manufacturer's instructions.

  7. Set the fish in the smoker when the temperature reaches about 32.2 degrees C. Smoke for two hours.

  8. Increase the temperature to 65.6 degrees C and smoke for four to eight hours. The size of the pieces will determine the smoking time. Thick pieces might take eight hours, while thinner pieces may take half that time.

  9. Tip

    To help prevent food-borne illness, during smoking heat the internal temperature to 71.1 degrees Celsius and maintain the temperature for 30 minutes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Large plastic food bag
  • Trays
  • Smoker

About the Author

Ann Johnson

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.

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