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Old 12-03-2009, 02:53 AM   #1
Rick on Rogue
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Default Smoked fish without salt?

I love smoked fish, and because I have diabetes, salt, and sugar both have been taken out of my diet. I must admit that I cheat a little, but do you have any ideas. THANKS

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Old 12-03-2009, 05:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

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Originally Posted by Rick on Rogue View Post
I love smoked fish, and because I have diabetes, salt, and sugar both have been taken out of my diet. I must admit that I cheat a little, but do you have any ideas. THANKS
Sushi or sashimi with smoke sauce or stick in the smoker ?

Warning consumption on raw fish may ....

My smoked steelhead is too salty. I wonder if you could just use less salt. I use Splenda in place of sugar sometimes.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

I've had smoked salmon brined in apple juice or apple cider. It was good. Probably some sugar in that, but not as much as some brines.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

Try lite salt or the substitute salt better than nothin.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

I've tried using less salt coupled with less brine time, not for any particular reason other than to try to strike a better balance of tasty and healthy. Another tip is to at least partially rinse the brine off before smoking, which is often laden with gooey raw fish slime anyhow even when good fresh fish is used. Darker fish: more slime to wash off after brining. Garlic, pepper, and dry mustard are examples of spices that can add enough flavor to help some in backing off on the salt and sugar. I just don't like excessively salty food, though if too much is removed it can be pretty bland. There's no shortage of sodium in most food we eat, from crackers to cheese to fast food and even quality restaurant food - especially at some of the trendy American, Chinese, Mexican and Indian restaurants. Extremely salty and over-dried smoked fish isn't what we're shooting for in modern times anyway with refrigerators, home vacuum packers and freezers at our disposal, since the fish doesn't need to be turned into jerky to enable us to survive the long hard winter. At our house, any smoked fish that isn't vacuum packed and frozen is consumed long before it can grow fuzz.

We don't have much if any diabetes in our family history, and I'm not sure why not considering the greasy fatty salty sweet junk our culture indulges in. Lucky I guess. Good luck.


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Old 12-03-2009, 08:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

I've replaced salt in my cures with QuickCure...in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. Not only does it make the fish taste far less salty, it makes your brine work way faster...

Not sure if it's a viable salt substitute for someone with diabetes, but it's a good substitute for someone who doesn't want their fish salty, or doesn't want to have to brine it for 16 hours, or more.

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Old 12-03-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

I don't brine fish for the simple reason it absorbs too much salt. I guess you could say what I do is a dry brine, no or little liquid. I don't leave the fish on it very long either so any that is on the fish is just on the surface. A typical mixture would be 1/4 cup salt to each cup of white sugar and some garlic. Black pepper before going in the smoker. My fish certainly isn't salty to taste and the actual sugar content is minimal.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:07 AM   #8
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I use pickling salt and dry brine and rinse it after. I only use 1/4 cup and it tastes very good.Less salt reduces it's shelf life so you are forced to eat it faster..bummer eh? that said I do smaller batches. Didn't like smoked fish much because of the salt then a friend said "so don't put so much in" and now I love it and so do the store clerk...the neighbor...my mother in law...

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Old 12-04-2009, 03:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

Wow, great suggestions. Thanks to all who responded. Looks as if I have some 'spearmintin to do. Guess I better get busy.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

Properly smoked fish doesn't spoil very quickly. Yea, it can get moldy but that isn't the same as bacterial spoilage. Salt is widely used to cure meat and it works but not healthy to eat. Sugar cures also and much healthier to eat. Sugar has a very strong antibacterial action and does sterilize as effectively as anything out there. The key to having smoked meats last, is having them free of bacteria before being placed in the smoker. Whatever does remain, should be killed by the smoking process. The smoking process is as important (probaly more so) as any of the other curing proceedures taken prior to the actual smoking.

Smoking wasn't invented for flavor. It was a means of making it possible to store meat for long periods without refridgeration.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

Not sure if I'm the only guy that does it this way, but if you can "cheat a little bit" you could try my method.

Coat the (boneless/skinless) fillets with a liberal coating of kosher salt on both sides, and let it sit on a cooling rack in the fridge--over a cookie sheet--for 4 to 12 hours depending on thickness. Then Wash ALL the salt of the fillet. It absorbs very little salt, but the time with the salt on it kills any bugs and draws some of the moisture out of the fish. THEN put it in a marinade with some dry white wine, and herbs/spices of choice. I prefer ginger/garlic/red pepper flakes, ETC and let it marinate for 3 to 8 hours depending on thickness.

what little salt the fillet does absorb during the salting typically washes out during the soaking in the marinade, while the fillet better absorbs the flavors of the spices/herbs. A buddy who's a chemist told me something about how it's an "ion exchange" or something like that where the little bit of salt in the meat trades places with the flavors in the marinade as the fillet re-absorbs the moisture........Blah Blah Blah...I couldn't really understand what he was saying cause he was shovelling in smoked steelhead too fast to speak coherently.

So while there's a LITTLE bit of residual salt left in the fillet, and a LITTLE bit of sugar from the wine, the end product has far less sugar and salt than the traditional Brining methods which call for copious amounts of both. good luck
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

I remembered some of these discussions from awhile back... now I can make room in my little brain for something else.



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Old 12-04-2009, 07:05 PM   #13
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

I have completely stopped brining the fish. I dry pack fillets in a mix of NON-IODIZED salt and Dark Brown Sugar in a mix to taste but roughly 1/2 lb salt to 4 pounds brown sugar. Smoking fish is a drying process as much as cooking. I put the fish and dry mix in skin to skin and flesh to flesh with a liberal amount of the sugar/salt all around each piece. Simply put the fish with salt/sugar into the fridge and let it sit undisturbed for 12-16 hours or until the majority of the sugar/salt mix turns to liquid. It draws the moisture from the fish. Rinse off the mixture, pat dry and place on racks to air dry until the pelicule forms (the fish will have a shiny dry finish). Place in smoker, I use a big chief that I keep in the cardboard box to retain heat. PUT IN ONE BUT NO MORE THAN 2 PANS OF WOOD CHIPS!!!! Smoking time will depend on outside temp but even in this cold weather it should only take 4-6 hours but every smoker is different, just don't over smoke and over cook or you will have dry fish. Use your finger to test the doneness. The fish should feel firm yet yield to mild pressure. Good way to check is place your thumb tight to your hand and push down on the bulge it creates. This is similar to the firmness you should feel on the fish.
Let the fish cool and what you don't eat or force yourself to save should immediately be vacuum packed and it will keep in REFER for up to 6 months, freezer for much longer.

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Old 12-04-2009, 11:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

Try Mrs. Dash with Honey or a sugar sub.
Also lots of Kombu sea weed. It's a natural tenderizer
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

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Use your finger to test the doneness. The fish should feel firm yet yield to mild pressure. Good way to check is place your thumb tight to your hand and push down on the bulge it creates. This is similar to the firmness you should feel on the fish.


Deacon

This method works for barbequeing fish and steak too to prevent over-cooking. It takes some practice to get it just right, but the "squish test" is very effective. Back side of a fork works too. If you want to get technical about it, I picked up a digital temperature probe new for $10 at one of the cooking joints at the Lincoln City factory outlet mall. Got it mainly for oven use and probably won't bother with it for fish, but it might be a good tool to cut down on the number of times needed to experiment to get the internal temperature zeroed in to your liking.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

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Originally Posted by Rick on Rogue View Post
I love smoked fish, and because I have diabetes, salt, and sugar both have been taken out of my diet. I must admit that I cheat a little, but do you have any ideas. THANKS
I would season it, minus salt and sugar and smoke away. I am sure the native Americans did not have salt and sugar before coming in contact with the white man. The kind of wood you smoke with can make a big difference also.


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Old 12-05-2009, 08:51 AM   #18
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

You might try this one, no brine, no salt. Mix 2 cups of brown sugar, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp black pepper, a pinch of chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Set aside.

Mix a bottle of Kikkoman basting sauce with a splash of lime or lemon, about 2 tbsp or pineapple if you prefer. Dip the fillets in the sauce, place on large pan, sprinkle the dry ingredients liberally on to the fillets, turn over and repeat.

Remove fillets from pan,pop 'em in the smoker and away you go.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:35 PM   #19
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Default Re: Smoked fish without salt?

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Originally Posted by Rick on Rogue View Post
I love smoked fish, and because I have diabetes, salt, and sugar both have been taken out of my diet. I must admit that I cheat a little, but do you have any ideas. THANKS

I am also a Type 2 diabetic. I do my smoked salmon using the Sea Salt and and Splenda. I see no difference than when i used the real stuff.
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