Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Thursday 18 August 2011

Smokin' at the cottage

Last week, the Prof. and I helped my parents smoke some meat at the cottage. This isn't a long-standing tradition of ours, but somewhat of a recent one. At least, this is something we started doing after I left home to study at the University of Toronto at 19.

My parents have been smoking our catches off and on for years, but I only learned how to do it after the Prof won our lake's fishing contest on the day of our Canadian wedding last year. (Note: He "came upon" a fishing rod that was sitting on the dock, with the line already in the water and apparently with the fish already attached. A wedding present, perhaps? But he won, he definitely won the contest. The timing was just really, really good.)

I've always really enjoyed eating smoked cheeses and fish (after I stopped being a full vegetarian and started eating fish again), but smoking the meat at home, or at the cottage, is pretty darn cool. It makes me feel like a resourceful hunter-gatherer -- especially when we catch the fish ourselves!

Here's a slideshow of our smokin' process. The recipe is below...

Smoked fish recipe

1) Catch the fish.
2) Clean and filet the fish. (You can either leave the skin on or take it off)
3) Prepare the brine solution (Can be bought pre-made or you can try a recipe like this one.)
4) Leave the filets in the brine overnight, refrigerated
5) The next morning: Place the filets on a paper towel and pat them dry.
6) Wait one hour. After that, the filets should look slightly glazed.
7) Put the filets on the racks of your smoker. (Ours is a "Chief" smoker. You can see it in the pictures. It's small and has four racks, a pan, and an electric coil that's there to heat what you put in the pan below the fish.)
8) Put wood chips in the pan of the smoker. This is part of your smoke flavouring. We used a mixture of apple chips and hickory chips, but there are many different kinds. The chips will burn in the pan and send smoke up over the fish. We used two full pans for our project.
9) When the final pan stopped smoking, we served the fish with crackers, cream cheese, and a bottle of wine down on the dock.


  1. I don't eat a lot of meat but I would totally have smoked meat. I like the smell and I eat my meat well-cooked, so perfect!

  2. Zhu: I guess the problem is just figuring out where you can do it in the city... (maybe the neighbours don't like the smell quite as much!)