Free method of cold smoking products at home. Cold-smoked fish technology
Continuation. Beginning see here
Preparation of fish for smoking
I did not smoke meat, but smoked fish and lard. Actually, the smoking of all these products is the same, but the preparation of meat and bacon for smoking is a whole art that I do not own. But I bought smoked bacon with a meat layer from a real master, and it was so delicious and beautiful that it is impossible to describe. Before salting pork fat, he walks around the meat aisles for days, looking for the necessary product. He bought only pieces from a certain part of the pork carcass. I just choose lard two or three fingers thick, which is cheaper, salt it, then smoke it.
It turns out pretty good too. I want to say again that you can smoke everything in my smokehouse, even wrenches and axes. But since I mainly specialized in smoking fish, I will talk about it, especially since the process of preparing fish for cold smoking is not very simple. How many fish did I spoil before something edible began to turn out.
Any fish is suitable for cold smoking, both river and sea. Ahead of everyone is, of course, the Volga roach. But you can't catch her in Volgograd. She stopped reaching us along the Volga. Catches of other fish are also gradually decreasing: the Don blue, the Czech. But a new inhabitant appeared in the Volga: a cross between Satan and crucian carp. We call such a fish a dushman. This insatiable creature devours fish eggs. The dushman itself is of little use for food, and it is not suitable for fish soup at all. Once I tried to cook an ear from it, but, apparently, the ear from frogs is tastier than what I got, although I haven't eaten frogs yet. In short, from river fish, carp, bream, asp, chehon, roach, and other trifles are now more or less available for smoking.
From sea fish, capelin, halibut, pristipoma, nototenia are good for smoking. The end of summer and autumn are the best time for smoking fish both for the table and for the future. Fish is gaining fat, and this is the main condition for obtaining a delicious product. However, spring fish before spawning is good. It has something that is not in the autumn — caviar. Although some fish spawn in autumn and winter, but this is rare.
If you are not a fisherman, you will have to settle for purchased fish. But here there are difficulties. The fact is that before cold smoking, the fish must be salted and dried. Since the salting process takes quite a long time, the fish of the «second» freshness will not work here — it will rot. After all, the fish, until it reaches the counter, lies in boxes in the holds of fishing vessels, then shakes along the roads, loading, reloading... Therefore, fish for smoking is bought live, brought in tanks. If I take a box trifle, which has a small salting period, then I sort it very carefully before salting (I throw out soft fish, as well as fish with whitened gills).
It is very difficult to determine the exact time of salting. Too many factors affect the duration of this process (the type of fish and its mass, temperature, etc.). So, at an ambient temperature not higher than +10°. Salting is allowed to be carried out outdoors, for example, on a balcony or in a loggia. In hot weather, I spend salting in the refrigerator. In order not to break your head when determining the time of salting, it is better to overexpose the fish in saline solution than to underexpose. Ultimately, the degree of salinity of the product does not depend on the time of the content in the saline solution, but on the time of soaking the fish in water. I want to note that the return of salt by fish to running water is faster than the absorption of salt during salting. And I also want to say that, if desired, without fear that the fish will spoil, with the help of a soak (especially cold), the salinity of the fish can be reduced to zero. So if it is necessary to smoke a large amount of fish in a small smokehouse, it is not forbidden to immediately salt it all. For smoking, salted fish is taken as needed in portions, followed by soaking to the required state in running or replaceable water.
So, I «caught» 10 kg of live carp in the store. The weight of the fish is from 300 to 600 g. I cut large individuals on the back, throw out the insides, fall asleep in the gills and in the womb salt. At the bottom of the plastic basin, which is placed in the refrigerator «Saratov» or «Orsk», I pour a layer of salt half a finger thick and put a layer of fish on this pillow. I fill the empty places with salt and put the second layer of fish. Again a layer of salt. And so we fill the pelvis, not reaching the top by two fingers. It takes 5...6 packs of coarse salt. From above, I cover the fish with a circle of plastic and put a round piece of iron weighing 3.5 kg. Stones, bricks, containers with water will be suitable as a yoke. After the brine covers the plastic circle, I remove the oppression. This usually happens on the 2nd or 3rd day of salting, which usually lasts 8 days. After the end of salting, the fish should stiffen, become dense, while it slightly «loses weight» as a result of the loss of internal water. The fish taken out of the brine is carefully examined. If a soft specimen comes across, which crackles with slight stretching (the ligaments of the spine are torn), it is thrown away. He's already decomposed. This happens because a stale specimen comes across among the purchased fish or an air bubble forms in the saline solution, preventing the contact of the saline solution with the fish.
But now the moment has come to extract the fish from the saline solution. The solution itself is drained into the sewer, and the non-dissolved salt residue can be rinsed with water, dried (or poured into a glass container) and used again. The fish is thoroughly washed with fresh water and cleaned with a hair brush, removing mucus. Next, the fish is put in the same basin and filled with cold water for 4 hours. If it's hot, I put the basin in the refrigerator. During the soaking, I «mix» the fish several times so that the soaking goes evenly. After 4 hours, I change the water, rinse the fish and pour fresh cold water again for 4 hours. Etc. The last water change on this day is done at 21 h, after which the fish is left flooded with water until 9 am the next day, after which the water change is resumed after 4 h. The total duration of the soak is approximately 30 h. p>
The soak is stopped when the water in the basin reaches the salinity you require. After all, fish has approximately such salinity. In case of re-soaking, the necessary amount of salt is added to the water and the fish is kept for another 3...4 hours. The salinity of the water is determined by taste, tongue. If the fish is hung half-soaked, it turns white the next day from the salt that has appeared. It's okay, in this case, they just finish the fish. Dried fish should be clean, smooth, without traces of salt, elastic and not over-dried.
To dry the soaked fish, I use hooks to hang it on clotheslines in the bathroom above the bathtub filled with a quarter of water, where the liquid with fat flowing from the fish will drip. The moment of drying is the most dangerous for fish, especially low-salted. Her first enemy is the green dung fly. No matter how you cover the suspended fish with a gauze sleeve, the fly will still find a loophole and lay eggs. Therefore, I refused to dry in the fresh air and create this sacrament in a closed toilet room with vigilant visual control. It happens that the green guest penetrates there as well.
The duration of drying (from 12 hours to 3 days) depends on the size of the fish and the time of year. I don't bring the fish to a crispy state, it should be soggy. If over-drying happens by accident, I lower the fish for 10...15 minutes in slightly salted water and it gains the necessary moisture. Since salting does not occur once at a time due to the variety of fish, weather, temperatures, then I, for example, cannot remember all the twists and turns of processing technology. Therefore, I have started a log and keep a detailed record of all processes. The magazine has become my encyclopedia, and as soon as I want to do smoking, the first thing I find in it is an analogue, according to which I carry out the process of preparing fish for cold smoking. Here are copies of several authentic journal entries.
1. September 31, 1986 It's raining warm outside, the temperature is 20 °C. The silver carp is alive from the store. Length 300 mm, weight up to 350 g. 5 kg total weight. Salting — 3 days. Soak — 11 hours . The fish turned out to be smelly and worms. The salting time is not enough. Serves you right, you idiot!
2. May 7, 1988 Bream, blue, rudd. Weight 150...200 g. Batch of 5 kg. The time of salting in the refrigerator is 5 days. Soaking time — 24 h. Smoking — 6 h. firewood consumption — 0.7 kg. The taste is excellent! Well done! Keep it up!
3. On August 15, 1992, herring from the reservoir, salted right in the boat. Large. 18 pieces — 10 kg. Pickling in the refrigerator. The duration of salting is 7 days. Soak — 30 h. Drying — 1 day. Smoking — 6 hours . Ventilation in the fresh air, lying in the refrigerator — 5 days. The herring turned out great, the taste is indescribable. The pieces are tender and melt in your mouth. How not to fall apart. It's raining fine outside, the temperature is +25 °C. When will this heat end? Well done, damn it!
Smoking begins with waiting for the right weather. In the yard, a horizontal steady wind is desirable, without frills. The day should be without rain. They start smoking in the morning. First of all, by bringing a burning candle to the vent, make sure that the draft is even. In the latter case, the candle flame is tilted towards the hole, burns without twitching and without changing the inclination. If there is a wind whirl outside, it is better not to start smoking. Vortex gusts will penetrate into the pipe or vent block, so the smoke will start to exhaust from the smokehouse into the room. Choosing a convenient moment, we mount the nodes and parts of the smokehouse, placing them in their places. It will take about 20 minutes. And you also need to be sure that the cold water supply system will work in the apartment all day.
I put a bowl (plate) with cold water in the tank of the smoking chamber to moisten the chamber. Here is the time to tell about the experiment, as a result of which it was possible to drive the smoking time in several days into the framework of one day. I noticed that the smoke settles well on wet places, while dry ones are not very willing to smoke. It happened like this. Somehow, after smoking, I was washing the body of the smokehouse and noticed that the walls of the case remained almost clean, and the crossbars on which I hang the fish were heavily smoked. After a short thought, I realized that when I hung the fish, I was getting my hands dirty with fat, and they were the crossbars. Having noticed this phenomenon, I smeared the fish with vegetable oil for lack of fish oil. And then a miracle happened! After half an hour of smoking, the fish began to acquire a golden hue. After smoking the first batch of fish for 8 hours, I took 10 Negroes out of the smokehouse — the fish smoked so much. I had to shorten the smoking time. But back to work. I hang the greased fish in the chamber so that the individuals do not touch each other (Fig. 20) and the smoke has the opportunity to evenly wash each fish. I cover the camera with a lid and install the exhaust pipe.
Fig. 20. Fish hanging in the smokehouse chamber should not touch each other.
In the stove I load the chochki to the bottom edge of the chimney opening. I open the water tap, feeding water into the cooler, I light the burner of the gas stove. In Fig. 2 (see previous page) there is a tin plate with a size of 100x150x1 mm, which protects the end of the cooler from direct exposure to the flame of the stove burner. From the moment the gas burner is ignited, the smoking process begins, the first wisps of smoke, having cooled their hot arrogance in the cooler, timidly, stealthily begin to fill the chamber. Emboldened, they rush into the tank more confidently and aggressively. Smashing against a cup of water standing in the way, wisps of smoke are sent to all corners of the tank and are looking for a way out. Finally, in the lid of the chamber, they find their way to freedom and rush into the chimney, and from it into the sky, spreading and teasing the neighbors with a magic fragrance that suddenly appeared. The stove, eating firewood, always asks for more. Do not be greedy and, lifting the lid for a moment, please her with a portion of churochek. In order for churkotlenie to pass normally, the chocks must be periodically shoved with a wire poker.
As the firewood burns out, coal and ash accumulate in the stove, which have to be removed from the stove every hour. At this time, the gas burner is extinguished, but as a result of the arrival of fresh air through the grate holes, the process of smoldering chocks is still ongoing. Therefore, without waiting for the complete end of the smoke formation, I cover the stove with a damp thick cloth, disconnect it from the cooler, clamp the smoking hole of the stove with the same cloth, take the stove to the toilet room, put it in the sink and let a stream of water from the tap on the rag. The water, slowly penetrating through the rag into the stove, calmly extinguishes the burning coals, forming a mess of coal and ash in the stove, which I shake out into the trash. I clean the stove from the inside with a knife, removing streaks of burnt resin on the walls, and rinse with water. On the fire of a gas burner, I calcinate the stove, connect it to the cooler, load it with chocks, and then continue the smoking process. Finally, the fish took on a dark golden color. I extinguish the burner, let the camera air out by disconnecting the stove and cooler. The smoking process is completed.
I take the fish out of the chamber, release them from the hooks and stack them on top of each other with a «well», like logs in an oven. The fish reeks of unpleasant sharp burning of the conflagration. But after a day of exposure, this smell disappears, the fish slide begins to smell with the very long-awaited aroma for which we started all this. At this moment, you begin to dream of a compact installation that would simultaneously give out «Zhiguli beer». But even without this, the fish is good, especially since I have not learned to drink beer in my long life, so I do not feel the need for it. After the smoking is complete, I thoroughly wash all the details and components of the smokehouse, put them in the chamber and store them on the mezzanine in the toilet room until the next smoking. For washing, I use soda solution, as well as gasoline. The transparent wall of the chamber sometimes has to be wiped with acetone.
During the operation of the smokehouse, some safety rules should be observed. They are not complicated and easily doable. Here they are.
1. Always have a damp, thick cloth the size of a towel on hand.
2. Do not light the oven if there is no water in the cooler. Hot smoke will cook the product in the smoking chamber.
3. Avoid getting water into a hot oven. Instantly formed steam can scald not only the smoked product, but also you.
4. Make sure that the chocks are not engaged in a flame in the furnace, they should only smolder. The smoke we need so much for smoking is a mixture of unburned distillation products. The appearance of a flame is the ignition of products formed during the decay of wood. And yet, where there is a flame, there is also a high temperature, which is contraindicated for smoking fish, since hot air, once in the chamber, will begin to fry our breams. Firewood ignition occurs for several reasons. So, when loading the chunks, we open the lid. As a result, fresh air enters the stove, which will cause a fire. The flame is extinguished by the lid installed in place.
That seems to be all. Good luck to you and bon appetit!
See the description and design of the smokehouse on the previous page: Small-sized smokehouse for cold-smoking products at home.
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