Recipe of the Week
Smoked Whole Blue Fish
June 7, 2012
I spend a lot of my summer fishing in Ocean City and Assateague Island, Maryland. Though my fishing buddies prefer the highly prized flounder, nothing gives me greater pleasure than the fight a blue fish provides on the end of the line. As soon as I feel the hook set, I begin to anticipate how good they will taste when smoked.
Remember, the fresher they are the better they taste. Get the fish on the grill as soon as you can get them cleaned and prepped. There is nothing better!
*1 whole blue fish approximately 2 lbs scaled and cleaned
*2 lemons thinly sliced
*1 large bunch fresh dill (chop 2 Tablespoons of fresh dill and set aside.)
*Kosher salt to taste
*Coarse black pepper to taste
*1/2 cup butter
*1 clove of garlic minced
*Your favorite smoking wood for the grill (Use a light wood such as maple, apple or my favorite plum)
NOTE: Soak your smoking wood for at least ½ hour before you plan to use the grill.
Trim the fish by removing the fins and trimming the tail as necessary. Make sure that it has been thoroughly washed and cleaned.
Score the fish to the bone three or four times on each side.
Cut a piece of cardboard slightly narrower than the width of the fish. Cover the cardboard with three layers of tin foil shiny side out. This will provide a base for the fish to sit on during the grilling process.
Place enough charcoal in the grill to produce medium heat; 325-350 degrees.
Generously season the inside of the fish with kosher salt and black pepper. Place half of the lemon slices and half of the dill inside the cavity of the fish.
Generously season the outside of the fish with kosher salt and black pepper. Insert the remaining lemon slices and dill into each scoring slice on the sides of the fish.
Place the butter, garlic and reserved chopped dill in a small pot. Over low heat, melt the butter and let it cook until it is completely infused with the garlic and dill.
When the coals are ready, you will need to arrange the grill for indirect cooking. I also recommend placing foil pans with water under the fish to provide moisture during the smoking process.
Baste the fish with the butter mixture.
Carefully place the fish on the foil wrapped cardboard and arrange it on the grill so it is not directly over the heat. The cooking time will be approximately 1 hour.
Baste the fish with the butter mixture every 15 minutes during the cooking process. There will be four bastings in all.
Transfer the fish to a platter. When ready to serve, run a knife along the backbone to separate the top fillet. Lift it off of the bones in sections. Remove all of the bones and cut the fish into serving portions.