I caught many garfish in various sizes in the spring, so there will be slightly different times for salting and smoking. Most garfish, which I smoked, weighs 500 g or more. The small garfish are fried in the pan. In autumn you can buy garfish at the port for cheap money. They are usually very large. I like to choose the garfish at 800 grams, it is an appropriate size to smoke, they are also easy to peel and will not get dry. Therefore, this recipe adapted to this size and of course to my smokig oven.
I start by cleaning the fish, remove entrails. Cut up the belly from the anus to the head and take it all out. Remove the blood clot which is along the backbone of the abdominal cavity, this is renal blood, and is not very tasty. Use a stiff, small vegetable brush to scrub off the blood.
A good advice. Be careful not to cut too much up in the head because the fish is hung on a spear through the eyes. The head can then loosen and the fish is falling down. A good tip is to use wooden sticks of 8 mm. A wooden stick is not hot as an iron spear, so the fish remains on the wooden stick.
Wet salting: I make a strong brine of 15% or 14 °Baume: To 12 liters of cold water add 2,165 kg of fine salt, it fits 16 large, nice garfish between 600 g and 800 g, which fits my salt jar and smokig oven. The salt must be completely dissolved in the cold water before the fish are put into the brine. If you need a smaller or larger amount of brine, you can use this Excel spreadsheet to calculate the amount of salt.
Fish of this size may well be in the brine for 12 hours, but try yourself if you have larger or smaller fish. Remember that water temperatures should not exceed 5 °C. It is no problem in October and November, but otherwise one must use a refrigerator.
Once the fish have been overnight in the brine, they are taken up and rinse thoroughly with cold water for blood and mucus residues which the brine has forced out of the fish. The fish hung out to dry with the expansion pins in the belly, so they also dry inside. The drying time is hard to predict, as the weather played a part. The fish should not hang in the sunlight, but like in the draft. Beware of flies here in the summertime. I have made two frames with Tesa mosquito net for windows, the first on top of smokig oven, and the second set in front of the gate. Now the fish are first dried in the smokig oven without the fly come to the fish. Until now I have dried the fish for 4 to 6 hours so the skin does not stick to your fingers anymore. News: A cage lined with nets, I have also made.
Now the garfish should be smoked:
If the garfish is not completely dry, the skin does not receive smoke, so you can start by heating the oven up to 40 °C and let the garfish hang at this temperature for 15 minutes. The oven temperature is gradually raised from 40 °C to 80 °C for the next 15 minutes. After that, smoke debris comes on the beech rods so that the flames suffocate and smoke development begins. The oven temperature now drops to 67 °C to 70 °C and the garfish are smoked further for 1 hour at this temperature. The oven temperature is lowered to 60 °C and the garfish are smoked further for 1 hour. Total approx. 3 hours.
After 3 hours, the garfish have a beautiful golden color and is ready to be eaten hot. The fish you do not need here and now, can "overnight" in the smokig oven - in winter time. Otherwise, wrap the fish in parchment paper and put it in the fridge, so the smoky taste just sucked into the meat. Or vacuum packed and in the freezer.
I would just like to come up with a good recipe for "Garfish Salad". Clean the fish for bones and cut meat into small pieces, come gradually meat into a blender and blend the meat with mayonnaise, lemon juice from one lemon and white pepper for taste. Serve on toasted bread with garnish, salad leaves on bottom and finely chopped red onion as sprinkle. A cold beer and a dram are very suitable for this.
Also try the other recipes
Hot smoking of silver eels -- Hot smoking of salmon & trout
Hot smoking of harvest herring -- Hot smoking of mackerel
Hot smoking of cod roe -- Homemade smoking cheese