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pikestabber

Thirdeye's Smoked Sucker Recipe

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I am sure that got Thirdeye's attention. He probably didn't even know he even had a smoked sucker recipe, but he has a great one... :)

 

What he shared on here before is a phenomenal smoked salmon/trout recipe that I've been using to bring my salmon game from a C- to an A+, and  I just discovered that it works awesome for suckers, as well. It's a dry brine, and as these were thicker fish (3-4lbs each, live weight) I let them go a full 24 hours in the salt/sugar/spice rub. A good rinse in cold water, back into plastic wrap to rest overnight, onto racks the next day to air dry two hours, then 2.5 hours of apple smoke. I then just cranked up the temp to 300 and cooked them off to a safe internal as these are destined for the pressure canner and I don't want them too dry to start with. Canning is tonight, so I'll see how they hold up this way, but off the smoker they were outstanding in terms of balance of sweet to smoke to salt. I'll never use a wet brine again.

 

Here's what I have (and Thirdeye, feel free to correct anything that doesn't sound right, but this is slightly modified as per above):

 

THIRDEYE'S (modified) DRY CURED FISH:

This makes enough Dry Cure for about 10 pounds of fish:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon pulverized bay leaf

 

On a cutting board, sprinkle a little of the salt onto the chopped garlic, and mash to a paste with the point of a knife. In a small bowl, combine the garlic mixture with the remaining salt, the sugar, ginger, pepper and bay leaf. Mix this very well. Extra can be stored in the freezer.

 

Sprinkle about 1/8” of rub onto a piece of plastic wrap, place fillets on top and seal with the seam on top. The wrapped fillets can be stacked. (I put them on a shallow tray just in case one leaks). Refrigerate 22-24 hours.

 

After curing, rinse the fish very well under cold running water, rubbing gently to remove the syrup. Blot dry with paper towels--wrap in plastic wrap and put back into the refrigerator overnight (NOTE: you could smoke them at this point after a couple hours of air drying, but I really think that 2nd overnight helps stabilize and distribute the salt evenly, or so it seems to me).

 

For smoking, brush or spray a light coat of olive oil or Pam on the skin side of the fish and on your smoker rack. Place fish in smoker with the skin side on the rack and hot smoke at 150 – 170 degrees  for 2 to 3 hours, using equal parts of alder wood and apple wood. Then, finish in one of two ways:

  

OPTION ONE: continue to smoke and dry until the flesh starts to crack or your preferred internal temp is reached (best for fresh eating).

 

OPTION TWO: crank heat to 300 and cook to safe internal and then pressure can to remove bones. This will leave most meat fairly soft, but it will firm up in the canning process and prevent it from overcooking.

Edited by pikestabber

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Even after canning, I am very impressed with the final product. Note that I hadn't cleaned the jars off yet so you still see some canning residue...

1.jpg

As sucker is low on oil, I added a teaspoon of canola oil to each jar before processing. 90 minutes at 10#s of pressure and I now have 8 pints of boneless sucker, which is a nice upgrade over the bone minefield you usually wade through when snacking on old big lips. Now that I know it holds up well throughout, I'll try to process another 16 pints this weekend (assuming I can catch more fish), and have my "reserve" for the year. My favorite way to utilize the canned fish is in a cracker dip.

I am not a big fan of Ranch dressing, but it works well here as it's not overpowering:

  • Shake jar of fish to evenly distribute oil
  • Add to a bowl and use a fork to mash it up
  • Add equal parts mayo and Ranch to get desired consistency
  • Dice 1-2 jalapenos and half a medium sweet onion, mix in
  • Serve with crackers

This is a must have easy appetizer for all Viking's games...hope I need 19 jars this year ;) 

Edited by pikestabber

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Split shot, single hook and a crawler......get them in the rivers pretty easy.  Or use a jig and grub....they "mostly" bite with their mouth ;)

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No foul play here. Before they hit the creeks to spawn they readily feed in the larger rivers. Anywhere they can hole up is a good place to try with a slip rig and crawler. You do hear of people snagging them below dams (illegal), but that is long after they've moved from their aggressive pre-spawn feeding pattern they are in now. These were all actively feeding fish. I'd much rather catch them now than spear them full of holes later. Don't get me wrong, both are fun, but it's nice not cleaning fish with busted up ribs, etc.

Spearing actually opens April 30th this year. It used to be May 1, but recently it became the Saturday closest to May 1. By then they should be out of the bigger rivers and in spawn mode in the shallower creeks.

Edited by pikestabber

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i'll be up the weekend of april 30th. I may go look but have no interest in suckers. maybe if they were good for pickling.?????????

with a handle like pikestabber I would think cleaning fish  with holes in them would be second nature!!!!!!!!:grin:

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21 minutes ago, smurfy said:

i'll be up the weekend of april 30th. I may go look but have no interest in suckers. maybe if they were good for pickling.?????????

with a handle like pikestabber I would think cleaning fish  with holes in them would be second nature!!!!!!!!:grin:

Ha ha. Yeah, I didn't say I COULDN'T clean holey fish, I just prefer not to! ;)

Pickled sucker is actually quite good. When cleaned and washed up, suckers have a nice white flesh. They do have a pretty pronounced mud line that I would suggest cutting away as you chunk them for pickling, but the end result is really good. Just use the same recipe you'd use for pickled pike.

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27 minutes ago, pikestabber said:

Ha ha. Yeah, I didn't say I COULDN'T clean holey fish, I just prefer not to! ;)

Pickled sucker is actually quite good. When cleaned and washed up, suckers have a nice white flesh. They do have a pretty pronounced mud line that I would suggest cutting away as you chunk them for pickling, but the end result is really good. Just use the same recipe you'd use for pickled pike.

okey rokey....... might just bring an old dusty sucker spear with up der next week!!!!!!!!!!:D

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Whoa, Thanks for the kind words about my fish cure.  I've been bouncing between work, a remodeling project and had to change out internet providers so I've been limited to online time.... just saw this post and that looks amazing.  Canning fish that has been smoked is always a nice touch, but I'll admit I've never tried sucker.  I've had canned carp though.

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