Having smoked many varieties of fish it seems rather late in the day to get around to smoking my own kippers! I should not have been daunted by the memories of the ever delicious Whitby kippers as these proved to be just as good writes Sandra Tate …
Brining & Smoking Herrings
Preparing herrings for smoking is almost an art form, and unless you are very confident with a super sharp filleting knife you should leave this operation to your fishmonger. Mine prepared these beautifully, removing scales, splitting the belly and up through the lower jaw to open them into classic kipper form. Three out of four of my herrings came complete with plump roes so we had the added bonus of smoked roes with the resulting kipper breakfast feast.
Continue preparation at home by thoroughly rinsing the herring in cold water to remove any blood, membranes, and the odd scale that has hung on to the fish. Now make a brine by mixing 70g salt and 30g light brown sugar to 500ml of cold water, swirling with fingertips until dissolved. I have a plastic box which is perfect to snuggly layer the herring in the brine – if you need to, make more of the same proportions to scantly cover the fish. Leave for 30 minutes then remove, rinse under cold running water then pat completely dry with kitchen paper. Lightly brush the skin if the herring with vegetable oil and lay in pairs, skin side down on Bradley wire racks (the skin is otherwise likely to stick to the wire whilst smoking).
Add oak bisquettes to the Bradley Smoker stack and set it to smoke at a temperature of 75°C/170°F and the top vent open. Place the racks of herring and roes into the cabinet and smoke for 2 – 3 hours. I smoked mine for 2 hours and they were mild, sweet, oily and utterly delicious.