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Wlodek 06-12-2009 01:39 PM

Smoking fish and ham
 
I made a small fire in the oven and kept it going for a bit.

I boiled a gammon joint in its forming netting for 45-60 minutes (put it into cold water) in about 2l of water (to cover the meat) with added 0.3l of cider vinegar and a handful of dark brown sugar. Amounts are not critical and depend on the size of the gammon. So does time. If you want, put a meat thermometer in and boil to 60C internal. Boiling removes some salt and nitrites from the meat, and the vinegar and sugar add to the flavour. Do not over-cook, or it will go dry and tasteless.

I rubbed two trout with salt and pepper, sprinkled with lemon juice, stuffed with garden herbs and waited for the oven to get to the temperature.

When the oven was above 200C (measured with a laser pyrometer) with some glowing charcoals I put the trout on aluminium foil "boats", which went on a grill standing inside the oven. I timed this so that the ham was just ready.

Ham went on a little rack over a baking sheet (not to soak the oven floor with pork fat). Sometimes I also put the ham on a bed of rough-chopped onions in roasting dish. The roasting dish or baking sheet goes on a little grid, to keep it off the oven floor. Make sure you take the netting off the meat before putting it in the oven.

I covered the ham loosely with a piece of aluminium foil on top and put an electronic meat thermometer sensor in, I set it for 74C (internal).

I then added some seasoned medium-sized pieces of cherry-wood, waited a minute or so for them to catch fire and I closed the oven door. The fire went out swiftly.

You need to check the fish for doneness every 5-10 minutes. Do not overcook it, even though the skin is a bit of a safeguard. Of course it smoke-cooks faster than the ham - 10-20 minutes, depending on size, should be enough but it is not an exact science. It does come out delicious though.

I do not time the ham, there are far too many variables. I keep it in until the thermometer beeps. It comes out quite incredible. If you make it with onions, they are excellent - smoky, caramellised, go well with burgers or sausages (also grilled in the oven), will also keep for a while in a jar in the fridge.

We smoked salmon in this way too. Just takes a bit longer than trout.

Have fun :-)

W.


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