I love to eat smoked fish, especially smoked bonito. As a Southern California kid, my summers were spent at the Long Beach pier where I fished all day. When the bonito came breezing through, all hell would break loose. If I got really lucky, I’d come home with a few. If I failed, we’d make a family trip to the San Pedro Fish Market at three in the morning looking for fresh fish, especially bonito.
The Greeks love their palamida, or their smoked bonito. I grew up eating it a thousand different ways, really! This video not only goes through the basics of salting and smoking the bonito, but I also offer four different examples of how to make smoked bonito snacks and meals.
We still have lots of bonito off our So Cal coast. There are days you can’t keep them off your sabikis! If you have a smoker at home, or thinking about buying one soon, this recipe is simple, easy smoking fun. It packs a lot of smoky flavor into those yummy bonitos. Give it a try, you’ll love it, just like the Greeks!
Serves 1-2 hungry fishermen!
- 2 Cleaned, 2-3-pound whole or headless bonito
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups salt
- Create the dry rub brine by combing salt and sugar in a large bowl. Stuff the gut and head cavities with the dry rub using a large spoon. Add a layer of dry rub at the bottom of a narrow deep pan (I used my fish poaching pan from Amazon). Add both fish in the pan and cover both fish entirely with the dry rub. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Rinse and dry pat the fish with paper towels. Now is the time to allow the formation of the pellico skin, key for capturing that smoky flavor. Two methods are available. One, set the fish out on a rack with a small electric fan directly on them for 2 hours. Or, two, place the fish in an open pan in your refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat your smoke to 220-230F. Place your fish inside the smoker. I prefer to add my wood chips right after I get my fish inside the smoking chamber. Smoke for two hours. The inside temperature of the fish needs to be 130F minimum–at its thickest–to prevent food borne illness. Ideal temperature should be 130-140F. If you go over, you’ll be fine as long as you use a sauce to moisten up the fish when you’re eating it!
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