Maple Sugar Smoked Fish
To smoke fish, Native Americans constructed a tepee made of crossed sticks covered
with birch bark. Fish were hung, head down, from the top of the tepee over a smoky
wood fire built in a bucket or kettle below. Canvas can be substituted for the birch
- 4 small brook trout or chubs, about 1/2 pound each
- 1/2 cup kosher or sea salt
- 1 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed bay leaf
- 2 to 3 cups maple, pecan or hickory wood chips
- Clean fish and rinse well under cold water; mix salt, maple sugar, pepper and
bay leaf. Pat fish dry and rub inside and out with seasoning mixture. Place fish
in a cool, dry place for about 1 hour.
- Rinse fish and hang from the gills in a cool, dry, breezy place to air-dry for
about 30 minutes. Place wood chips in water to soak.
- If you do not have a smoker or wish to build the traditional Indian one, build
a charcoal fire in a large covered grill with all vents open. While the fire is
burning down, loop a piece of kitchen string under the gills of each trout. Bring
ends of string through the vent holes of the grill cover and tie together so that
fish are suspended from lid and their tails remain at least 6 inches above coals.
When coals have burned down and are covered with white ash, sprinkle a third of
the damp wood chips over the fire and place lid on grill. Smoke trout for about
1 hour, adding more damp wood chips every 15 to 20 minutes to keep up smoke.
- Remove fish and serve hot or at room temperature.
If refrigerated, the smoked fish will last about one week.