Dissecting The Nigerian Smoked Fish
Stop any Nigerian on the street and ask what ofe nsala, ogbonno & egusi soup have in common and one answer will far outrank all others: smoked fish! My people, you know that you know that you know that no bona fide naija soup can exist without smoked fish! It is the ying to Naija soup yang, the cheese to Naija soup macaroni, in fact, it is the one and only, sugar to the perfect Naija soup's tea.
But for those of us who live thousands of miles away from Epe or Makoko, where to buy the perfect smoked fish can feel like the mission to Mars: so close, yet so far away.
Often, we end up settling for the less than perfect, bone dry, sorry looking crap at the nearest African store but do we really have to?
Even if you live in Yaba and Makoko is just round the corner, with the hassle of Lagos traffic, it might as will be a thousand miles away. In the time it takes you to go to the market and come back, person wey dey do am herself don finish!
I know; you’re like spill it already? How do I make the perfect smoked fish.. Patience my dear sistahs. First, we are going to consider what kinds of fish can smoke or grill, which method is best for smoking fish and the must-have ingredients for the perfect smoked fish.
What Kind Of Fish Can You Smoke?
Technically, you can grill any kind of fish and in fact one of the joys of home smoking your fish is that you can experiment with grilling types of fish that you won't usually find in the market. That said the most popular fish for grilling are catfish, croaker, titus eja osan or asa (which by the way is the only fish you can give your in-laws as part of the traditional wedding ceremony gift pack but that's a matter for another day). We should mention here that fattier fish will absorb the smoke flavor better so catfish and eja osan are perfect for smoking.What Are the Perfect Ingredients For Smoking Fish
The perfect smoked fish starts with the perfect fresh fish. If that trip to the market is too much for you, We feel you. Sometimes, your body is just like 'abeg, I no fit'. But pls don't compromise on freshness. You can order same day delivered, Lagos lagoon fresh fish from Fresh to dommot
What Is the Best Way to Smoke Fish
When it comes to how to grill, outdoor smoking on an open grill if preferable to in-door grilling in an oven but the former will work just as well. Details on how to season and grill smoked fish can be found on our blog post on how to smoke catfish (ps: this pretty much works for any time of fish).
We should mention that you have the option of hot smoking or cold smoking but for today's conversation, we will focus on hot smoking. To get the perfect smoked fish, follow the below steps:
Descale, gut and clean your fish thoroughly
- Season your fish with salty and Maggi and if you want a spicy tinge to the taste, you can add some fresh or dry pepper
- If you want to, you can leave the fish to stand for about an hour or two to absorb this seasoning but this step is not necessary since the fish will absorb the seasoning while smoking
- If you're using a grill with temperature control, set the temperature at 200 degrees F. Keeping the temperature low extends cooking time and thus ensures that the fish absorbs the seasoning while smoking
- Place your fish on the smoker grate and close the lid.
- Turn the fish every 30 to 45 minutes for about 2 -3 hours until it is cooked
- If you don't plan to use all of your smoked fish on the same day, you should freeze it while it is fresh.