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Basic Fish Brine

Monday, 26 May 2008


The most basic brine consists of water and kosher salt, but because the salt solution is absorbed into the fish, it can also be used to carry other flavors with it to enhance the smoked fish. This recipe works well for any fish fillet or whole fish that will be hot-smoked.


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2 quarts
  • 2 quarts water, divided

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup coarse kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 4 bay leaves


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring one quart of water to a low simmer. Add remaining ingredients, except water, and simmer until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and add remaining cold water.

Refrigerate the brine until it cools to below 40°F. Add the fish, weighing it down with a reusable ice pack if necessary, and brine, refrigerated, for the appropriate length of time.


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