Smoked eel is a real delicacy and is very popular in Europe.
- 80° brine. (Add 2.2 lbs of salt to 1 gallon of water. This makes 80 degrees brine).
- Eel is a slimy fish and its skin has to be scraped with salt or sawdust to remove all traces of slime. Then it is rinsed with water. The eels are gutted, and the belly is slit beyond the vent in order to remove the kidney. All traces of blood are removed, and the eel is rinsed again. The head is left on.
- The processing steps, eels about 1-2 lb weight:
- Cleaned eels are brined in brine for 2 hours or they may be lightly salted instead.
- Eels are rinsed with water. The fish is impaled on a stick inserted from the stomach cavity up to behind the head.
- The fish is dried for 1-2 hours.
- Eels are hot smoked for 3 hours at 140° F (60° C) or higher. At the beginning they should be smoked at high temperature to prevent closing of the stomach cavity. After a while the fish hardens and the temperature can be lowered. To check whether the fish is cooked, press on its sides and the meat should separate from the backbone.