Mullet (Mugil cephalus), Protein-19.35%, Fat-3.79%, Water-77.01%

As mullet is most abundant in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea, we may assume that this is where the most fish will be smoked. The climate is hot there so the hot smoking method will be applied, although one can cold smoke fish at night hours in December, January and February.



Jumping mullet. <em>Photo courtesy Benjamin Cox, North Carolina.</em>

Jumping mullet. Photo courtesy Benjamin Cox, North Carolina.

Bucket full of mullet

Bucket full of mullet.

Mullet caught on a pier

Mullet caught on a pier.

Mullet are a coastal species that have an affinity for tropical and warm temperate waters. Many consider the Gulf of Mexico to be mullet country, and of course they are everywhere in West Florida. They can be seen jumping out of the water.

However, they can be found throughout the entire east coast of the United States reaching Nova Scotia, Canada, and on the west coast of the United States from Southern California down to Chile, the coast of Brazil, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the coast of France, around the entire coast of Africa, Taiwan, and in Australia. As the water temperature rises in the summer months, mullet wander into and are more abundant in brackish and freshwater. Mullet are able to tolerate wide salinity and temperature levels of water and those characteristics allow the fish to prosper in many areas of the world. There are two common types of mullet found throughout the Gulf of Mexico. The silver mullet and the striped mullet. The striped mullet is a larger fish ranging from around 1 to 2 feet and the silver mullet measures up to one foot. Mullet are vegetarians that eat detritus, which is disintegrated material found at the bottom. It is almost futile to catch mullet with a fishing rod. To catch mullet you need a cast net.

Cast netting is not just a skill, it is an art.

Adam Marianski casting net in St.Petersburg, Florida.

Throwing net requires some practice. You can find all about the technique in the book: "The Amazing Mullet.” Cast netting is legal in Florida.

A catch of mullet. On a lucky full moon throw you can get 50 or more mullet. There is a bonus: you get other fish, including crabs.

A catch of mullet. On a lucky full moon throw you can get 50 or more mullet. There is a bonus: you get other fish, including crabs.

Smoking Mullet

Mullet is semi-fat fish which is great when smoked. The fish is very easy to clean and is usually smoked “butterfly” style.

Smoked mullet

Smoked mullet.

Cold Smoked Mullet

Split mullet . Wash well and drain.
Dredge in salt, and pack in a container, cover with salt. Salt for 2 hours. Rinse and place on wire screens. Air dry for 2 hours.
Cold smoke at <80° F (27° C) for 12 hours with light smoke. Apply medium dense smoke and smoke for 12 hours more (total smoking time 24 hours).

Hot Smoked Mullet

Split mullet.
Immerse for 10 minutes in 80° brine. (Add 2.2 lbs of salt to 1 gallon of water. This makes 80 degrees brine).
Rinse well and drain. Air dry for 1 hour.
Smoke with a light smoke at 100° F (38° C) for 60 minutes.
Smoke with a dense smoke at 176° F (80° C) for 90 minutes.

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