Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)
Protein-20.21%, Fat-2.41%, Water-77.97%
The sheepshead, also known as convict fish, is a bottom feeding rock fish that reaches 10 to 20 inches with average weight 3 - 4 pounds. It has sharp dorsal spines and 5 to 6 dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background. Sheepshead has several rows of strong teeth, which help crush the shells of oysters, clams, and other bivalves, and barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans. Sheepshead like warm waters, they can be found from the Mid-Atlantic to Texas. They are delicious to eat.
- Wash the fish and remove the scales. Clean and gut the fish, remove the gills.
- Brine for 15 minutes in 80º brine. (Add 2.2 lbs of salt to 1 gallon of water. This makes 80 degrees brine). Wash and drain.
- Dry the fish for 60 minutes at 100° F (38° C). A light smoke allowed.
- Increase the temperature to 212° F (100° C) and smoke with medium dense smoke for 1 hour.
- Smoke for additional hour gradually dropping the temperature to 176° F (80° C).
Smoked Sheepshead Fillet
- Fillet the fish.
- Brine the 1/2”fillets for 5 minutes in 80º brine. Wash and drain.
- Dry fillets for 60 minutes in a smokehouse preheated to 100° F (38° C). A light smoke allowed.
- Smoke for 60 minutes at 185° F (85 C).