5 pounds mullet butterfly fillets
1 gallon water
1 pound hickory branches or chips
2 quarts water
1 cup salt
Make a brine solution by combining 1 gallon of water and salt (real salt). Stir until the salt is dissolved. Place the fish in the brine and let soak refrigerated for about 30 minutes.
Remove the fish from the brine; rinse thoroughly and dry.
If you live around Niceville, gather some dried hickory branches. If there isn’t a hickory tree in your neighbor’s yard, get yourself some of those store-bought hickory chips and soak them in 2 quarts of water for several hours or overnight. Keep the chips in a cool place to keep them from taking on a mildew or sour aroma.
To smoke fish, use a hooded or covered charcoal, electric or gas grill. The heat must be kept low. if using charcoal, fewer briquettes are necessary than for regular grilling. Cover charcoal or ceramic briquettes with approximately 1/3 of the wet chips. The wet chips provide lower temperatures and create smoke which flavors the fish. The remaining chips should be added as needed throughout the cooking process.
Place the butterflied fish or fish fillets, skin side down, on a well-greased grill approximately 4 to 6 inches from the smoking fire. Close the hood on the grill and open vent slightly to keep smoke and air circulating. Smoke fish approximately 1 hour at 150 degrees to 175 degrees, or for about 30 to 45 minutes at 200 degrees. The fish is done when the cut surface is golden brown and the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Makes six servings.