This is a dry cure approach to smoking fish, which I like a little better than the brine option: It seems to draw out excess moisture faster. The spices I use are what I like, but you can feel free to alter to your taste. Don't change the salt and sugar, though. If you can't use alcohol, skip that step and just dry the fish without the coating of booze. This method will work with any sort of fish you can cut into blocks: tuna, salmon, white seabass, big redfish or catfish, tilefish, swordfish, shark, marlin, albacore, etc.
Servings: 5 pounds
- 3 to 5 pounds sturgeon, in large blocks
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon mace
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Brandy or whisky to coat salmon
Trim the sturgeon of any fat or dark meat. Cut the pieces into regular blocks, like rectangles. Mix the salt, sugar and spices together, then coat the fish with it. Put into a covered, non-reactive container (plastic, ceramic, stainless steel) and set in the fridge to cure for as many hours as each block of sturgeon weighs, i.e., if you cut 1 pound blocks, they should be salted for only about 1 hour.
Remove the sturgeon from the cure and rinse. Pat dry with paper towels, then brush brandy or whisky all over the sturgeon. Set on a rack in the fridge uncovered until the next day.
Smoke over very low heat -- about 160°F -- until it's smoked the way you like it. I go for 4 hours.
Allow to cool fully before vacuum sealing and storing. It will keep for a week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer if it has been vacuum sealed.