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A common deli fare, smoked sturgeon is anything but. The higher fat content helps it to maintain a wonderful tender texture through the smoking process. There are so many ways to customize the final flavor from changing the cure ratio or ingredients to the type of wood used to achieve the smokiness. This recipe is an excellent jumping off point to further explore how you want your smoked sturgeon to taste.
If you don’t have a smoker at home, see the Chef’s Note below and follow the steps to rig your home grill into a smoker!
Recipe by Wulf's team member Abe Margosian
*Chef’s Tip - for a charcoal grill, get the grill up to the desired temperature with all the coals on one side and the thermometer on the other side of the grill. Next you can add some pre-soaked wood chips to the coals. I like to take them out of water a little in advance of using them, to avoid any excess water hitting the coals. Let them smoke up and come back up to temperature. Then add the fish to the side of the grill with the thermometer (not the coals), put the lid on with the vent slightly open (not a lot to prevent heat escape) above the fish. This pulls the smoke over the fish while it smokes. Then it’s all about letting it do its thing with minimal interference. The tough part about a grill versus a smoker is it’s harder to accurately control the temperature of a grill without opening the chamber to check. I would recommend a probe thermometer, if you have one, to be able to temp the fish and temp the side of the grill with the fish. Once the fish is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest until it is cool enough to go into the fridge, and then cut it the next day. I have never done a long smoke with this grill method, but I have smoked items for flavor in a similar way.
*Never use a probe thermometer on fire. It messes with the gauge, often permanently so.
Begin by combining the salt, sugar, and garlic powder in a bowl. Set aside.
Next, clean any excess fat and bloodline from the sturgeon fillet and pat dry with paper towels.
Liberally cover sturgeon in salt mixture and let sit on a rack in the fridge for an hour per pound of fish. In this case 1 hour will do.
Rinse the salt off and then pat dry with paper towels and leave in the fridge overnight to dry.
The next day, start your smoker and bring the temperature up to about 160F
Brush the fish with whiskey right before putting it into the smoker.
Smoke the sturgeon for about 3 hours or until desired smoke level and internal temperature reaches 135-140F.
Pull, let cool, and then the smoked sturgeon is ready to serve! You will get the cleanest slices (and it will be easiest to slice) when it’s completely cooled.
Enjoy on a baguette with crème fraîche and horseradish, or just slice it up and eat it on its own.