Fortunately for you, we will be looking at the smoked mullet recipe in this guide. As you might be aware, mullet is a southeastern favorite to fish for and to eat.
It is caught off the shores of the southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. If you’ve seen them, you will know that mullet fish are jumpers and can’t be classified as the easiest fish to catch.
Thanks to that, mullet happens to be quite a rewarding snag for the recreational or weekend angler.
Now, let’s say you happen to score a large catch or you get one. It is very possible that you would want to smoke the fish in your smoker.
You should be aware that smoking is an excellent way to preserve your fish, or any fish, for that matter.
Mullet is an oily fish that has delicate white flesh and a slightly nutty flavor.
Thanks to the oiliness, it helps to keep the flesh of the fish moist during the smoking process. And, in addition, it provides a decent amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
The mullet is usually butterflied, and the backbone is removed before it goes into the smoker.
You also have the option of smoking the fish with the bones intact, and then you can remove them afterward.
It is highly recommended that you ensure that the fish has been either wet or dry-brined before smoking.
You have the option of enjoying the fillets warm right out of the smoker, and they are often served on a salad.
In addition, the smoked fish can be transformed into one of Florida’s favorite dishes, smoked fish spread or pate.
So, in this guide, we will be exploring a recipe for smoked mullet. Let’s get right into it.
Are Mullets Good to Eat?
It seems that seafood that comes with low amounts of mercury and high concentrations of fat (omega-3 fatty acids) is the best for consumption health-wise.
So, keep in mind that seafood that comes with plenty of accumulated mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) is the worst. They are also on the “do not eat” list that was published by the Florida Department of Health.
To name a few, that list includes bluefish, king mackerel, and jacks. However, on the other hand, seafood such as scallops, sardines, shrimp, flounder, Spanish mackerel, and mullet are low in mercury and good for consumption.
In the days when there were two distinct groups of Floridians, mullets were regarded as “Sunday dinner” on the west and “bait” on the east coast.
However, in the world today, regularly, people in all parts of the state are now enjoying this oily fish, fried or smoked.
It is quite essential to realize that even though mullets can be found in both salt and freshwater environments, those from freshwater come with a muddy taste, and this is a debate often professed by the “mullets are bait” crowd.
In Florida, two distinct species—black (striped) and silver—predominate. Both have great taste, but it is always crucial to ask your fishmonger or restaurant server about the origin of their mullet. Also, ensure that you go for the one with clear eyes and a fresh ocean smell.
How to Prepare Mullets
When it comes to preparing mullets, the first step to preparing a successful and delicious mullet dinner is to clean the fish.
I prefer to scale the fish that will be fried and leave the scales on the fish to be smoked.
After that, you are to proceed to salt the resulting fillets and refrigerate them overnight. However, make sure that it is covered.
You should also know that this brining is essential, and it will make a huge difference at the table.
Smoked Mullet Recipe
Make note that disposable turkey roasting pans from the supermarket are excellent when it comes to brining the fish.
You can try bluefish, amberjack, mackerel, or even salmon if you can’t find mullet in your area; just make sure you lower the smoking for fillets instead of split fish.
- Cuisine: American
- Category: Seafood
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Additional Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
- Total Time: 7 hours and 35 minutes
- Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 5 pounds of split mullet
- Hickory wood chips
- 1 gallon of water
- 5 bay leaves (crushed)
- ¾ to 1 cup of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
- Saltines (optional)
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Fresh parsley (to garnish)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- First, you are to rinse the fish, then proceed to get a large bowl and add 1 gallon of water to it, and then the next 4 ingredients to it too. Proceed to stir until the salt dissolves.
- After that, add the mullet, cover, and chill for 4 minutes to 2 hours, or your desired degree of saltiness. You can just cut off a small piece of fish and fry it to determine the degree of saltiness by tasting it. Keep in mind that longer soak times always result in saltier fish.
- Now that that is done, also rinse the fish and get rid of the brine mixture, then proceed to pat the fish dry using paper towels. Afterward, place the fish on wire racks in roasting pans, cover them with paper towels, and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until they dry. You are to rub 1 teaspoon of pepper on both sides of each fish.
- When that is done, soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes and prepare the charcoal fire in the smoker, allowing it to burn for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Then, proceed to drain the chips and place them on the coals. Also, place the water pan in the smoker and add water to the depth of the fill line.
- Proceed to place the fish on the upper and lower food racks, then cover them with a smoker lid. Ensure that you place the skin sides down on racks if you are smoking fillets.
- Now, cook for 2 hours, or just until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Then, garnish, but remember that this is based on your preference. You can always serve it with hot sauce, lemon wedges, and saltines if that is what you want.
Storing Smoked Mullet
As already stated, you have the option of enjoying your fish while it is still warm, right out of the smoker.
However, on the other hand, it is also usually eaten after being chilled in the refrigerator.
Oily fish, such as mullet, will last for around 6 days when stored in the refrigerator.
All you have to do is ensure that you wrap it well or place it in a sealed plastic bag.
You can also freeze your smoked dish and store it, which will make it last for at least 6 months.
The fish will even last longer in both the refrigerator and the freezer if you choose to vacuum seal it.
So, I suggest that for the best results, make sure you freeze your fish as soon as possible and keep in mind to label the date on the package.
However, remember that the texture of the defrosted fish might be a little less firm compared to that of freshly smoked mullet.
I’m sure you are aware that smoked mullet is a classic Florida delicacy, but what is interesting is the fact that there are several ways to enjoy this healthy fish.
This smoked mullet is creamy, spicy, and so delicious, which is why you have this easy smoked mullet recipe to make it.