Long long story, but I have a beautiful bluefish that I need to smoke. It has been brining for several days, and is now at the ‘tacky’ stage, coming to room temperature. Then I will smoke. The big question is what kind of wood to use? I am leaning towards Alder, but Cherry or Apple might be nice too.

Any suggestions?

Applewood is a good choice. I have also used hickory in the past.

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I had already started the smoking with Alder when you responded. I think that the Apple wood would have been a bit more in keeping with this fish. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it though! Just next time, I will try a different wood flavor. Thanks for responding!

My brother in law who is our families top fisherman and Bluefish connoisseur confirmed that alder wood works very nicely as well.

With blue fish, size matters. For the smaller fish under 4 lbs a mild wood would probably be sufficient. For the big oily slammers a strong wood couldn’t hurt.

The alder smoke was perfect! All my self-doubts have been laid to the side. Even people who claimed that they didn’t like smoked bluefish, including the person who caught it, ate every pit of the “pate” I made with it. Next time I make this “pate,” I will use smoked alder salt to complement the alder smoke.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2