Gadzookes!! You just looked in the freezer and found a bag of fish that’s been zipped up tight for so long you forgot about it? And, while you hate to see it go to waste, you know it won’t be incredibly tasty at this point? Never fear, waste-not-want-not anglers, we have the solution.
- Fill the biggest bowl you own halfway with water, and add a cup of kosher salt, a cup of brown sugar, a dash of Old Bay, double-dashes of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, and a smattering of garlic. Then drop in the frozen fillets (cut away any blatantly freezer-burned sections), and place the bowl in the fridge.
- Fast forward 36 to 48 hours. By now the marinade has had time to work its magic on the formerly flawed fillets and will have overpowered any flagrantly fishy fragrance.
- It’s time to get smoking! We think hickory works best in this scenario, though different people have different preferences and you may find apple, cherry, or mesquite more to your liking.
- Smoke the fish over a low heat (200-ish degrees is a good bet) until the moisture that forms atop the fillets has cooked away and the meat appears fairly dry and firm. This will take a matter of hours, not minutes.
True, the resulting pseudo-jerky won’t retain much of the fish’s original taste. No, it won’t last for weeks like the real thing (but it will go six to seven days in the fridge and can be vacuum-bagged and frozen with good results). But if you like smokey fishy jerky the resulting culinary treat will be way worth the effort — and that fish won’t have lost its life for nothing.