Smoked Halibut

Written by Jared Vincenti
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While most private and commercial fish smokeries traffic mainly in salmon, many also carry smoked halibut. A much lager and much less oily fish than salmon, halibut smokes differently, but is still a popular choice. Halibut steaks can be brined in the same way as salmon, and the woodsmoke adds just as much flavor to a halibut fillet as it does to a salmon fillet.

Ways to Prepare Smoked Halibut

The most common way to make smoked halibut is to make hot smoked halibut. The halibut fillet is brined and put over the fire for smoking, but is allowed to cook at about 100°F. It takes about an hour to fully cook the meat this way, and it is best served hot. Hot smoked halibut also freezes well, and can simply be thawed and re-heated when needed.

Unlike salmon, halibut cannot be made into a lox. Cold smoked salmon still has oils in the flesh that allow the meat to be smooth enough to be used as a spread, but halibut is a very low-oil fish. If halibut is cold smoked, it is only for the flavor, and then must be broiled, baked, or grilled before eating.

Finally, halibut is rarely made into a jerky. While all meats can be cured into a tough-but-chewy variety, halibut's texture can result in it getting crumbly when dried. Really, halibut is best when the meat hasn't dried out, and few if any smokehouses will try to sell halibut jerky.

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