During the spawning season, experienced anglers land many crappies by using the best fishing methods and baits. These crappies are stored in coolers until the anglers get to their sheds. If the crappies are not properly preserved, they can go bad and be wasted. One of the best methods of preserving crappies is by smoking them.
Smoked crappies can be preserved for as long as two weeks or a month depending on the extent of smoking. Smoking is also a method of preparing crappies as a meal. In situations where the crappies are being smoked for immediate consumption, other preparations will be made such as marinating them and serving the smoked crappies with barbeque sauce. Smoked crappies are tasty; they have a smoked flavor which enriches the taste when eaten.
How to Smoke Crappies
A smoker is needed for this process. They are equipment designed for smoking crappies in different ways according to the needs of the chef. You can find the electric fish smokers which have features such as the temperature control, time control and optional trays for smoking crappies. The electric fish smokers are very easy to use, they require less monitoring and can be used to smoke large numbers of crappies at the same time.
The open smokers are the regular open tray models used to prepare barbeque. They require the use of wood or apple chips to give the crappies that attractive smoky flavor.
Crappie Smoking methods
You can either choose to use the cold or hot smoking method for your crappies. The cold smoking method involves smoking crappies at a lower temperature which (40-130 degrees Fahrenheit), for about 6 to 12 hours. While hot smoking is done at higher temperatures between 210 and 225 degrees.
Before smoking crappies, they are washed and cleaned. Crappies can either be smoked whole or as fillets. The crappies to be smoked are soaked in brine made from salt, brown sugar, some garlic cloves, and water.
The crappies are soaked all night, sometimes for as long as 24-hours. After this is done, the crappies are placed in a smoker which has already been pre-heated to the appropriate temperature and smoked for about 2 to 4 hours. The crappies are ready to be taken out when the flesh turns flaky. Smoked crappies are then refrigerated until they are needed to be prepared as a meal.
Eating smoked crappies
To prepare by smoking for immediate consumption, you will need to marinade your crappies. After marinating for a few hours, place the crappies or fillets in the smoking tray, add your preferred seasoning and set the smoker to about 250 degrees (some chefs start smoking crappies at a very low temperature and gradually increase the temperature until the crappies are ready).
Serve the smoked crappies with your special brand of barbeque sauce and other foods such as coleslaw, vegetables, or some beans. The list of possible combinations with smoked crappie is endless. There are also many exciting smoked crappie recipes you can try. The important points to note are getting the temperature right and duration of smoking to ensure your crappie gets that lovely smoky flavor.