How to Smoke Carp

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Salt and pepper are key ingredients in smoked carp.
Salt and pepper are key ingredients in smoked carp. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Weighing in at 1 to 7 pounds, and measuring between 15 and 22 inches, carp are large fish with high fat content ideal for smoking. Unfortunately, carp inhabiting some waters contain high levels of contaminants and pollutants, and should not be consumed. So get informed before consuming carp prepared in any fashion from unfamiliar lakes or rivers. Smoking carp is a length process, but the tasty final product is well worth the effort for smoked fish fans.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 lbs carp fillets, skin-on
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly ground black or red pepper
  • Wood chips

Smoking Carp

Lay out carp fillets on a large plate or tray. Coat both sides with salt, sugar and pepper.

Wrap the carp on the plate tightly in plastic wrap, making sure there are no gaps and very little air can escape.

Leave the fish overnight in the refrigerator.

Soak your favorite wood chips in water for several hours before you plan to smoke your carp fillets.

Take your carp out of the plastic wrap and leave it on wire racks for an hour in the refrigerator or until its flesh develops a slightly shiny or glazed appearance.

Light or turn on your smoker, and place a small fire-safe dish of water inside to keep the carp moist on the grill.

Grease the smoker racks lightly with olive oil to keep your carp from sticking, and place the fish inside the smoking racks inside the smoker.

Add a handful of wood chips to the fire when you place your fish in the smoker, and every 20 minutes after that for at least two hours, until the fish turns golden brown and flaky.

Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the thickest piece of carp to monitor the temperature of your smoked carp. The carp must be cooked to at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes within the first six hours of smoking for safe consumption.

Store fully cooked carp, after it is cooled off, in waxed paper in the refrigerator. Enhance smoked carp's smokey flavor by letting it sit one to two days and serving it cold.

Freeze for later use or consume all smoked carp within two weeks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use different types of woodchips for different flavors. Hickory chips create a pungent smokey flavor, while fruit woods produce a sweeter smokey flavor. Some people prefer to mix different types of wood chips.
  • Choose your woodchips in accordance with the type of smoker you are using and comply with all safety indications included with your smoker.
  • Add different types of sugars, salts and spices to tweak the flavor of your smoked carp to your liking.
  • Serve sliced thin on toast with cream cheese, or use it to make a smoked carp spread.

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