Starting from scratch, both with ingredients and with knowledge, I’ve bought about 15 gurnards at the local fish market, only to find out at home that they were not yet cleaned. Learning curve up ahead, but don’t worry, it’s just fish, so how hard can it be…. ;-).
First I made a cut in the neck of the fish, behind the gills, to the belly, and I opened up the belly of the fish. When cutting up the neck and bones inside, the guts of the fish actually came out themselves, leaving me with a beautiful, clean fish.
Now I removed the spikey backfin and needles and cleaned it up.
These fishes needed to be brined in fresh water with salt. I added 500 grams of salt in about 5 liters of water, and stirred until it was dissolved.
Leaving this for about 1-2 hours, they get a really good salty flavor, enough to make it ‘fingerlicking’ good! I’m really enjoying it so far.
When brining is about te be done, we start the WSM and fire it up with some coals and let it come up to about 100 Celcius.
The ideal temperature for the WSM filled with water. No wood has been added yet. When the Q is warming up, we dry off the fishes after rinsing it with some fresh water. (use an old towel for this, please, but make it a clean one).
Once the Q is about 70 degrees Celcius, we add the dried gurnard and let it dry in the nice ambient temperature of the WSM. When it reaches about 100 degrees, we add 2-3 chuncks of apple wood. Not soaked in water, but just on it. large chunks, that can smoke up to about 30-45 minutes. The fishes can be on there for about 1-1,5 hours.
When it’s done, I served it with some oven fried potato chips with rosemary and garlic. Awesome! Fish and chips!