Before moving to Manitoba we had never seen a Goldeye; however, they’re an abundant fish species here. Lake Winnipeg and the Red River are full of them. They’re easy to catch and many folks use them for catfish bait here. Many people catch them for food as well. One of the first things mentioned to us by other anglers in Manitoba was that you haven’t tasted a true Manitoban treat until you’ve had smoked Goldeye. Seeing as we both love fishing, and we both love smoked fish, it seemed quite natural that we try our luck in both catching some of these bright silver fish as well as smoking some Goldeye ourselves. After poking around some internet forums and foodie websites, this is the recipe we settled on….and it is delicious! Served with bread or crackers, you’ll probably also want to have some cheese, in particular, brie, to go along with it. Be warned though, it won’t last long!
Oak Smoked Goldeye ~ Recipe
1 cup coarse salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 ground pepper
1 tbs rosemary
1 tbs ground thyme
12 bay leaves
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs ground ginger
1/3 c kikomon soy sauce
hot water to dissolve
cold water to cover
- Prepare the goldeye for smoking. Start by cleaning and gutting the fish. Next, remove the scales. A butter knife gently scraped from tail to head does this quickly and easily.
- Make the brine. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add salt, sugar, maple syrup and stir constantly until both the salt and sugar have dissolved completely.
- Add the pepper, rosemary, ground thyme, bay leaves, garlic, ginger and soy sauce to the mix.
- Allow the brine to cool. Pour the mixture into a container large enough to hold all of the goldeye.
- Add the fish and as much cold water as needed to completely cover the fish.
- Cover and refrigerate the fish and brine mixture for 24-48 hours.
- After soaking in the brine, remove the fish and discard the brine.
- Allow the fish to dry for an hour or two. There should be a slightly sticky/tacky coating on the inside and outside of the fish. Drying allows the smoke to penetrate the meat better than smoking it wet.
- Fire up your smoker and allow the chamber to heat to 180 – 200f.
- Once up to temperature, lay the fish on the racks, or hang them if you have the option to do so.
- Keep the chamber filled with thick smoke for a minimum of 1 hour. It may take longer depending on how many and what size fish you are using.
- Continue smoking until an internal temperature of 140-150f is reached. The fish are ready at this point, but you may wish to smoke longer to create a more intense flavour, and to dry the fish out a little more. Dryness of the finished product is personal preference. 3 – 4 hours is how long we usually smoke them for.
- Remove the fish from the smoker and allow to cool on a rack until you are able to handle them.
Smoked goldeye will keep in the fridge for a week or so. The fish can be frozen for longer storage with some quality loss. Particularly the texture of the fish is what may deteriorate when frozen for extended periods.