Male hand holding bunch of three appetizing golden smoked breams offering popular fish snacks on black wooden background
Hot-Smoked Fish: The Bacon Alternative
You Should Experiment With
By Elaina Friedman
Not all bacon is traditionally smoked, but it always tastes deliciously smoky, as some manufacturers inject it with liquid smoke to speed up the preservation process. However, if you're cutting back on your red meat intake and still crave that smokiness, try hot-smoked fish as a perfectly smoky, meaty alternative that surprisingly tastes a lot like bacon.
To make smoked fish, start by soaking some good-smelling wood chips of your choice in water for an hour and drain them before adding them to the coals of your charcoal grill. If you're working with something like trout filets, the grill will get your smoked fish ready in 12 to 15 minutes, at which point the fish will be cooked through while staying moist.
Cookbook author Ali Slagle calls smoked fish "the bacon of the sea" and recommends using trout, salmon, mackerel, white fish, or tuna. In her recipe for "Baked Potato With Smoked Fish Butter," Slagle works her flaky smoked fish into eight tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter, adding chopped dill, scallions, and black pepper, leaving the salt to the fish itself.
While Slagle uses the butter in baked potatoes, you can also spread it on toast or use it as an indulgent base for your next butter board. To experiment further with smoked fish, try flaking it into salads or over scrambled eggs, adding it to creamy pasta dishes for a salty kick, or eating it on its own.