Who remembers going to that secret place in the stream with a hīnaki and getting a catch of eels, bringing them home and watching mum or dad smoke them? Well here's how to prepare and smoke an eel thanks to the folk over at rural.co.nz:
Step 1- Use rubber kitchen gloves, as they are slimy little fellas. Take the eel and place in a plastic bag with a good few handfuls of salt. Shake so that the eel is covered. Leave for a couple of hours. This helps draw some moisture from the skin and allows you to scrape the slime off easier.
Step 2 – Take eel out of salt and, using a knife, scrape as much of the slime off the fish and then wash excess salt off. Gut the eel from it’s anus to its jaw and wash out gut cavity.
Step 3 – Mix 1kg of salt with 7 - 8 litres of water or 500 grams with four litres. Place the eel into the mix for approximately 8-10 minutes. Dry thoroughly using an old towel or cloth. Hang in dry place for a couple of hours, away from flies and your cat, to dry off some more.
Step 4 – Take the now dry eel and prepare for smoking. Depending on the size of your smoker, either hang the eel with head on or off, or for those using smaller smokers butterfly the eel and cut into 10cm lengths. Cover flesh in some brown sugar to enhance flavours.
Step 5 – Prepare your smoker using Manuka or Pohutakawa chips. A few rosemary twigs will add a bit more flavour. For best results, smoke over a longer period at a cooler temp, but you can still get great results out of a basic smoker.