Added Apr 02 2012
I really enjoy spending time preparing low and slow cooked food outdoors. Anyone else? Care to share how you shop, prepare and cook? For the smoked fish in the attached photo here's what I did:
3333 North Kimball Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618
Bought the frozen Norway Mackeral, and the smaller yellow croakers in the box in their freezer. What you see is about 12 dollars worth of fish.
Thawed them, scaled them, gutted the fish. rinsed then dried thoroughly. In a baking pan used course sea salt and covered all of them with it. Placed in fridge for 1 hour. Rinsed them with running water to get salt chunks off, dunked them in cold water. Dried them thoroughly. Placed them on the rack, brought the rack outside. Let them sit in shade (it was 50 degrees out) for about 1/2 to form a pellicle.
Took the 22 inch Weber Kettle, used Royal Oak briquettes, placed a dozen hot coals with a chunk of cherry wood in, internal temp of weber up to 190F. Placed rack of fish opposite side of the coals. Probably opened the kettle 3 times in dduring the 3.5 hour cook. Internal temp of kettle at grate level fluctuated between 185 and 235. Added wood two times. Bottom air holes were wide open, top I opened full too. It wasn't real windy yesterday.
Internal temp of the fattest mackeral hit 172F.
Didn't use a drip pan and didn't use a pan of water over the coals either. Essentially dry heat and smoke.
I enjoy eating smoked fish when it's chilled.