Smoked Paddle-Fish Recipe
Paddle fish are a cousin to sturgeon and are also known as spoonbill, spoonbill cat and shovel nose cat. Paddle fish seldom bite a baited hook, but on occasion are “snagged” accidentally by anglers using treble hooks.
Spoonbill is a great tasting fish – as long as you clean it right. A fish under 65 pounds is the best tasting; smaller even better.
If you only keep the ones under 10 pounds, you usually do not have to trim the red meat. At 15 pounds the red meat begins to get oily and needs to be trimmed (in the directions below). The best ones yield three 4″ fillets from each side.
As soon as you land the fish you would do the following:
Tip 1: Kill the fish as soon as you have it in the boat (hit it on the head), tie a line through it’s gill plate, cut both sides of the gills off and put the fish back in the water. Let it bleed out. This will get rid of the soured blood taste.
Tip 2: Keep the fish cold. This is very important. If you have ice, put it down into the belly of the fish – you want to cool down the meat as soon as possible.
Tip 3: There are no bones in paddle fish, so filleting them are very simple. The third most important step to guarantee great taste is removing the long fibrous “cord” (really looks like a spinal cord). It’s the first thing you remove from the fish so the fillets are not ruined.
You can cut around the tailbone at the tail, then saw the tailbone/backbone off the ribs and pull the tailbone right out. You cut off all the red meat and gray fatty tissue. One speck of red meat will ruin the flavor. Then you can cut into steaks. Place in salt water for 30 minutes to cool.
You may soak them in buttermilk for a few hours to remove any smell or taste that is left over. Guarantees great results. Now on to the recipes!
SMOKED PADDLE FISH RECIPE (Smoked Spoonbill recipe)
Paddle fish, 2″ x 3″ x 4″ chunks or small fillets
Brine fish for 24 hours.
2 gallons’ water
2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of Three Little Pigs All Purpose Rub
1) Dry on a rack in the refrigerator overnight.
2) Lightly cover spoonbill Filet in garlic infused Olive Oil
3) Lightly dust the Filet with Three Little Pigs All-Purpose Rub
4) Get Smoker temperature to 225 Degrees
5) Add Filet to smoker and then add your choice of flavor wood, I prefer Apple of Cherry.
6) Smoke filet to 150-155 degrees
7 ) Lightly glaze the filet with Three Little Pig’s Competition BBQ sauce for a nice finish.
Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces and Good-One Smoker/Grills