Sweety had a blast yesterday at Picnic Island Beach playing with other peoples' dogs as we gazed at those many many thousands of dead and dying fish in the waves. When I went to bed last night I had a deep freezer JAMMED with free fish. So today I took Sweety back to see what was going on...far fewer dying fish, VAST numbers of dead ones, including big mackerel I'd have snagged were they alive vs. cloudy eyed and with rigor mortis. But I did get me a few dying angel fish/spade fish and snappers with the intent of smoking them in my homemade smoker, which is nothing more than a domed barbecue I dumpster dived, with the grille atop 4 red housebricks standing on their ends for extra height from the coals (I got the idea on-line a couple years ago from a Tampa Bay mullet smoking site.)
I usually soak fish for smoking overnight in the spiced brine, but these soaked maybe just half an hour since it was all very spur of the moment. Very yummy brine of water, sea salt, sugar, powdered habanero peppers, allspice, garlic, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Before I began cleaning the fish and making the brine, I lit some dumpster dived all natural charcoal in the smoker, to get the coals ready. I soaked the snappers and angel fish in the brine as the charcoal turned into hot coals, which I spread evenly across the bottom of the smoker then let them sit to die down a little.
I placed the brined fish atop the hot grille, shoved a few handfuls of green oak twigs atop the hot coals beneath the grille, waited till they ignited, then closed the dome lid to cut air flow so they'd smoke. I checked about a half hour later, and decided to smoke them maybe 20 minutes more.
They came out EXCELLENT and will be stored in what little space remains in my fridge freezer. Free fish, free charcoal, free smoker, a few cents worth of spices.....hey, life doesn't get any better for a cheap urban farmer like me!