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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Smokin' Mullet

Menu Notes:
  • This recipe is an old family recipe—not ours: it was provided and cooked for us by the Lawson family of St. Petersburg, Florida. Thank you  James, Wanda, and Jaron for adding to our favorite dishes.
  • Although the recipe calls for one fish per person, we cooked five mullet for four people, and used the leftovers in a delicious spread for sandwiches—also a Lawson family recipe.
The Ingredients (for 4 people):
  • 4 fresh mullet, each weighing about 450 gram (or 1 lb)
  • 4 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small onion
  • Barbecue coals or an equivalent heating element
  • 1 bag (2.62 dm³ or 160 cu in) hickory chips

The Method:
  1. Clean and scale the mullet if this was not done at the market.
  2. Marinate the mullet in olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper for 2 hours.
  3. Soak the hickory chips in water for at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat coals under a grill and, when they are white-hot, push them aside to make room for the hickory chips.
  5.  Place the hickory chips in an aluminum pie dish, sprinkle a few chips over the coals, then place the pie dish under the grill near the coals.
  6. Allow the hickory chips in the dish to heat up and begin to emit smoke.
  7. Slice the lemon thinly.
  8. Slice the onions thinly.
  9. Stuff each fish with one quarter of the lemon and onion slices
  10. Place the mullet, with their marinade, on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover them, and crimp the foil lightly closed around them.
  11. Place the mullet on top of the grill, directly over the hickory chips.
  12. Cover the grill and close the top vents to lower the heat of the coals.
  13. Allow the mullet to smoke for 45 min, then uncover the fish and replace the grill cover.
  14. Allow the mullet to smoke for another 15 min, or until they are reddish-gold and fork-tender.

The Story:

It's easy to eat a whole smoked mullet, so if you want to have sandwiches for lunch the next day, smoke an extra fish and put it in the refrigerator. After patiently pulling the flesh off the bones, add chopped scallion, mayonnaise, and Tabasco sauce to make a mixture similar to tuna salad—but much more tasty. I had mine in a pita pocket with arugula.

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