I like to fillet my snapper rather than smoke or bake the whole fish, this leaves the frame and heads to deal with. Up till recently, like many others I either buried the frames in the garden or discarded them not really knowing what else to do with them. We don’t use fish stock for anything so that option was out and I only had a little experience with smoking kahawai in the small hot smoker I own.
Smoking the wings of snapper was a recommendation give to me some time ago but it was only recently I tried it out and WOW I wish I had done this earlier because this part of the snapper tastes fantastic hot smoked! Close to the bone the flesh is tender like crayfish and sweet. After tasting it I can’t believe I have ben discarding this part of the fish up till now.
For those of you that have been smoking or baking the whole fish and/or the fish heads this revelation will come as no surprise, for those of you who have not tried it I can’t recommend it highly enough, the effort is rewarded tenfold by the taste!
This video and pictures will run you through the steps involved in getting the wings off the frame and ready for smoking.
Once snapper are filleted use a large knife to separate the head from the frame. Then using the fillet knife remove the wings from the head. You can also smoke the head, I don’t because my smoker is limited for space so I only smoke the wings.
Clean the wings then wash with fresh water. Then you can start marinating to your liking. I always use sea salt and brown sugar first, rubbing them into the flesh, then sprinkle some of you preferred flavors. Mine are Moroccan and lemon Pepper seasoning, occasionally I will use Cajun… pretty much use what you like or just keep it simple using only salt and sugar.
I leave these to marinate in the fridge or a cool place for about 2hrs, longer of you like. Then into the hot smoker they go….15-20mins later you will be enjoying some of the finest snapper you have tasted! If you are unsure of smoking times or preparing your smoker check the manufacturers specs and recommendations or flick me a question and I will let you know how I do it.
Not only is this bloody tasty it is also rewarding to know I am using more of my catch for the table rather than discarding it..next step is to get a bigger smoker so I can smoke the heads too. Enjoy