The largest herring caught in autumn are called "Harvest Herring". They are fat and are with eggs or "milk". Eggs are a delicacy, so let the eggs remain in the herring during the smoking process.
Clean the herrings free from scales on the boat in the basket provided, so you will save many a clean-up of fish scales when you get home.
When returning home start removing the eyes, use a potato knife. Cut up from the anus to the head and pinch out the intestines, but let the eggs remain in the herring. Herring meat is usually soft, so here I do not use a stiff brush to clean the blood off with. Use the nail on your thumb. I may have 30 to 40 herring in my smokig oven, but remember herring may not touch each other, if so they are not nice golden on the sides. This recipe is adapted my Smoke oven.
A good advice. Be careful not to cut too much up in the head because the fish is hung on a spear through the eyes. The head can then loosen and the fish is falling down. A good tip is to use wooden sticks of 6 mm. A wooden stick is not hot as an iron spear, so the fish remains on the wooden stick.
Wet salting: I make a strong brine of 15% or 14 °Baume: To 12 liters of cold water add 2,165 kg of fine salt, it fits 30 - 40 large, nice herrings between 150 g and 250 g, which fits my salt jar and smokig oven. The salt must be completely dissolved in the cold water before the fish are put into the brine. If you need a smaller or larger amount of brine, you can use this Excel spreadsheet to calculate the amount of salt.
Fish of this size may well be in the brine for 6 to 8 hours, but try yourself if you have larger or smaller fish. Remember that water temperatures should not exceed 5 °C. It is no problem in October and November, but otherwise one must use a refrigerator.
Once the fish have been overnight in the brine, they are taken up and rinse thoroughly with cold water for blood and mucus residues which the brine has forced out of the fish. The fish hung out to dry. The drying time is hard to predict, as the weather played a part. The fish should not hang in the sunlight, but like in the draft. Beware of flies here in the summertime. I have made two frames with Tesa mosquito net for windows, the first on top of smokig oven, and the second set in front of the gate. Now the fish are first dried in the smokig oven without the fly come to the fish. Until now I have dried the fish for 2 to 4 hours so the skin does not stick to your fingers anymore. News: A cage lined with nets, I have also made.
Now the herring should be smoked:
Oven temperature starting at 80 °C. The herring are smoked in 30 minutes with the "Hat" slightly open.
The oven temperature is reduced to 67 ° C and the herring are smoked for 2 hours with closed "Hat".
The oven temperature is now lowered to 50 ° C and the herring are further smoked for 30 minutes with the "Hat" slightly open.
A total of 3 hours.
After 3 hours, the herring have a beautiful golden color and is ready to be eaten hot. The fish you do not need here and now, can "overnight" in the smokig oven - in winter time. Otherwise, wrap the fish in parchment paper and put it in the fridge, so the smoky taste just sucked into the meat. Or vacuum packed and in the freezer.
I would just like to come up with a good recipe for "Herring Salad." Clean the fish for bones and cut meat into small pieces, come gradually meat into a blender and blend the meat with mayonnaise, lemon juice from one lemon and white pepper for taste. Serve on toasted bread with garnish, salad leaves on bottom, a raw egg yolk on top and finely chopped red onion as sprinkle. A cold beer and a dram are very suitable for this.
Also try the other recipes
Hot smoking of silver eels -- Hot smoking of salmon & trout
Hot smoking of garfish -- Hot smoking of mackerel
Hot smoking of cod roe -- Homemade smoking cheese