From farming stock to lifestyle blocks

How to Prepare and Smoke an Eel

15-Apr-2013 | Contributed by: Nick Carnachan

  • submit to reddit
Smoked Eel

Catch it. Smoke it. Eat it. You can get great results out of even a basic smoker to create a delicious smoked eel dish.

Did you know that eels sell for approximately 30 pounds a kilo in the UK, yet us kiwis can easily go to an estuary, river or a creek and catch an eel?

There are many methods of catching eels, but the common method I used to use a lot when I was a child is to follow a creek bed at night with a spear and a spot light. It doesn’t take very long at all to spot an eel.

I am not a fan at all of killing without reason so I don’t kill eels if I’m not going to eat them. If, like me, you enjoy eating smoked eel, below is a step-by-step guide to smoking eels. There are other methods, but this works well and is relatively quick and easy.

Step 1- Use rubber kitchen gloves, as they are slimy little fellas. Take the eel and place in a plastic bag with a good few handfuls of salt. Shake so that the eel is covered. Leave for a couple of hours. This helps draw some moisture from the skin and allows you to scrape the slime off easier.

Step 2 – Take eel out of salt and, using a knife, scrape as much of the slime off the fish and then wash excess salt off. Gut the eel from it’s anus to its jaw and wash out gut cavity.

Step 3 – Mix 1kg of salt with 7 - 8 litres of water or 500 grams with four litres. Place the eel into the mix for approximately 8-10 minutes. Dry thoroughly using an old towel or cloth. Hang in dry place for a couple of hours, away from flies and your cat, to dry off some more.

Step 4 – Take the now dry eel and prepare for smoking. Depending on the size of your smoker, either hang the eel with head on or off, or for those using smaller smokers butterfly the eel and cut into 10cm lengths. Cover flesh in some brown sugar to enhance flavours.

Step 5 – Prepare your smoker using Manuka or Pohutakawa chips. A few rosemary twigs will add a bit more flavour. For best results, smoke over a longer period at a cooler temp, but you can still get great results out of a basic smoker.

Ready to eat your eel? Have a look at my smoked eel pate recipe!

Related Posts

tried your recipe and it turned out spot on, double yum. thanks

Barry (27-Aug-2013 08:53 AM)

Nick, I'm just getting ready to smoke some NZ eel that I bought from local importer. While I can't find the wood you suggested, I'll try something else. Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for your recommendations. 'Denny' in San Pedro, CA-USA

Mr. Detlev Lothar Werk (18-Dec-2013 08:14 AM)

Me, hubby and kids went eeling last night so I'll definitely follow these instructions as its easy 2 understand. Thank you.

Kiri (02-Nov-2014 10:10 AM)

the salt trick sounds good, but 1kg of salt that you later throw away seems a waste.
when i was a kid in new zealand camping up the rivers and creeks. we used to catch eels on fishing lines or spear them.
then we put them live in a guni sack with some cold wood ash from the camp fire. next morning we would hang them up, strip off the slime and ash with the guni sack. then get them in a way that my maori mate called parwhata or something like that. it just meant gutting from the back and taking the back bone out. then we would smoke them or cut into pieces and fry them.

seadog (29-Dec-2015 06:03 AM)

Post a comment

Captcha Image