Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fish Jerky

One thing you will rarely see on this blog is a reference to fish as I find it nauseating, quite literally so. However, I know a good mindful recipe when I see one even if I will never in this life taste it. Many of you would, for some strange reason, quite like it.

My friend Rabbit used to live in New Orleans. He evacuated to our home one weekend as was usual when a hurricane threatened. This time he lost almost everything he owned thanks to Katrina. One thing he lost was the fishing reel he used to catch many large fishes. He ate them in just about every way a fish lover could. Among his friends in New Orleans, he became famous for his Fish Jerky. Yes. Fish Jerky. If I could bring myself to do it, this is the one fish I might taste...but not really. Rabbit explains the process quite well, so I'm going to let him take it from here:

Fish Jerky

Rabbit's Penn 505
My favorite reel was the Penn 505 of which I had 2.  I lost them both in Katrina and they are no longer made…

Fish Jerky requires a lot of fish usually several pounds. When I made it I sent packages (vacuum packed) to friends all over the country.  The rest was usually consumed when my daughters and their friends swooped in and ate the rest (while also drinking the rest of my "good" beer…)

The marinade was really pretty simple with equal parts of Italian salad dressing, usually wishbone, but sometimes others, garlic flavored red wine vinegar and red wine.  The red wine is the kind you drink, to paraphrase Justin Wilson, if it isn't good enough to drink, it isn't good enough to eat either.  The other main ingredient is soy sauce, which is about half of the other three combined.  this is all done by eyeball, so it varies.  Use good quality Louisiana hot sauce to taste (Crystal is my favorite) and some liquid smoke.

Any kind of saltwater fish will work, but large oily fish do best.  I've used Blackfin Tuna, King Mackerel, and Bluefish most.  Shark is also good, it gets a really jerky texture.

I freeze the fish and then put it in the fridge till it's just starting to thaw then cut it into 1/8 inch thick slices.  It's much easier to cut when semi-frozen.  

I put it in the marinade at least over night in the refrigerator, Sometimes I leave it a couple of days, this doesn't hurt because the marinate sort of chemically cooks it.

I started out with a Mr. Coffee dehydrator, then I added a second dehydrator. Then the demand outpaced my capacity to dry and I wound up getting one of those big stainless steel multi rack jobs from a hunting supply store.  I still never got to eat much after everybody else was through.

As I put the slices on the rack I covered them liberally with a sort of medium ground fresh black pepper.  I would stay home all day and rotate it through till the fish was all dry.

Now what did I tell you? That was as mindful a recipe as could be. If you eat those things, enjoy it - quickly or all your friends will finish it first.


  1. Tuna jerky with cayenne peppers as part of the seasing mix is my ffavorite. How is the mackeral jerky? As a fish, i find it to have a strong fish flavor.

  2. Mackerel is an oily fish, it is ideal for jerky. King mackerel works particularly well as it absorbs te marinade better than any other fish I've used.


  3. Premium Ahi Tuna Jerky and Marlin Jerky seasoned with all natural ingredients. Fish Jerky marinated, slow dried and bursting with delicious flavor.

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