Fish smoking is a preservation method effected by combination of four interrelated processes: salting, cooking, drying and deposition of naturally produced chemicals that result from the thermal breakdown of wood (Cutting, 1965 in Mendoza, 1986), imparting the desired flavor and color to the fish.
There are three types of smoked milkfish products: whole, gutted, deboned, and soft bone.
Equipment and Tools:
Drum for smoking or smoke house
(For soft boned bangus: pressure cooker, aluminum foil or cheesecloth)
(For ‘boneless bangus’ a mosquito forcep is required.)
a) Wash fish. Remove gills and viscera.
b) Wash inside and outside of fish thoroughly after eviscerating.
c) Soak fish in brine (1:3 salt to water ratio by volume) for 60, 90 and 120 minutes for small, (250 g); medium, (350 g) and large (500 g) drawn milkfish, respectively.
d) If desired, precook fish by steaming or boiling until the eyes turn opaque. Boiling is usually for 10 minutes to 15 minutes while steaming is around 15 to 20 minutes.
e) Drain until fish are dried to skin feel.
f) Arrange the drained fish on trays. Smoke for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown color is attained using the drum type smoke house. If a cabinet type smoke house is used, it would take about 2-1/2 hours smoking. It is
recommended to turn fish every 30 minutes to obtain a more attractive color.
For smoked soft-boned bangus:
• Drain the fish after brining and wrap with aluminum foil or cheesecloth and cook in pressure cooker at 10 psi for 90. 120 or 150 minutes respectively for small, medium or large fish)
• Proceed with smoking process
For smoked deboned bangus (commonly referred to as ‘boneless bangus’)
Source: (Wilfredo G. Yap, Antonio C. Villaluz, Ma. Gracia G. Soriano, and Mary Nia Santos) Milkfish Production and Processing Technologies in the Philippines