3 gallons water
4 pounds salt (non iodized)
1/2 pound brown sugar
10 ounces vinegar
When preparing brine, boil the water and then add dry ingredients, mix well until dissolved. Cool and then add remaining ingredients. Layer fish pieces flesh side down in the brine and weigh down. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for approximately 8 hours. If fish are fairly slimy when getting ready to brine, rinse and soak fish in a 70% brine solution (1/2 cup salt in a quart of water) for 30 minutes. Wash with clean water and put into the brine.
After brining, rinse and rub the fish under cold running water to remove all traces of salt and spices. Dry and hang or lay flat, skin side down on racks to dry in air (2-3 hours) until thin shiny skin (pellicle) has formed all over outside. Fish should feel firm and have a glazed look. This is a protective skin on the surface which seals in fish juices and prevents protein in the flesh from coagulating and forming white curds on the surface.
Notes & Variations:
This brine process is used to prepare salmon and trout for smoking.
Contributor: Jerry Zeitler, RRGC