Thursday, October 28, 2010

Donabe Smoked BBQ Eels...our new BIG hit!

By now, we have ingredients we always like to smoke (such as duck breast, scallops, boiled eggs., chicken wings, fish, etc.) in our fantastic donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin".

This time, in addition to our "regular" smoke ingredients, we tried BBQ eel for the donabe smoker. Sawara fish (barracuda) filets were simply seasoned with some salt and pepper. BBQ eel (in a package - make sure there is no MSG in the sauce) was cut in half. I also wiped off any excess BBQ sauce from the eel, so that the eel meat itself would be flavored with the nice smoke. They were rested (uncovered) in the fridge for 1 hour to air-dry.

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(*This is my new "tweaked" smoking recipe, which is slightly different from the regular donabe smoking instructions.)
In the bottom of the donabe smoker, I put some sakura (Japanese cherry blossom tree) smoke chips as well as some dry herbs (bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary - coarsely ground). This time, instead of putting all the ingredients in advance, I first set the empty uncovered donabe smoker (with the smoke chips on foil inside) over high-heat of the gas stove top and waited until the smoke chips started smoking (about 6-7 minutes). Then, I put the ingredients one by one. The fish on the oiled bottom grate (make sure to wipe off any excess moisture from the surface of the fish before putting on the grate), BBQ eel on the middle grate, and soft boiled eggs on the top grate.

The donabe was immediately covered with the lid, the rim was sealed with the water, and let it cooked (continued high heat) for about 8 minutes. Then, the heat was turned off and the donabe was let rest with the cover on for 15 minutes.

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Voila, the eel got so much shinier and deeper in color. The sawara fish turned nicely smoked, too. The used smoke chips were completely charred. Cleaning the donabe after smoking is very easy. I just removed the foil with the charred smoke chips from the donabe, then rinse the donabe throughly.

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Beautiful donabe smoked ingredients...the smokey aroma was irresistible. The smoked BBQ eel was UNBELIEVABLE!! This has become our new big hit. It was so juicy, soft, and smokey. I totally loved it with some grated daikon radish and some wasabi on top. Fish and boiled eggs were amazing, too. I served them with my Saikyo miso dipping sauce (2 tbsps Saikyo white miso, 1 tbsp mayo, 1tbsp kefir) and lemon wedges. Look how perfectly eggs were smoked without overcooking the egg yolk. I can't stop loving donabe smoking!

Happy donabe life.