Of all the seafood in the world, cod is by far one of the most popular. This simple fish is hearty yet light, with a subtle flavor that is free from the oily texture most fish has.
But just because cod is a basic variety of fish doesn't mean it isn't bursting with flavor potential - quite the opposite in fact!
Cod absorbs a lot of the flavors it's surrounded with, whether that be lemon juice, a sauce, or the complex woody taste of a smoker.
If you're looking for a new recipe to round out your seafood skills, then this is the article for you. Fish tacos are a favorite for seafood lovers, whether you're using a traditional Mexican recipe or switching things up to suit your own taste.
These delicious smoked cod fish tacos are the best of both worlds, and are surprisingly simple to cook.
Here we'll not only teach you how to smoke your cod to perfection, but also how to use the smoked cod to make delicious fish tacos! So let's get started, shall we?
First things first, you need to smoke the cod. While this is a fairly simple process, it takes a long time to complete. Here's a step-by-step guide to the whole process.
To start off with, you need to prepare your fish. You can smoke a whole fillet if that's what you would prefer, but for the tacos you'll want something a little smaller.
Cut the fish into strips approximately 3 inches long by 1 inch wide. These 'steaks' are a much better size to use in your tacos. They will also smoke more quickly and evenly, and will absorb more marinade as well.
From here, it's time to marinate the cod steaks. This will give your cod some great additional flavor and really make your tacos stand out.
Because cod has a fairly light taste and absorbs flavor well, soaking it in a marinade adds some complex layers of flavor that bring out the best in the fish.
You can use the marinade of your choice, but here's one that we recommend.
Mix 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of honey, some minced garlic and ginger, and a splash of olive oil in a bowl.
Add a squeeze of lemon and lime juice, and the seasonings of your choice; a generic fish seasoning works, but you can also make your own with chilies, cumin, paprika and turmeric for a spicy blend that compliments the smoky taste of the fish.
Some people ditch the marinade and soak the cod in brine instead. This leaves the fish with a more subtle (and saltier) taste that works perfectly with the flavor it absorbs from the smoker.
Leave your cod strips to soak in the marinade for at least 3-4 hours to let the flavors soak into the fish. Once you're done marinating the cod, transfer the strips onto a wire rack.
Gently pat off any excess moisture with some paper towels, and move them to the fridge for at least an hour.
If you haven't already, take this opportunity to heat up your smoker. You'll want to have the cleanest smoke possible, so make sure you're using fresh fuel, whether that be charcoal, wood, or some other fuel.
Make sure the fuel is as dry and clean as possible too - remember, the cod will absorb the flavors in the smoke so you want to avoid any dirt, damp, or debris.
Many cooking techniques for smoking fish are overly complicated and want you to adjust the temperature of the smoker multiple times while your cod is smoking.
This isn't really necessary, and you can save a lot of hassle by simply cooking the fish at a consistent temperature.
Get the smoker up to 225℉, and you're good to go.
By now your cod strips should be ready to go in the smoker. Before you put the cod in, brush the steaks down with a couple of layers of olive oil. This will keep them from drying out while they're in the smoker, and make it easier to get them off the grill when they're finished.
The timings can be a bit inconsistent depending on the size and thickness of your strips, but you should start checking the cod after around 45 minutes.
It can take up to an hour for the fish to be fully cooked, and you'll probably end up with some strips being done sooner than others. Aim for an internal temperature of around 145℉ and your cod is all done!
With your cod smoked to perfection, it's time to put it to good use. Here's a quick and easy fish taco recipe you can use for your smoked cod.
Start with your taco shell. Soft, hard, cornbread or flour, it's up to you. Prepare a simple slaw with some shredded cabbage, onion, carrot, and a light vinaigrette.
From here, start filling the taco. Add the slaw, some sour cream/guacamole/salsa, and your smoked cod.
Top it off with some sriracha and a squeeze of lime, and you have some quick and absolutely delicious fish tacos ready to serve!
So there you have it! Now you know how to make delicious smoked cod, as well as a tasty recipe to include it in. Now all that's left for you to do is make it for yourself.
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