Of course, fish prepared as simply as those described are merely a first step. Henry Beyers of Bellingham, who uses a four-foot-square cement fire pit in his homemade smokehouse, prepares his steelhead as follows: Clean, remove backbone and cut the fish into pieces six inches long. Soak them in heavily salted water for 40 minutes to an hour, drain and wipe them dry. Brush the fish with olive oil mixed with one large clove of garlic, crushed. Then sprinkle the flesh side of the fish generously with brown sugar that has been dried in a slow oven until crumbly. Leave the fish overnight in the refrigerator; build the smokehouse fire and, when the smoke is blue, place the fish on trays and smoke for 12 hours, increasing the heat at the end to 200�.
Oversmoking is a sin
Although only the breast of game birds is smoked by most hunters, Jay Long, the woodland gourmet of Corvallis, Ore., prepares the whole bird in this fashion: pick and dress the birds as if for roasting, then soak for 12 to 24 hours in a solution of 10 ounces of salt, 5 ounces of brown sugar and� ounce black pepper per gallon of water. Rinse and place in fresh water, to which garlic powder and Tabasco may be added, for two to four hours. Place the drained and dried birds on the grate and smoke at 100� for four to six hours. If the birds are not fat, baste with melted butter occasionally. Increase the heat of the smoke to 150� for another two or three hours. They should be served cold and the surplus stored in a refrigerator or freezer. "Once people get the knack," says Sharp, "they go out on their own and do practically anything they want in the way of recipes." The great sin in the woodsman's bible is oversmoking. Contrary to popular notion, the Indians of the Northwest make inedible smoked salmon of the texture and flavor of mukluks. They smoke it much too hard and presoak it in seawater. As the seawater often has a veneer of outboard-motor fuel, today's Indian-smoked salmon tastes of Old Evinrude.