Harvesting Alaska: Smoked Hooligan

Alaska is a beautiful place, filled with bountiful harvests. In the spring we fish for Hooligan.

Hooligan, or Candle Fish, are a blast to catch! You can fill a 5 gallon bucket in less than an hour.

There are various ways to enjoy these little omega-rich fish. Pan frying fresh Hooligan is always tasty. Serve with crackers, sliced tomatoes, and a cold beer. Oh Yeah…

Fried Hooligan © Nicole Geils

However, in our house, the preferred method is smoked.

:: Mix the Brine

1 Cup Canning & Pickling Salt (Green Box)
3 Cups Brown Sugar
6 Cups Water
Stir to Dissolve

:: Marinate

Add Hooligan to brine and let marinate in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. A good trick is to vacuum-pack the hooligan and brine… less chance for a mess in your fridge.

Hooligan Brine © Nicole Geils

:: Drain

:: Smoke

:: Grill & De-Bone

:: Pressure Jar with Jalapeño Slices

Jarred smoked Hooligan is delicious straight out of the jar on a cracker, or in a dip. I am making stuffed mushrooms with smoked hooligan in a few days… stay tuned!

3 thoughts on “Harvesting Alaska: Smoked Hooligan

  1. Hi! I’m about to try canning hooligan for the first time. I want to can some smoked, some not smoked. I’m curious about your brine recipe – 1 cup salt per 6 cups water – versus most brine recipes are more like 1 cup salt per GALLON of water. On top of that, you seem to brine your fish much longer than most recipes (1-2 days versus 1-2 hours). Does your fish turn out super salty? I know hooligan really benefits from enough salt to firm up the flesh but I’m also not wanting something so salty it’s inedible. I did that one year to my hooligan and could only use them to make soup stock they were so salty! (It made great soups, by the way, not fishy tasting even tho the broth smelled fishy.)


    1. Hello Betsi! Thank you for your inquiry. The brine recipe and marinating timeframe is our standard, and we like the finished product. Not too salty, and the flesh is flaky. All palates are different… but this is our go-to recipe for hooligan. Happy canning!


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