Use a barrel-shaped barbecue smoker with adjustable shelves and a pan for liquid. Serve the fish warm or at room temperature. Leftovers may be used in fish cakes or salad. You may want to substitute mahi-mahi, snapper, or tilefish for amberjack.
2 quarts water
3/4 c. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar sprig of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 pounds amberjack fillets
1 onion, sliced
Mix together water, salt, brown sugar, thyme, on one bay leaf and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour over fillets and refrigerate overnight. When ready to smoke the fish, build a fire with charcoal briquettes. When the briquettes are covered with gray ash (after 20 to 30 minutes), add twigs of water-soaked pecan, walnut, or apple wood to flavor the smoke. Fill the smoker's water pan with water, adding the sliced onion and remaining bay leaf. Allow the water to come to a slimmer. Remove fish from the brine, pat dry, and place the fillets on an oiled grill over the pan of water. Replace the smoker cover and proceed according to smoker manufacturer's directions. Fish will be done in 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve with either Caper Sauce or Peppercorn Sauce (see recipe, below). Caper Sauce 4 T. butter (not margarine) 2 T. capers Brown butter, cool it slightly, and add the capers. Serve warm. Peppercorn Sauce 8 oz. tub of sour cream 2 T. water-packed green peppercorns, crushed and salted to taste Mix the sour cream and peppercorns and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve chilled.
From the March 1993 issue.