Disposable turkey roasting pans from the supermarket are great for brining the fish. If you can't find mullet in your area, try mackerel, bluefish, amberjack, or even salmon--lower the smoking time for fillets rather than split fish.
5 pounds split mullet
1 gal. water
3/4 to 1 cup kosher salt
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
5 bay leaves, crushed
Hickory wood chips
Garnish: fresh parsley
Hot sauce (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional)
How to Make It
Combine 1 gal. water and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until salt dissolves. Add mullet; cover and chill 45 minutes to 2 hours or to desired degree of saltiness. (Cut off a small piece of fish, and fry it to determine degree of saltiness by tasting. Longer soak times yield saltier fish.)
Rinse fish, discarding brine mixture; pat fish dry with paper towels. Place fish on wire racks in roasting pans; cover with paper towels, and chill 2 to 3 hours or until dry. Rub 1 tsp. pepper on both sides of each fish.
Soak wood chips in water at least 30 minutes.
Prepare charcoal fire in smoker; let burn 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain chips, and place on coals. Place water pan in smoker; add water to depth of fill line.
Place fish on upper and lower food racks; cover with smoker lid. (If smoking fillets, place skin sides down on racks.)
Cook 2 hours or just until fish flakes easily with a fork. Garnish, if desired. Serve with saltines, hot sauce, and lemon wedges, if desired.