1 quart water
1/2 cup non-iodized salt (scant for table salt, rounded for Kosher)
1/2 cup white sugar
4 ounces cheap Scotch (rum or bourbon can be readily substituted)
3 ounces lemon juice
5 sections minced garlic (about 1/8 cup of minced garlic from a jar)
1/4 cup pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
5 bay leaves
1) Rinse fillets lightly in cool water; remove excess water with newspaper or in a glass or plastic (NOT metal) container. Mix ingredients together in a large bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over fillets, making sure they are covered.
2) Refrigerate for 4-24 hours, depending on the thickness of fillets and personal taste
4) Remove fillets from brine, pat dry with paper towels. Air dry for 3 hours +/- to allow a pellicle to form; at this point, the fish can be stored in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks before smoking.
5) When you do decide to smoke the fish, smoke using apple, alder, oak, or cherry (my favorites are oak or a combo of apple and cherry) bisquettes. Remember that while your smoker heats, arrange the fish on racks and let dry for about an hour or until a glaze forms on the surface of the fish.