In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt, sugar and lemon zest.
Pour a ½” layer of the cure mix in the bottom of a food safe container.
Place the sturgeon filet(s) on the cure mix and then cover with the remaining cure.
Cure the sturgeon for 45 minutes for every ½” of thickness.
Once cured, remove the sturgeon from the cure, rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with a towel
Place on a parchment-lined tray and allow to air dry for 3-4 hours or ideally overnight.
To smoke the sturgeon, preheat an oven to 350F.
Place the wood chips in a cast iron pan and heat over an open flame. Using a blowtorch, light the wood chips and allow to burn until the exterior of the chips is just blackened.
Meanwhile, set up a smoker. You can use a traditional hot smoker or create one by placing the fish in a 2” perforated hotel pan and covering tightly with foil. Place this hotel pan over a 6” hotel pan lined with foil.
Once the wood chips are appropriately burned, cover the flame with a ½ sheet tray to extinguish the flames. Allow the smoke to dissipate for 20-30 seconds to avoid the initial acrid smoke.
Pour the wood chips into the bottom of the foil-lined 6” hotel pan and quickly cover with the 2” hotel pan prepared with the fish. Wrap once more with foil as tightly as possible and place in the pre-heated oven.
Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until the sturgeon is just cooked through.
Once cooked, remove to a rack and cool in the refrigerator.