Smoked Salmon

As I posted earlier, we’ve been fishing quite a bit this summer.  I went several times with Russell while he was here, and I’ve been with my dad several times as well.  Most of the fish we’ve caught so far I’ve given to my mom to bake for dinner.  She seems to enjoy it when we bring fresh fish, so most of the time it goes to her.  The other week I decided that if I caught enough fish in one day that I’d like to smoke it.  One afternoon I got a call from one of my friends to go fishing with him and another friend out the road.  We went to Echo Cove and fished off the shore for about 2 hours.  The fish were booming that afternoon and he caught 5 fish, his friend  caught 2, and I caught 3 before my fishing rod broke.  We decided to leave after my rod broke, and with my three fish in hand I decided to have my dad teach me how to smoke salmon.

Smoking salmon is a slow cooking process that dries out the dish and gives it a smoky flavor.  After letting the fish sit in a brine (a salty flavor mixture) overnight the salmon goes into a smoke box where the temperature rises from 110-175 degrees over the course of a day.  Smoking salmon completely can take anywhere from 6-18 hours.  There are even some smoking processes that take up to 4 days.  We ended up smoking for about 6 hours and it came out perfectly.

The recipe we used came from an online forum and can be found here.  We modified it a bit…

Recipe: Smoked Salmon for 3 good sized Pink Salmon

1 quart cold water
1 cup  soy sauce
1/4 cup pickling salt
1/2 Lbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Fillet the salmon, removing as many bones as possible.  Leaving the skin on, cut into strips approximately 1 1/2 inches by 2-3 inches.  Place in the brine and weigh down with something like a plate on top.  Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

Arrange the salmon, skin down, on the smoking racks so that they do not touch.  Depending on your smoker and how even it heats, you might have to place thicker pieces in the front and thin in the back, or the other way around.  Let the salmon sit out in a cool place for a few hours.  Using your choice of wood pellets, start your smoker following these guidelines:

110 degrees 1-2 hours
140 degrees 2-4 hours
175 degrees 1-2 hours

When the salmon is done, take out of the smoker to cool.  Either store in the fridge if your’e planning on eating it fairly quick, or food-save (air seal) it and store in the fridge for later use.  We ended up freezing it and with 3 1/2 pounds of fresh smoked salmon!  Yum!

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