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Old 12-09-2004, 03:01 PM   #1
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Default Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Dry Brine Smoked Salmon - Method and Receipe

My .02

I realy prefer the dry brine method for control and taste when it comes to smoking salom. Also it's less impact on the spouse as it can be done a room temp saving fridge space and hassle. I find flavor is much better than a Wet brine as the dry mix is sprinkled directly on to your fillets.

The dry brine cures and firms the meat better by drawing moisture out of the meat. The procces will cause your fillets "soup" up almost immediatly upon contact. With in a couple of hours of coating your brining tub will be 3/4 full of brine soup - most exellent.

You will want an inexpensive plastic tub with a flat bottom for brining.

The brine time is 24-72 hours depending on moisture content level you desire. If your smoker tends to run on dryer side then brine only for twenty four hours or so and allow is sit out for 1-3hours on racks skin side down to glaze prior to smoking. If you smoker is faster and leaves fish too moist then brine for 48-72 hours and allow longer peroid for fillets to set and glaze...3-8 hours perhaps.

Dry Brine Smoker Receipe:
2 cups Brown sugar
1/3-1/2 cup salt, Use Non-Iondonize Salt to prevent tinny taste - Morton's curing salt is good (1/2 rather than 1/3 cup salt will make your brine cure the fish harder and faster)
1 Tblsp. onion salt
1 Tblsp dill (optional)
1 Tblsp. garlic salt
1 Tblsp. celery salt
1 Tblsp. coleman's dry mustard (yellow can)
2 Tblsp. black pepper
Mix contents in dry bowl

-Leave skin on your fish pieces.
-Cover bottom of tub with fillets skin side down
-Coat fish with dry brine mix
*Heavy coating will cure firm and quick and give nice spicey flavor
*Light coating will need longer brine time and will produce less spicy result.
-Layer next level of fillets skin side down and coat with mix and so on unitl you are out of fish
-Brine turns soupy
-Set 24-72 hour at room temp - Brine Mix will cure fish and stop/prevent bacteria growth
-Rotate bottom fillets to top on tub every 8-12 hours,
-Put fish pieces in rack for about an 2-3 hours to allow glaze to form - do not wash or rinse.
-Smoke with Alder chips. Apple or Cherry will get it as well
-Let only your bestest friends taste this stuff!!

Below are some pics of how much dry brine to use. These were done on a hot week in July 90-100F temps with out any spoilage or contaimination. I have gone much heavier than that in the bottom picture - especially on thicker chinook fillets

72 hours coating...Chinook very light coating


24-48 hours Coating...Silver medium coating.



Note: No that is not a Tule in the chinook tub but a salt caught nook with white meat caught close to SE Alaska - most tasty.

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Old 12-09-2004, 03:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Dude,

You might check out this post: 5-Cent Smoker Recipe

2nd place is the 1st looser :shocked:
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

I do it pretty similarly but for large fish, I cut the fillets into chunks just as if I were wet-brining-- 1.5" wide or so. I roll the chunks in a bowl of dry brine to coat them, and drop them in ziploc bags. When full, I seal the bag and put them in the garage/bait fridge, then turn them over periodically to brine them evenly... less messy imho. Small fillets I lay flat in a container like you do.

I keep the dry brine itself really simple-- just brown sugar, white sugar, and plain salt-- so I can keep the extra in a ziploc bag and use it for other purposes such as adding a handful while stir-frying dinner or adding to some herring brine, prawns, or eggs for bait. After brining the salmon I paint it with homemade habanero/pineapple sauce to add the spice.
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Yum yum Charmon. I know someone pointed you to 5-Cents's smoked fish. Which got me thinking .


How about a smoked fish cook-off contest?

You guys really seem to have it down. Thanks for posting . I'm gonna give it a try.


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Old 12-09-2004, 08:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

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Old 12-09-2004, 08:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

I gotta ask - what are the popsicle sticks and string for? Identifying the type of fish?
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

That 5-cent post is an excellent one - nice with the oven glaze finish.

I too will cut strips every 1-1.5" are work the mix in between - very good option.

I am not sure there is a bad smoke receipe out there. Mostly it seems to be finding the right fit for you smoker type and flavor prefs.
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

We should have an annual Ifish Smoke off. Maybe we'll even let the Chile guys come and join us.

Good late early fall function perhaps.
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

I just finished vacuum sealing about twenty five pounds of fish last night. Traeger BBQ Alder wood pellets. Came out petty darn good.

I'm a newbie but bring on the cook-off. Sounds pretty good to me. Late fall celebration. Great thought Charmon. I'm in on this one.

Pick a park somewhere centrally located. Bring it on.

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Old 12-09-2004, 08:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

I would be all for a smoked salmon cookoff...possibly we could arrange it as an annual fund raising event...could it be part of "The Bite of Portland"? Not sure, but would be fun if it could be done. I think it would be a real hit!

I have been using a dry brine for the last few years which is quite different from Charmon's. I like the consistency I get. I made some of my best smoked fish with wet brines, but it was very difficult to keep consistently good (for me anyway).
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Quote:
I would be all for a smoked salmon cookoff...possibly we could arrange it as an annual fund raising event...could it be part of "The Bite of Portland"? Not sure, but would be fun if it could be done. I think it would be a real hit!

I have been using a dry brine for the last few years which is quite different from Charmon's. I like the consistency I get. I made some of my best smoked fish with wet brines, but it was very difficult to keep consistently good (for me anyway).

Share your dry receipe kind sir.


I will bring it up again in May so we can get an idea of support and begin planning the "Great Northwestern Smoke Off". I can see it now...dry wind gently glazing our fresh out-the-brine fillets with few barley pops for heat management. Everyone tuning up their smokers... the chile guys doing their thing. This one could be a real go'er.

We'll need to find somewhere with a lot of electrical oulets.



Cheers
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Ok boys ,we can say generators. Just think a grassy field filled with dead smoking fish and fermenting liquids. Ahhhhhhhh.

It's like a dream come true.

If I smoke fish ,they will come.

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Old 12-10-2004, 05:23 AM   #13
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

dry brine is the only way to go. just forget the green stuff. cold smoke only.
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Old 12-10-2004, 06:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Like a lot of things in life we tend to make things to complicated with to many ingredients. I have used a dry brine for years and it comes out great every time.

2 parts brown sugar
1 part non non-iodized salt

Mix together. Lay fish in a large tupperware container or a non metal tray of some sort. Place fish skin side down and coat flesh with sugar / salt mixture. Let fish sit in the brine for 24 hours in the fridge.

Now the important part ( yes there will be a pop quiz later)

Remove fish from brine and rinse with cold water very thoroughly. Pat dry and then air dry for a minimum of three hours. You will see a glaze form on the fish. Sprinkle a little lemon pepper on the fish and place in the smoker.

Smoke your fish at 180 to 190 degrees. Temp control is critical. I like alder as my smoke. Keeping this temperature will keep your fish very moist and each piece will be very consistant.

I like this method beceause you are tasting the smoked fish and not a lot of added ingredients.

I know it sounds to simple to be good but give it a try. It won't disappoint
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Old 12-10-2004, 08:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

My favorite dry brine is Morton Sugar Cure, usually used for hams or bacon. I usually cure for only an hour, otherwise the fish is too salty.
After three to four hours of smoking, the then can the salmon. Great smoked salmon all year!
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Old 12-10-2004, 10:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Charmon - I was just giving you a hard time, because your recipe was almost identical to 5-Cent's recipe (everything is the same, except for some lemon peel).

I used 5-Cent's recipe as a first try into using a dry brine. The stuff turns out awesome. I did notice that the fish is dryer than what you get with a wet brine, most likely due to having the brine pull water out of the fish.
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

pearl,
your recipe and instruction is exactly what i do except you're way too hot in the smoker. that's baked salmon. if you want something that'll last and taste better longer, try smoking it. no higher than 115, you'll see a big difference in the quality of what comes out of the smoker.
ban smoker baking.
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Quote:
try smoking it. no higher than 115, you'll see a big difference i
Onebadfish,

On a cool day I can get my smoker to stay at the 170 to 180 degree range and a 30 lb king will take 5 to 7 hours.

What is your typical cooking time at 115 degrees ?

What are you smoking in that you can get it to stay at that low of temp? Something homemade ?

Does your fish and up more like lox?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks Pearl
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:46 PM   #19
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

lox is another trick. my fish turns out smoked, not cooked. probably looks like yours on the outside, but instead of heat cooking it, the smoke cures it. not even close to lox. i use a 7' high industrial locker that is insulated with a heat source below. i usually run for about 10 or 11 hours when it's 55 outside, longer if it's colder. i will use almost a whole bag of alder chips for 8 racks of fish. if it's really cold or i'm smoking more than 3 or 4 silvers at once, i might even turn on the heat lamp i have installed in the top. temperature really has very little to do with the preservation of the fish, it's all about the concentration of the smoke and the dry brine process. one thing i have learned is to cut my fish in pieces about 3" wide and whatever the size of the fillet is, and then skin side up through the whole process, so that excess moisture can drip out easier. also the smaller cut takes the cure much better. bacteria is not a big concern if the cure is right. i have sent fish half way around the world lots of times, that's never seen the fridge, just vacuum packed. one time it was floating around in the mail and at the tokyo customs office for about 13 days. arrived in great condition. try lower heat longer, you'll see what i mean.
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Old 12-10-2004, 08:37 PM   #20
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

I'll second the longer time at lower temperature... my Big Chief runs pretty cool (not sure exactly what temperature) and it takes about 15 hours in the winter, 10-12 hours in the summer for a batch. Usually 3 pans of alder, 4 in winter. It comes out great.
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Old 12-10-2004, 10:04 PM   #21
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

woops...should have shared my recipe...sorry Charmon

place fillets skin side down in glass or plastic tray

season fillets "shaker style" with Mace, Garlic, Pepper, and kosher salt...like you would apply a light rub to ribs, place in fridge for 2-3 hours. Next, cover fillets with 1/4" dark brown sugar not packed, cover with thin layer of rock salt, place back in fridge for 12 hours, remove from fridge and rinse fish in cold soft running water leaving light coating of the initial seasoning intact. Pat dry, place back in fridge on cookie rack for 8-12 hours to form glaze Smoke with mix of hickory and apple chips.
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Old 12-11-2004, 04:15 AM   #22
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

OK, so why not remove the skin first?
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Old 12-11-2004, 07:13 AM   #23
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

I never use to skin mine. Did this fall at fish camp. Got some of the dark off, wow what a diffence. I was afraid it would stick to the racks without the skin, actuall came off better.
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Old 12-11-2004, 12:30 PM   #24
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

leave the skin on for a better product, stays moister longer.
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:18 PM   #25
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

Quote:
I gotta ask - what are the popsicle sticks and string for? Identifying the type of fish?
Good question Hare's ear.

I was wondering if anyone would catch that little detail.

The popsicle stick supports a piece of string with loops tied at each end. The the popsicle stick prevents the string from cutting thru the fillet during drying and smoking.
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:29 PM   #26
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

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leave the skin on for a better product, stays moister longer.
With moisture not being a problem other than too much - my smoker can get a batch done in 3 hours and typically runs moister than I would prefer - I going to try it skin off as well.

I too would like to cut the dark meat from the fillets - too skunky/fishy tasting.

Good idea!
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Old 12-13-2004, 02:30 PM   #27
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Default Re: Dry Brine Smoke Salmon

years ago, i did some beef jerky in the oven in about 3 hours. later on i figured out about cold-smoke ... what a huge difference. uh... i took the skin off that.
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