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I have been getting quite a few emails recently about my smoked salmon so I thought I would post a step by step with pictures :grin:

First go to your freezer and check to see if you have enough salmon to smoke...


If you open your freezer and salmon falls out you know its time to smoke some fish!

I like to cut my salmon fillets in 1-1.5 inch thick chunks from the top of the back to the stomach. This will give you a nice long, thick piece of meat to smoke. It is best to always freeze your salmon before smoking as the freezing process breaks down the muscle tissue allowing the fish to brine better.


After the salmon is thawed get your ingredients lined up and ready to go.

Next make your brine, combine all these ingredients in a large bowl. Remember this is a dry brine there is no liquid involved here.

2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup salt
1 tbsp onion salt
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp celery salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp dried hot mustard
1 tbsp dried lemon peel
1 tbsp dill weed

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.


I run three smokers at once so I start with a base of 24 cups of brown sugar!

You will need a large container to stack the fish. I use a plastic drawer from an old fridge. First you want to make a layer of brine on the bottom of your container, next place a layer of fish, then a layer of brine... continue stacking. I like to pack the brine as I go.


Stack your fish meat to meat with packed brine inbetween.

Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours. If you leave the fish in the brine longer they will turn into fish candy! I have left in brine up to 36 hours, it is best to try different lengths of time to see what you like best. In 12 hours or so the brine will turn to a liquid so make sure you baste and/or rotate your pieces of fish so they all get the same soaking time.


Your dry brine will soon turn to liquid.


When you are done soaking remove the fish from the brine and place on your smoking racks... DO NOT RINSE! Let stand for an hour or so until the fish becomes tacky. Place in the smoker and smoke.


Notice how candied the fish looks after a 3-day soak!


Fish is ready to remove from the smoker... remove about 1 hour before you normally would.

Take your fish out 1 hour before you normally do and place on cookie sheets. It is a good idea to coat the cookie sheets with some kind of non-stick spray before hand. Now generously coat the fish with honey... goop it on real thick!


Try honey, maple suryp or japeleno jelly for a coating.

Place fish in a 325 oven for about 20 minutes or until the edges of the fish start turning dark.


The finished product with a baked on honey glaze! :dance:

Take fish out and try not to eat it all when it is warm. I have to tell you it is the very best smoked salmon you will ever eat in your life and it is 100% better warm!


I'm 1/3 of the way there! Time to vaccum pack.
 

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That looks very good. I look forward to meeting you sometime. Thanks for all the posts.
 

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Well, OK, I'll be first to say it YUM!

That looks great and thanks for revealing the secrets!

Now a somewhat rhetorical question. I've noticed, as you said, fresh from the smoker is THE BEST ! I've also noticed that vacuum packing seems to draw the moisture out of the smoked fish. Do you notice this? Have you contemplated ways of preventing the moisture from drawing out? I've tried the "candy coating", reducing smoke time and lower vacuum settings, but none of it seems to really keep the meat as moist as it is when it comes out of the smoker. Ideas?
 

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Ummmmm,yes I would like to drop off mine at 5 cents smoke house tommorow.When will it be done?? :laugh:My mouth is already watering looking at the pics!! Thanks Shane for the step by step.... :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pete I dont think there is a way to preserve that fresh taste. I do keep a good amount after I have smoked it in the fridge in a paper bag layered with paper towels... this seems to help keep it moist but it does not help with the freezing part :shrug:
 

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Well Shane I have used your step by step procedure many times and every time I have the best smoked Salmon I have ever had. :grin: I used it on Sturgeon and it was terrific.
Thanks
ST
 

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:bowdown:Great recipe and thank you for sharing with us.

:idea: I do an additional step in my recipe, I place the smoked fish back in the refrigerator for another 24-48 hours to cure the fish. Doing this allows the smoke/brine to penetrate throughout the fish and produce a more even flavor throughout the fish. Bon appetite!
 

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Pete, you may have tried this, but what I do to keep the moisture in the fish when I vacuum pack it is to place it in the fridge for a day or so after smoking with a tight layer of plastic wrap on it. Then I take it out and vacuum seal and freeze. Seems to hold the moisture in for me. The only way I know of is to use a water smoker which yields very good results for one of my south county buddies.
 

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Hey Pete, here's what I do to keep it moist. I refrigerate over night after smoking and then vac pack it. Seems just fine to me. If you want it really moist I vac pack it right off the grill while it is still warm and then fridge it over night. Then freeze it or give to friends.
 

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Looks like a great recipe, I'll give it a whirl. :smile:

Question- How much fish is the prescribed brine amounts good for? I noticed in this particular batch you used 24 cups of brown sugar "as a base", but with 3 smokers crankin'. Is the ingredients list you have here pretty much "per fish"?

Thanks, man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
JM I would guess that the base would be good for one coho or half a chinook. If you are smoking one chinook I would make a double run. I brined up 90 +/- lbs of fillets yesterday and it took 50 cups of brown sugar :bigshock:
 

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Thanks for sharing your recipie with us! It looks delicious!

What kind of smoker and chips do you use?

Can anyone share some of proceedural differences they have discovered between a Little Chief and a Brinkman water smoker? I switched from a Little Chief to an electric Brinkman water smoker a few years ago and find that it takes about 1/4 of the time to smoke fish as it use to.

Any ideas about chunks of wood vs. chips?

Thanks!
Steve
 

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That's about right bud. I think for me it's about a third of the time and it actually turns out WAY better. More smoked fish, less fish jerky. I also went from a little chief to a brinkman, then to a smokey mountain series that I just got a few weeks ago at Joe's. Love it. Much easier to work with. I find I need to drop the wood pan down closer to the flame than what they allow for though, otherwise it won't make smoke.

Proceduraly, the only thing I do maybe a little bit differently than most people I know is I use the brine for steam instead of water.....and also, I often use pellets instead of, or with wood. :cool:

5 cents, thanks for the reply. That's good info.
 

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This is a great post and I will try this recipe this weekend as I am between CR fishing and tillamook tidewater fishing.

My question is do you leave the skin on or do you take it off? It probably says somewhere in this thread but I could not find it. I see that it says meat to meat, does that mean skin side down on first layer then meat side down on second layer then skin side down ect. ect.? :help:

Thanks for the great recipe and great post.
 

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I tried it and it just came out of the smokehouse and it is by far the best.

Now I have to figure out how to make it last till I get a tidewater king.

:bowdown:Shane this was and is good.

Thanks Ken
 

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Hey Shane!!
What a recipe! :smile:I am dry brining some right now. I just ran across your recipe. I will have to try it next time. The step by step pics really help out. Maybe we can hook up and go fishing again. I had surgery in my neck a month ago and starting to get my strength back. Is there any chance to hook up for fall hogs maybe next week? :dance:Tom
 
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