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If you have it in the salt tonight, you can rinse in the morning and set on rack in fridge for pellicle to develop (18-24 hrs). You mentioned smoke tube, so go for a cold smoke 18-24 hours. The forecast looks like you could place it in a black painted bbq grill with lid closed in the sun and finish it at 120 F…second thought better put it in the shade to avoid over cooking. One thing I find helps final product to stay moist is to vacuum pack while still warm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
The forecast looks like you could place it in a black painted bbq grill with lid closed in the sun and finish it at 120 F…second thought better put it in the shade to avoid over cooking.
I'm intending to do exactly that.
 

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I use 1cup brown sugar and 1/8 Cup kosher salt. I've experimented with different ratios of more salt, but way too salty finished product...and do not rinse! Let air dry for three hours to get pellicle then smoke two batches of alder/hickory mix on a little or big chief. If you're hotter than that you're cooking it, not smoking. Plus smoking in this heat will drive up Temps even more, so watch your smoke times. I usually do 6-7 hours on a little chief in cooler weather, no more than 6 on a day like today. I have a rigged up insulation shield for cooler days, but won't need it today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
I am really enjoying the ideas being presented here. Thank you all so much. Going to brine starting friday, and smoke saturday. I think I'm going to try both a dry and wet brine. I think I'm going to cold smoke in the smoker, smoker in the sun, but off, for about 4 hours then finish to 140* internal temp.

Great discussion, thanks to all who added to it.
 

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I can taste the experience on this thread.

I’m NEW to the smoking game.

I’ve been adding crushed red pepper to kokanee fillets before burying them in the brown sugar + salt mixture. Many of the flakes stay stuck through the rinse step. Adds a little kick and grain to the finished product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
I can taste the experience on this thread.

I’m NEW to the smoking game.

I’ve been adding crushed red pepper to kokanee fillets before burying them in the brown sugar + salt mixture. Many of the flakes stay stuck through the rinse step. Adds a little kick and grain to the finished product.
Cayenne spreads easier. Adding just enough to taste it adds to a lot of stuff. I like a teaspoon in my clam chowder, for example (for the whole batch).
 
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Another thing to note for anybody reading and learning is that if you aren’t going to bring the internal temp of the fish to 160 degrees during the smoking process then you have to make sure your fish is frozen (0 degrees f.) for two weeks or longer to kill any parasites or nematodes.

If I’m not able to freeze my fish for that long then I’ll smoke it at a low temp to the very end, and then crank it up to 160 degrees.

I’m sure there are many here that do not adhere to that rule and have always been fine, but I never care to test it myself.
I do the same. With a long, low smoke, the fat breaks down and is oily in the meat. When you crank it up, it doesn't curdle out.

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I'm my 20ish years of catching and smoking my own fish, I've never had any illnesses, nor has anyone else, smoking fish at a constant 120°. I always smoke part of my fish fresh, never frozen. Why even catch fish if you're just gonna throw it in a freezer? Might as well buy it from the deli at the market. The only time I've ever thrown a fresh fish in the freezer then take it out to eat soon after, was to make sushi.
 

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I discovered, quite by accident, that I prefer my "smoked" fish to be what might be considered brine and smoke flavored, then cooked. 3/1 brown sugar/salt, dash of Montreal Steak, just enough water to cover chunks. A few hours to a couple days soak, stirred around a few times, a pan or two of apple chips, about 45 minutes at 175* in the oven. I don't bother with forming a pellicle.

A passable approximation can be done in as few as three hours. A couple hours in the brine then a handful of chips on the heat screen of the table top bbq and low temp cook.
 

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I'm my 20ish years of catching and smoking my own fish, I've never had any illnesses, nor has anyone else, smoking fish at a constant 120°. I always smoke part of my fish fresh, never frozen. Why even catch fish if you're just gonna throw it in a freezer? Might as well buy it from the deli at the market. The only time I've ever thrown a fresh fish in the freezer then take it out to eat soon after, was to make sushi.
Springer season for me is about 3 weeks long. I can’t eat 30 fish in 3 weeks. And we prefer frozen fish over fresh fish. Sometimes fresh fish is good but more often not. Texture wise.
 

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I'm my 20ish years of catching and smoking my own fish, I've never had any illnesses, nor has anyone else, smoking fish at a constant 120°. I always smoke part of my fish fresh, never frozen. Why even catch fish if you're just gonna throw it in a freezer? Might as well buy it from the deli at the market. The only time I've ever thrown a fresh fish in the freezer then take it out to eat soon after, was to make sushi.
Still have a 1968 "lil chief" for excess and 2 "big chiefs" for main batches and to mimic" Whethole", have 54 years doing exactly what he does, and take approx 50 # to Az every year to share/trade /party and no known issues!!
Dave 🇺🇸
 

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How many hundreds of years have Native Americans been smoking salmon? They are still here. They didn't have freezers either.

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For the sake of argument I’m pretty sure they smoked until there was no water left so it couldn’t go bad. I haven’t ever had smoked fish smoked to the point it had no moisture left. But it would certainly be much safer.
 

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For the sake of argument I’m pretty sure they smoked until there was no water left so it couldn’t go bad. I haven’t ever had smoked fish smoked to the point it had no moisture left. But it would certainly be much safer.
It's good. Chewy, but good. As long as the oils remain, you will have tasty goodness.
 
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I use a 5% liquid brine, you need to use a 10% or more brine to truly preserve but 10% is too salty to eat) Per gallon of water:
  • 3/4 cup non-iodized salt;
  • 2 lbs brown sugar;
  • black pepper and garlic powder to taste (put in more than you think you need).
Brine at least over night, I like 24 hours. Stir at least once. Remove from brine WITHOUT RINSING and put in a colander to drain. Once drained, place on a wire rack on a cookie sheet. Put in fridge to develop pellicle (at least 2 hours, I like overnight). The pellicle is critical for proper smoking. Then smoke with hickory or hickory/alder mix (like little chief chucks). I use hickory firewood in an offset smoker. Lately I have been using a “smoke tube” with pure hickory pellets for the cold smoke. Works AWESOME!! Be sure to try keep the smoking temperature close to or below 100deg for at least an hour or two before letting the temperature come up to what most people smoke at (~150deg). With a smoke tube the temperature does not rise, a real cold smoke. The lower smoking temp of less than 100degF (nearer to true cold smoking) adds a completely different and desirable smoke flavor than does a higher smoking temp. Hot Smoke till done (depends on ambient temperature and humidity, I’m usually done withing 6 hours).
So my normal no fishing, smoking weekend is Thursday after work into brine, Friday after work start pellicle, Saturday morning start smoking.
I use the same brine for razor clams and oysters. For shellfish, when they come out of the brine I boil the brine and then dip them into the boiling brine for a few seconds to set them up, then straight to the smoker. Smoke the same as above, except they won’t take nearly as long as fish. One time a former Costco Executive tried my smoked razor clams and offered to help me go into business making them commercially. He said he could sell as many as I could make.
My favorite teriyaki brine recipe is one I saw on OPB. 1 quart soy sauce, 6 lbs brown sugar, ¼ cup onion powder. I warm up in a pan to make sure all of the sugar dissolves then cool in the fridge before putting fish in. Expensive, but AWESOME Teriyaki.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
After considering the combined suggestions here.

Made a mix of 4 cups brown sugar, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup onion powder, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1 TBSP cayenne, some crumpled bay leaves. Took half the salmon and am dry brining in that. Then took two cups of that mixture, added 1/2 cup kosher salt, added 1 Qt water, and am wet brining in that mix. Will smoke the results identically, and see how it comes out.
 
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