I've got some salmon that I want to smoke in my friends big chief smoker but I'm not sure how long I should leave it in. The fillets are about 1 inch think. I've seen plenty of recipes but I need to know how long to leave the fish in the smoker.
I've found that Big Chiefs vary quite a bit too. I've got 3 of them and they all smoke at different rates. If the smoker is still in the box (or insulated some other way) it will probably only take 4-5 hours, but my older smokers that aren't in boxes or covered with something else take as long as 20 hours :shocked: I need to insulate the old ones so they will heat up a little more. That reminds me - I was going to start a post about this!
Here is a brine recipe I have been using more than 30 years.
1 Gallon Water
1 1/2 cups salt (I use plain old mortons)
2 cups brown sugar
6 tablespoons Onion Powder
6 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Cups Light Karo Corn Syrup
2 Ounces of Mapeline
Combine all of the ingredients and stir till nothing is left on bottom. Add Fillets. This brine is enough for 8 to 10 Humpies (two big cheif loads). If brining fewer, say 4 or 5 cut salt to 1 cup. Let stand in brine 20 to 24 hours. Set on well oiled (Pam) racks and allow to dry for 1 or 2 hours. At this point I cover fillets liberally with cracked black pepper or cayenne! Preheat smoker (plug it in and add a pan of chips). Put rack in smoker and add chips again. Two or three loads of chips is probably enough but I usally change it 4 or 5 times. Smoking time varies with the weather. 12 hours seems to be about the minimum. I like them smoked pretty dry. Enjoy!
I have a batch going in the big chief as we speak. so far it's been in there about 7 hours. Just check the temp of the meat and it's only about 135 degrees. I think I'll go a bit longer. maybe 8 hours. It really depends on the weather. I did a batch when it was 90 degrees out and it only took 4 hours.
If you want to increase the speed of your smoking process, put the cardboard box in which the smoker came in (little and big chiefs) over the smoker. This insulates the smoker from the wind/cold and can really make a difference in smoking time. Be sure to check the meat often as you can overcook this way.
for 1" 3-1/2 to 4 hours in the big chief, then I finish in the oven at about 200 degrees. for about 45 minutes I baste them twice with a thick marinade of soy, brown sugar, lots of pepper, some strawberry presserves and a dash of whocester. Leaves a beautiful carmel color and the flavor is mouth watering.