Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Smoked Salmon

The day after a salmon trip..... 

THIS is the recipe I used last year. Everyone loved it - it was sticky sweet. As I am dealing with diabetes, sticky sweet is not a good thing. It also limited what could be done with the salmon. It was GONE by January.
I knew I wanted to make more as this was a favorite....but I researched to see if I could find another brine.

We sort of combined various recipes/techniques this year. Here is exactly what we did.

4 C brown sugar
1 C Kosher salt (non-iodized)

Maple Syrup or Orange Juice
Apple and Alder wood chips (is what we used this time)

Mix brown sugar and salt.

Filet salmon as you desire. Rather than cutting salmon into small strips and chunks - we left it in big pieces this year. This made it easier to dry and smoke on the racks, took less time, and may be one reason it isn't as sweet this year. 

Layer salmon in container, top with 1/4 inch of brine on each layer. Cover your container and place in fridge for 12 -14 hours. I consistently read online that longer marinading leads to saltier fish.

Put salmon on racks. Save liquid from containers to baste salmon as it dries. Pat off any big salt crystals. DON'T RINSE. Baste salmon with liquid.

*Dry salmon on racks - with a fan blowing on them for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.  Baste around the one hour and 2 hour mark. Dry for 30 min beyond the last baste.  A sort of crust layer forms and this is desired. Can't remember what it's called but it starts with a "p".  It's helpful to have Yuuki stand guard during these 2 hours.
Beagle not essential to success
Near the end of drying...fill your wood chip pan with chips Heat smoker to 250* and let a strong smoke build up.  When a good smoke has built up, turn your smoker to the lowest setting, open the door and let it cool down a bit. Spray your racks with non-stick spray (I didn't do this and it was fine). If you didn't dry your salmon on racks as I did - load the racks - or place the racks in the smoker. Baste if you'd like.

Reheat smoker to 150* Cook for an hour under steady smoke.

Baste with brine or do as we did - maple syrup. Orange juice can also be used and I'll try that next time.

Continue smoking with light smoke on 150*. In the original recipe this took an hour or two.

This took 7 - 8 hour with the bigger pieces. 😏

We smoked to an internal salmon temp of 145*. I am seeing it can be smoked to 135-145. I think we'll aim for 140* next time.

Michael basted throughout the process whenever the mood struck him. 

It turned out really good. Not as dry,  or sticky sweet. Rather than a sweet snack, we ate some for dinner.  This will be great on crackers (as the last stuff was) but it will also be good in recipes and dips. I think the difference in the sweet is  we left the salmon in bigger pieces AND Michael covered the racks with tin foil the first time...we didn't this time.

The racks cleaned up quickly in the dishwasher.

Smoked Salmon will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. We vacuum seal and freeze and it lasted until it was all gone - at least 6 months.

If you want to can the fish - smoke for an hour or so for flavor,  and then proceed with canning. I think it would be far to dry to can completely smoked fish. I have smoked for an hour and then canned with good results.

*Drying under fan - online some skip this step; all or most the Alaskans recipes I read say it is essential. I decided not to skip it.

Brenda sent this recipe. It uses a salt water brine for 4-8 hours in the fridge and then a sweet or savory dry rub right before you smoke. I plan to try the savory next time we have some salmon. 

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