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Old 10-21-2011, 11:55 PM   #1
BigV
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DIY Smoked Salmon

I made some smoked salmon a little while back. It was declicious! Here's the story.

I chose some Copper River Salmon, a local favorite from the Copper River in Alaska. They're flown in fresh, not frozen and they're really, *really* good. There must have been a very abundant run because the prices this year were very depressed compared to previous years. I've seen it for as high as $30/pound, but I bought two nice sized whole fish (here's one)

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for $9/pound, about ten pounds of fish total.

I wanted to make salmon jerky, highly brined, and long low temperature smoke. I've seen this called salmon candy before, and it is as good as candy, so tasty.

First step, debone the fish. Very important, very tedious. I did the first ones by hand, and later used needlenose pliers. Can you see them poking out? They look like little white tips

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and if you brush your fingertips along the fillet, you can feel them. Grab them

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pull them.

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It does kind of tear up the fillets.
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:00 AM   #2
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Here are the bones I took out.

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I then made the brine. I used brown sugar, salt, ginger vodka, and salt and pepper.

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I put it all in the bucket

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with some water and in go the strips.

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Old 10-22-2011, 12:03 AM   #3
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That last shot shows them already cut and into the brine. Here's a shot of them being cut.

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As you can see, they're a little ragged. The ones at the store are all uniform size and straight. Mine are not that purty, but they are all done, including the tails

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The next day, I took them out of the brine, patted them dry, and put them on a rack to dry.

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The surface was supposed to develop what's called a pellicle. A tacky, shiny, firm surface, indicating that the flesh has been sealed, the moisture's sealed inside and the smoke can lend flavor without drying out the fish. Here's a close up of my pellicle.

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Old 10-22-2011, 12:08 AM   #4
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Now I'm loading up the smoker.

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I have a water pan underneath the grill rack, and I have foil lining the bottom for other drips. I also use a big long piece of foil to diffuse the heat from the firebox on the left out of the frame. Skin side down, and no turning. This was a very close fit getting them all on the grill.

Several hours later and a couple more chimmneys of mesquite, this is the result.

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The strips have shrunk some, firmed up a lot, and you can see white.. fat (?) that has risen to the surface, check this close up.

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Then I unloaded it onto a baking sheet

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and took it into the house.

I wound up breaking/cutting these into half lenghts, and bundling them into sandwich sized ziploc bags. I gave some away, I ate some, and I still have some in the freezer. It's awesome. Next time I'll use less salt. They're very moist, so much that I wouldn't want to let them stay unrefrigerated or unfrozen for too long. I checked the price of this "salmon candy", and found that I had about $350 worth of smoked salmon on that baking pan. Wow.
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:13 AM   #5
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This is awesome V. For a real treat, try using some Jack Daniels smoking chips. I got some for my dad for Father's Day and it is great. They take the white oak barrels used to age the whiskey and chop them up into smoker-size chunks.
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:18 AM   #6
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I'm actually salivating because of this thread.

Quote:
I have smoked salmon. I did not inhale, did not experience euphoric sensations...
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:26 AM   #7
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Thanks friends!

I will look into those smokin chips Bullitt. I imagine they're delicious. I use mesquite lump charcoal from Lazzari. Sometimes I do add just chips, sometimes I soak them, sometimes not. It depends on how long I'm cooking. I never use charcoal briquettes anymore, and I don't use starter fluid. I've turned into something of a purist that way, and based on the results I'm getting, I see no reason to change. Mmmmm, bourbon.
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:26 AM   #8
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That looks freaking awesome V. Do SO want!
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:22 AM   #9
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"Here's a close up of my pellicle..."
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:12 AM   #10
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DAYM !!!!!

Thanks for the advice V ( I called V because we got a Whole fillet of Salmon and didnt want to Mess it up ) Ill Post pics later
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:15 AM   #11
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Be sure to show us your pellicle
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:33 AM   #12
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That looks great BigV. The nice red sockeye salmon here in IN is about $10 a lb I buy it like crazy. We usually only see the pale colored farm raised Yeck! I never buy that.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:55 AM   #13
zippyt
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Be sure to show us your pellicle

I gotz yer Pellicle RIGHT HERE !!!!!
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:34 AM   #14
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Kickass all around! This is the down side of a partner who doesn't like seafood!!
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:36 AM   #15
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Looks fantastic V!
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