Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smoked Salmon

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About a month ago a reader requested I post a blog about smoking salmon.  I’ve been wanting to smoke salmon for a while but I got into my head that I had to catch the salmon first.  It just seemed more authentic that way.

I’ve caught salmon before but always with my dad and once by accident on Ellos.  To brush up my skills I attended a fishing clinic at Cabellas where I purchased the right hooks, lines and sinkers (er… downrigger balls) to assure my success.  I learned how to brine herring (something I hope to never have to do in real life), I won (by being the highest bidder but don’t tell my husband he thinks I actually won it) a tackle box filled with gear at my kid’s school auction.  My dad bought me a book and taught me how to tie hooks and set up leaders.  I bought a boat (okay that part’s not really true, we already owned the boat.)

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My dad, the guy who can coax fish into the boat like the pied piper, and proof that I caught a fish, once.

 

And then I went fishing.  It was a beautiful sunny morning when we left Port Madison but the further we moved out of the bay the foggier it became.  We fished for about twenty minutes before fog obscured the shore, our signal that we needed to turn back.  In that twenty minutes I lost the downrigger ball ($30!) and the Ferry Wenatchee rammed the dock at Bainbridge (just so you know…it was REALLY foggy).

Next trip; the weather looked dicey but we headed out anyway.  Within minutes the rain was sleeting sideways and we’d zipped ourselves into the cockpit.  I got one bite and by the time I lost the fish I was soaked to the skin.  We turned back…

Next trip; E and J bickered the whole time we navigated Port Madison.  By the time we got to Fay Bainbridge, the bickering had turned to blows and tears…we turned back.

On Sunday my neighbor gave me some salmon, bless his heart.  I still intend to catch the big one, but for now, I’ll just figure out how to smoke them.

This is my dad’s recipe, one he’s used for thirty years.  He coached me through the whole process from brining to preparing the chips to smoking and I’m pretty impressed with the result.  Moist, silky, vibrant orange flesh with a solid flake and great balance of smoke, salt and seasoning.  Delicious.

I used a smoker but Chef Bob at EVOO cooking school in Cannon Beach, Oregon smokes his right on his cook top and in tomorrow’s blog I’ll tell you how.

 

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Smoked Salmon

1 quart water, distilled or bottled without chlorine or let sit overnight so the chlorine dissipates

½ cup non-iodized salt

½ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon garlic flakes

2-3 pounds of salmon, filleted with pin bones removed.

Wood chips for smoking

Prepare brine by mixing all ingredients together until salt and sugar are dissolved. Brine overnight (8-10 hours) for thicker pieces like those at the head of the fish and four hours for smaller pieces like the tail section.

Remove from brine and run under cold water to wash. Let sit, skin side down until the fish glazes over (30 minutes to 2 hours). Prepare smoker racks with Pam spray or brush with oil. Place pieces, skin side down with the larger pieces closer to heat.

Smoke for four hours at low heat (120-150 degrees). You’ll use a pan of chips an hour so prepare four pans of chips.

Rotate after 2 hours. Fish may not be cooked through but can be finished in the oven at 200 degrees for about an hour. Check smaller pieces early.

Let cool in pan to prevent sticking and retain moisture.

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The sticky matte finish is glazing; this fillet is ready for the smoker

 

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Slow cooked at low temperature 

5 comments:

Dr. Michael Cargile, CMAA, CBI said...

We recently purchased a electric smoker and your salmon looks wonderful!! What kind of wood chips did you use? Thanks, Sonia

Carla said...

Hi Sonia,

Got your email just as I was opening a package of home-smoked salmon! We used alder chips but you can use any hardwood. My dad recommends alder, cherry or hickory with hickory giving on the richest smoke. We vacuum packed ours and stored it in the fridge and I have one package left. Love it plain but am thinking of smoked salmon pot pies for dinner this week.
Cheers!

Fiverr Work said...

I won (by being the highest bidder but don’t tell my husband he thinks I actually won it) a tackle box filled with gear at my kid’s school auction. My dad bought me a book and taught me how to tie hooks and set up leaders. I bought a boat (okay that part’s not really true, we already owned the boat.) http://www.electricsmokr.com/

Charles D. Mancuso said...

Our best electric smoker is fairly easy to assemble for first use. Overall this smoker is very efficient in terms of producing quality dishes. It can maintain the temperature at desired level.

Masterbuilt Smoker said...

It is awesome to see this. This can be considered as one of the best electric smokers to use to make smokey food with special flavor.