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Unread 11-30-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
Suntower
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Default Salmon Smoking Noob Seattle

Hi,

First post. It's been a good year for salmon and steelhead. Bought a Brinkmann $40 smoker and I'd like to see what I can accomplish.

Ideally, I'd like to cold smoke, but since I don't know what I'm doing I'd like something that is easy.

I guess my other question(s) is/are:
1. What type of charcoal? @ Lowes there are these 'natural wood' charcoals for prox. $14 a bag. Is that the kind to use?

2. For 'chips':
a) Should I buy those little bags or can I use branches from local trees (there are tons of apple trees near me that get pruned.) Or do I really need -chunks-? I'd prefer alder, but can't find any nearby.
b) If I use found wood, hHow much do these need to be dried out before using?

3. Once I smoke these, how well can I expect them to 'keep'? I have a Seal-A-Meal. If I use that do these freeze well?

Thanks In Advance!

---JC
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Unread 11-30-2012, 02:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntower View Post
Hi,

First post. It's been a good year for salmon and steelhead. Bought a Brinkmann $40 smoker and I'd like to see what I can accomplish.

Ideally, I'd like to cold smoke, but since I don't know what I'm doing I'd like something that is easy.

I guess my other question(s) is/are:
1. What type of charcoal? @ Lowes there are these 'natural wood' charcoals for prox. $14 a bag. Is that the kind to use?

2. For 'chips':
a) Should I buy those little bags or can I use branches from local trees (there are tons of apple trees near me that get pruned.) Or do I really need -chunks-? I'd prefer alder, but can't find any nearby.
b) If I use found wood, hHow much do these need to be dried out before using?

3. Once I smoke these, how well can I expect them to 'keep'? I have a Seal-A-Meal. If I use that do these freeze well?

Thanks In Advance!

---JC
As for fuel that what you posted should work fine, or Kingsford briquets will work too. As for wood chunks are what you want, one or two is all you need(depending on size of the chunks) green wood is not good, bad smoke! Unsure how long it should be dried/aged before using.

Seal-a-meal works real well for freezing and heating (vent it prior to microwaving) or i've heard of people using boiling water to heat thawed bags of meat. Unsure how to smoke Salmon so no help there sorry.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Brethern JC.

1) Opinions vary widely on charcoal. It is worse than a religious discussion. I normally use Kingsford or Lazzuri (Cash & Carry) to get my big pit running. In my WSM I use Kingsford. Same with my old Brinkmann offset.

2) Wood... You can get wood chips & chunks just about any big box store. Remember, most people in this area think BBQing is a seasonal activity. Alder, cherry, apple are the main local woods. Hickory, mesquite, pecan all have to be imported. I tend to buy in larger quantities and splits.

3) Rule of thumb is 3 days on meats then freeze or toss. Vacuum sealing will help. How long the salmon keeps depends on several factors. Smoking is a preservation method. Also to keep in mind everything in smoker will taste like salmon afterwards unless you burn it out. One reason most people will either have a dedicated smoker for fish or just not smoke it.

Cold smoking: It is almost the prefect time of year for cold smoking meats - under 40F during the day. I use the AMAZEN smoker for cold smoking. In cold smoking I want smoke but I don't want to cook the product.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 02:53 PM   #4
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i've cold smoked plenny fish (sable/butterfish and salmon), both on the mainland and on island. so it can be done, main thing is you need to keep the fish around 80F max (ideally under 70).

for that reason, you don't need too much if any charcoal at all. just as a way to keep the smoking wood smoldering.

use more brown sugar to season than you think you need.

if you're after the traditional hardwood taste, hickory would be ok. alderwood is good for hot smoke. absolutely no kiawe (sorry couldn't resist).

6 hours was more than enough for fillets.

please look up all the USDA food safety mumbo jumbo before you do this. when cold smoking, the fish can only be held at certain temperature for a certain amount of time before you get da nice kine listeria seasonin' .

try freeze the fish after smoking and then slice; definitely helps with the slicing and supposedly helps reduce bacteria (obviously only do this with fillets).

Last edited by ManakooraMan; 11-30-2012 at 03:13 PM..
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Unread 11-30-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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Here's kind of an idiot's guide to warm smoking salmon:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...8&postcount=37

There is some lump burning, but it is mainly cherry wood. The problem is more keeping the temperature down.

I do the same thing to cold smoke, but I just keep the temperature way down -- I actually use my offset and build a very small fire with cherry wood.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 04:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gore View Post
Here's kind of an idiot's guide to warm smoking salmon:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...8&postcount=37

There is some lump burning, but it is mainly cherry wood. The problem is more keeping the temperature down.

I do the same thing to cold smoke, but I just keep the temperature way down -- I actually use my offset and build a very small fire with cherry wood.
Does this work on ribs too?
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Unread 11-30-2012, 05:31 PM   #7
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I like to cold smoke salmon under 80F too..
One more option for storage is canning..
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=146916



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Unread 11-30-2012, 05:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Czervik View Post
Does this work on ribs too?
It works well with salmon ribs. I've yet to try it on pork or beef.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 07:05 PM   #9
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Gentlemen.

Thanks for the helpful replies. That 'warm smoking' recipe looks very promising. I'm looking more for the cold 'breakfast' style I used to have as a kid... my aunt had a small shed. But this was in Ireland 40 years ago and I'll I can recall was that it was cold as hell outside. She hung things up on these 'rods' in vertical strips---like a sauna. It sure wasn't -hot-. Took a couple of days? Anyhoo.

Some follow up...

1. You can use -Kingsford-? I was told my someone else to NEVER use 'regular' charcoal (ie. for burgers/weenies) and to ALWAYS use a 'special' charcoal made from 'wood' with no oil or other chemicals. True? The stuff I see labelled 'natural wood' tends to cost 3x as much so it's a consideration.

2. Cherry? I have a bunch of cherry and apple firewood that's been drying for about a year. Is that OK, or should I stick with the store-bought stuff. Does it -really- affect the taste of salmon?

THANKS AGAIN!
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Unread 11-30-2012, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntower View Post
Gentlemen.

Thanks for the helpful replies. That 'warm smoking' recipe looks very promising. I'm looking more for the cold 'breakfast' style I used to have as a kid... my aunt had a small shed. But this was in Ireland 40 years ago and I'll I can recall was that it was cold as hell outside. She hung things up on these 'rods' in vertical strips---like a sauna. It sure wasn't -hot-. Took a couple of days? Anyhoo.

Some follow up...

1. You can use -Kingsford-? I was told my someone else to NEVER use 'regular' charcoal (ie. for burgers/weenies) and to ALWAYS use a 'special' charcoal made from 'wood' with no oil or other chemicals. True? The stuff I see labelled 'natural wood' tends to cost 3x as much so it's a consideration.

2. Cherry? I have a bunch of cherry and apple firewood that's been drying for about a year. Is that OK, or should I stick with the store-bought stuff. Does it -really- affect the taste of salmon?

THANKS AGAIN!
for cold smoking(not cooking or even warm) get an A-maze-n pellet smoker or an A-maze-n tube smoker. go to youtube and search for it. you wont regret it.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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For your smoker, the charcoal or whatever fuel source propane or electric is just fo heat the wood pellets or chunks. If you want bumbye no check the temperature, then the maze type sawdust burners (amazen or proq) is the way to go. Set and forget. But you do need sawdust. That burn correct.

The way gore and cowgirl did is legit. It will be moister and softer than store bought. I think the commercial kine use fan to blow dry it out a little.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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Some comments inserted below

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntower View Post
Gentlemen.

Thanks for the helpful replies. That 'warm smoking' recipe looks very promising. I'm looking more for the cold 'breakfast' style I used to have as a kid... my aunt had a small shed. But this was in Ireland 40 years ago and I'll I can recall was that it was cold as hell outside. She hung things up on these 'rods' in vertical strips---like a sauna. It sure wasn't -hot-. Took a couple of days? Anyhoo.

Some follow up...

1. You can use -Kingsford-? I was told my someone else to NEVER use 'regular' charcoal (ie. for burgers/weenies) and to ALWAYS use a 'special' charcoal made from 'wood' with no oil or other chemicals. True? The stuff I see labelled 'natural wood' tends to cost 3x as much so it's a consideration.

For cold smoking, I use exactly the same technique of curing -- you can season it any way you like, or not at all. Then I smoke it the same way, but keep the temperature of the salmon down (some people put it on ice) -- or you can build a smaller fire. If you have something with two chambers, it works very well -- like an offset smoker. This is not rocket science and you don't have to make it so. There are hundreds of techniques all over the world developed for cold and warm smoking fish. I personally do not like kingsford for smoking salmon as it has a strong flavor and you'll be tasting kingsford rather than the wood. But really for this, you don't want the heat provided by the charcoal, but the smoke provided by the wood. Here's another link showing both cold and warm-smoked. This might be more like what you have in mind:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=119830



I have a friend from Norway who wraps his salmon in salt for three days and doesn't smoke it at all, but just slices and eats it. There are MANY techniques. The one I linked above is just a very easy one and it produces something we very much like.

Incidentally, the warm smoking recipe we do eat for breakfast cold the next day spread on toast or bagels. The cold smoking produces a product like lox or Nova salmon. You usually see both of these products together at European breakfasts.


2. Cherry? I have a bunch of cherry and apple firewood that's been drying for about a year. Is that OK, or should I stick with the store-bought stuff. Does it -really- affect the taste of salmon?

Absolutely no need to buy anything if you have it growing and dried. I just collect thick branches in my neighborhood after a storm goes through. Usually they're fine after a month (for branches). If they're too thick, I'll pound them with the dull part of my ax. These will burn a bit better. There are a number of devices to make this easier, like the A-Maze-in cold smoker mentioned above. Or you can simply use a soldering iron. Absolutely the wood affects the flavor. You want fruitwood and I prefer apple or cherry. You can definitely tell the difference between fruitwood and other wood. Distinguishing between types of fruitwood is harder. Definitely you can tell the difference between wood and kingsford.


THANKS AGAIN!
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Unread 12-01-2012, 07:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Some comments inserted below
Would this work on guinea pigs?
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Unread 12-01-2012, 08:08 AM   #14
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Gore's method works great I still have some in the Fridge Everyone who had it loved it. To cold smoke I use the Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator- it is idiot proof whic is perfect for me. There is also a thread by Don Marco using Gent Jack Daniels which is very good He used more salt in his cure than Gore- I liked Gore's better
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Unread 12-01-2012, 08:12 AM   #15
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This is one of the things I want to try in my smoker soon. Thanks for all the info from everyone!
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