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Old 08-30-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
Iron Mike
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Join Date: 10-08-08
Location: Rockford Illinois
Default Fish smoking

The wife was wondering if I could do some salmon on the smoker.
I met that challenge with a "No problem!"
Well..... I have a few questions before I tackle this.

Cold or hot smoke?
Obviously I need a lighter wood. Any tried and true suggestions?
I heard of placing the fish slabs on cedar plank also?
How about spices/rub?

Any input is appreciated as I don't want to taint my reputation(?)
with some unpleasant food coming off the smoker.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:46 AM   #2
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I just smoked anout 50lbs. of tuna last night. I used a combination of woods, the key was to make sure the fire burned cleaned. I smoked at 225.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:57 AM   #3
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I've done hot smoked fish my whole life with hickory and oak. It's just because that's the way we do it and it always works.

So this is the brine from "Home Book of Smoke Cooking Meat, Fish and Game". It's so old that it doesn't have an ISBN but has a Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 76-162445. Good book, I'm sure there are newer ones with the same information.

1 Gal water add 2 cups Kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice. Let the fish sit in the brine for about 1/2 hour. I prefer to let the fish air dry, I use a box fan to help dry the fish prior to smoking. Nice but not required. I personaly cut the salt to one cup, we like a little flavor enhancements, but the overwhelming saltiness. Sometimes I add a little molassess.

Then smoke to your hearts content, maybe 160 to 180, most of the day until the fish is firm. Sampling along the way is allowed as long as you have a cold beer in hand.

I know this is kinda vague, but it's like Q... everyone has there expertise, talent and way to do it... and everyone is right....

Good luck.
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:19 PM   #4
JD McGee
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Here are a couple of recipes from TVWB site...they are my preferred method...



I keep it simple with the appetizer style and just sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper before smoking...

For the dinner style I use Dizzy Pig's "Ragin' River"...awesome on salmon.
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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Hot smoke if you want to eat tonight. Cold smoke if you want to preserve.
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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I think it matters what kind of product you want to end up with. If your idea of smoked salmon is lox, you are gonna have to go cold smoke, you want the salmon to stay as close to raw as practical. If you are looking for something more like squaw candy, then a hot smoke is the way to go. If we brine with a brine very similar to what has already been shown. Many West coast and Alaskan folks do no brine or rub.

We do a West Coast smoke using temps in the 215 to 225 range in a smokehouse, over an all alder fire, on racks or hanging with the skin on (if you hang without the skin, you will not be eating salmon, you will be picking it out of the fire).
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:30 PM   #7
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Thirdeye throws out some nice looking smoked salmon.
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:29 PM   #8
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Brine the salmon for 2 - 4 hours in a very lightly salted brine. Then lay it out on a wire rack and let it dry for about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours depending on thickness and air temp. It will fell tacky to the touch. You can place a fan lightly blowing over them. Then smoke either on a wood plank,( alder or cedar), soaked in water. I just use a sheet of good old galvani......I mean aluminum foil. Watch it close and remove to serve when it flakes like you want it to.
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:44 PM   #9
JD McGee
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Here's some I did a few months back... I used Alderwood and a simple brine solution...

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Old 08-30-2009, 05:14 PM   #10
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Here is the recipe that I used:

Brine Recipe
·1/2 Gallon Good Clean Spring Water
·3/4 Cup Kosher Salt (or Plain Salt, but not Iodized Salt)
·1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
·1 ts Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder
·1 ts Tenderquick (curing salt, optional)
·3-4 whole black peppercorns, slightly cracked
·a few thin slices of lemon or lime
·*optional, anything you like...pickling spices, thyme, honey, wine.....

Warm the water in a large pan until all spices are dissolved. Cool thoroughly before using (cold, very cold).

Add the cleaned fish to the brine and refrigerate for 1-hour. Make sure that brine covers the fish completely. (tip: Weigh down with a plate or use a plastic bag and remove the air). Do not soak the fish for more than an hour, absolutely not more than one and a half hours.

After an hour in the fridge, remove fish from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water (trust me, you won't lose any flavor....if you don't rinse it, you'll have a salt-cake)

Pat dry with paper towels and hang on a rack to air-dry for 1-2 hours. An electric fan will help. (tip: at this point, you can also sprinkle your fish with some coarse black pepper)
Let your fish air-dry until the "pellicle" has formed. This is the shiny, slightly tacky, coating that your fish will get after it has dried. The pellicle helps the smoke to coat evenly and not get blotchy.

Smoke at 220* for approximately 2 hours/pound.

Or Hot smoked at 212 to 225 for 4 hours, first 2 hour I used Alder wood, then switched to Apple for the final 2 hours.

Hot smoking is done at 140 - 200*
Cold smoking is below 100*
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:43 PM   #11
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We do a lot of salmon, prefer not to brine. I start with a fresh fillet, remove the pinbones and skin (without skin put it on a grill topper). Rub with some olive oil, season with garlic, lemon pepper, and dill, give it a topping of brown sugar and minced onion. I smoke it at 190 until it reaches an internal temp of 145 in the thickest part, around 2.5 hrs. I like the salmon cooked, but still moist and tender. Alder, cherry, pecan or apple are good wood choices.

I also mop at the half way point with a mix of lemon juice, cajun seasoning and olive oil.

This comes out great and it's only about 10 min prep time.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:02 PM   #12
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I pretty much exclusively do the farm raised filet sides from Costco. Like others have mentioned, I keep it simple, really just kosher salt and pepper. I have a NBBD minus the side firebox (i.e. a barrel grill), and I build a hot fire and add a chunk of pecan or hickory. Temp reading at the lid is 400 to 450. The salmon goes on opposite the fire for about 20 minutes, and I go by looks but I'm guessing about DaveNH's 145 or a little below.

And the best part is making salmon cakes with the leftovers the next day. Good stuff.
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Old 08-30-2009, 11:19 PM   #13
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I guess we need to start with a few questions..... Does the wife want salmon that has been flavor smoked, or cured and smoked salmon? What kind of cooker(s) do you have to choose from? And what kind of salmon, in what form (steaks, fillets, skin on or off) do you have? Whatever you decide on, someone here can hook you up. Parden the pun..


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Old 08-31-2009, 01:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by JD McGee View Post
Here's some I did a few months back... I used Alderwood and a simple brine solution...

This Salmon looks fantastic JD.
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