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View Full Version : Smoked Salmon help needed


Seefyre
08-11-2016, 02:02 AM
So, just about every Brethren has had the friend or neighbor ask "hey I was wondering when you're gonna fire up your smoker again". This time for me it's salmon, a lot of salmon. 20 fillets worth.

I'll be using my Shirley and I just realized I have zero experience smoking fish with live fire. I'm comfortable running the fire properly at nearly any temp.

Is this the time to dump a bag of briquettes or lump in the basket with chunks or splits on top or proceed as I normally do and go live fire? I plan to use alder.

My research has pulled very little info on smoking fish with live fire/offsets/reverse flow rigs, can any Brethren lend the helping hand of your experience.

Thanks!

keeperofsecrets
08-11-2016, 04:14 AM
I have done a few salmon filets in my time on my offset. Brine for about 6 hours in salt and garlic. I generally keep the fire between 200 and 220 and smoke skin side-down until they start to weep. This is usually around an hour. It is easy to cook them too long. Check out amazingribs.com for more tips.

ebijack
08-11-2016, 04:35 AM
Some say to use a dedicated smoker for fish, some of us have no problem. I use drip pans under the fillets to catch the drippings for disposal. I marinate in teriyaki/spices overnight, then smoke at 275*. If you use the search feature you will find a lot of postings on here how others do it.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=231814&highlight=salmon

Most LOVE the crispy edges.
http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/640x480q90/921/XzuOyB.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/plXzuOyBj)

MisterChrister
08-11-2016, 05:08 AM
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh131/WisconsinNovaGuy/Mobile%20Uploads/1460935522_zpsd8zs7wfc.jpg

http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh131/WisconsinNovaGuy/Mobile%20Uploads/1460935527_zpsvycrqxcm.jpg

Here's thirdeye's method, in my opinion, the easiest and best. He's a very well respected member here, and MANY folks (including newbs) go this route for consistent, excellent results. Good luck!

http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/1995/02/seafood-dry-cure-for-salmon-trout-or.html?m=1

Jrogers84
08-11-2016, 05:23 AM
Here's thirdeye's method, in my opinion, the easiest and best. He's a very well respected member here, and MANY folks (including newbs) go this route for consistent, excellent results. Good luck!

http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/1995/02/seafood-dry-cure-for-salmon-trout-or.html?m=1

I was just about to post this. I was given this method last time I wanted to try something new. I had never dry cured before. Loved the way it came out

Smoke Dawg
08-11-2016, 05:35 AM
I smoke salmon in my smokehouse and prefer live fire. I use alder a lot but at times will mix in Cherry, apple, or maple. after brine and rinse, I add a little brown sugar and course black pepper when the filets are on the grate. Lately have been using a pepper jelly instead.

20 filets will last you awhile. I vac pack and freeze - It lasts pretty good.

krex1010
08-11-2016, 07:32 AM
I like to dry brine and then it's definitely important to let the fish air dry until a good pellicle has formed, I've been in a rush before and not let it dry long enough and the end result definitely wasn't as good.

krex1010
08-11-2016, 07:33 AM
I smoke salmon in my smokehouse and prefer live fire. I use alder a lot but at times will mix in Cherry, apple, or maple. after brine and rinse, I add a little brown sugar and course black pepper when the filets are on the grate. Lately have been using a pepper jelly instead.

20 filets will last you awhile. I vac pack and freeze - It lasts pretty good.

I'm a fan of glazing with apricot preserves towards the end....pepper jelly sounds really good, may have to try that..thanks for the tip!

Al Czervik
08-11-2016, 07:39 AM
Do yourself a favor and give this method from member Gore a try:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=119317

Always a huge hit! :hungry:

Ron_L
08-11-2016, 08:29 AM
Here's thirdeye's method, in my opinion, the easiest and best. He's a very well respected member here, and MANY folks (including newbs) go this route for consistent, excellent results. Good luck!

http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/1995/02/seafood-dry-cure-for-salmon-trout-or.html?m=1

Beautiful fish! Thirdeye's recipe is one of the best I have found!

toymaster
08-11-2016, 10:01 AM
This sounds like a job for...................................Cowgirl :clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

Seefyre
08-11-2016, 12:29 PM
Thanks everyone for the tips, there is some mighty fine looking fish out there!

I do plan on running drip trays and catching everything. No need to turn the Shirley into a fishing boat :wacko:

I'm still a bit unsure as to run a full live fire or go combo lump and splits. I don't want the fish done too fast.

This thing is this alder is very dry and burns clean, I'm wondering with a short smoke such as with salmon will I be leaving the fish short smoke flavor.

Looks like a test run is in my immediate future.

Thanks again Brethren

Smoke Dawg
08-11-2016, 09:13 PM
This sounds like a job for...................................Cowgirl :clap2: :clap2: :clap2:


http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/search?q=+salmon

jeffturnerjr
08-11-2016, 09:33 PM
Im one of the guys who believes in having a dedicated smoker. But if you have to use your Shirley, I say go ahead as usual. I would personally go a little lower and slower.

Sea Rover
08-11-2016, 11:31 PM
I have smoked a lot of salmon being a commercial salmon fishermen. I have found the best and easiest for me is to use a simple dry brine. I use one part rock ice cream salt to one part brown sugar mixed and spead on skin on boneless pieces put in a large plastic container for about 3hrs refrigerated. Rinse the salmon then air or fan dry. I now use a Big Chief smoker with a pan of alder chips every hour for 8 hours. They come out looking and tasting great. Low heat is the way to go with salmon,trust me stick burners are not my first choice with my skill set. Hope this helps.

Smokie185
08-12-2016, 07:49 PM
I like to dry brine and then it's definitely important to let the fish air dry until a good pellicle has formed, I've been in a rush before and not let it dry long enough and the end result definitely wasn't as good.

I second that.

OferL
08-13-2016, 01:32 AM
I second that.

+1 really important

Big George's BBQ
08-13-2016, 08:24 AM
I have had great success with Gore's method thirdeye is always a great choice If you decide to cold smoke check out Don Marco I also like to smoke with the skin on-meat does not get dirty and the salmon comes off easily

ORSmoker
08-13-2016, 09:36 AM
If you are after truly smoked salmon rather than grilled with a smoky taste, low temp is the best way to go. If you see any white weeping from the salmon, you are grilling not smoking. That only forms when the temp is too high. You are cooking it not smoking it.

I am also one for the dedicated smoker for salmon. I have a Little Chief I keep around for handling fish. I have done trout on the offset but can't keep the temp low enough for smoked. Still gets good flavor on the offset but it is definitely more like baked with smoke rather than smoked.

Seefyre
08-13-2016, 10:34 AM
I'm running my test fire now and I have a VERY small bed of coals going with some chunks going and I'm running hotter than I want @ 220's.

I'm going to run this batch in the warmer, it's running 50 degrees cooler and that should be spot on. I definitely do not want baked salmon.

Thanks for the responses

~Chris

Big George's BBQ
08-13-2016, 11:57 AM
I do mine on the egg and 150

Seefyre
08-13-2016, 05:01 PM
Alright, I got my fire dialed in but I needed to put up a blue tarp to keep the sun off the cooker so I could easily maintain 135-150.

Here's the load out and some of the finished tail sections and thin pieces.

Sea Rover
08-13-2016, 09:28 PM
The Shirley looks great with the salmon smoking awesome. I may have to retire my Big Chief when my Jambo gets done. Looking good keep us updated.

m-fine
08-13-2016, 10:46 PM
Late to the party but it looks like you figured it out. There is no letting the cooker run where it wants with fish. You really need to keep the temp in the desired range or the results will vary dramatically.

Big George's BBQ
08-14-2016, 07:46 AM
Wow that is some beautiful salmon

MisterChrister
08-14-2016, 08:52 AM
What a beautiful load of fish you turned out there!

Seefyre
08-14-2016, 10:26 AM
It took a little time and the addition of the tarp but I was able to reliable keep the temp wherever I wanted. I ran the first couple hours in the high 120's. then I finished them up at 150 degrees. The salmon came out excellent. We had a dry brine (the rosier looking stuff) and a wet brine. I preferred the wet, it had a better balance of salt to sugars.

Here's a pic of the tarp setup and the wet brine finish. It took the smoke more deeply. It looks like it wept due to over-temp but the pit ran low with a short 150 set. Must be the brine.

mykeystoy
08-14-2016, 12:24 PM
That looks pretty good to me. I would love to do this but I am the only one in the house that would touch it.