Holiday Warning!

Discussion in 'Fish' started by northwesterner, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. As a newbie here and everyone has been so helpful to me I think I should reciprocate that good advise, and Salmon is what I am good at....... Being that this is the Holiday season we all must be cautious with the smoked gifts we receive. If you are given packaged smoked salmon or if you are at a holiday party and you see "Keta Salmon" run away, fast!!!! It has a tendency to be mushy, dry or nasty in numerous other ways. The rule with salmon is don't smoke any salmon that you would not grill, bake or cook any other way. A misconception, especially here among northwest fishermen that you can take a fish of questionable quality and it will smoke up fine, this is not true. The "Keta" or as it is more commonly called "Chum" or "Dog" is known as the least desirable of the five species of pacific salmon. I am not saying all Chum salmon is bad, but it's meat deteriorates very fast when near the end of its life. A Chum caught in the salt water that is chrome bright would be o.k. but if you didn't catch it yourself you may not know its quality until you bite into it. If you get the itch to smoke up some salmon your best bet would be King, (Chinook) Sockeye, (Red) or Coho. (Silver) Make sure the skin of the fish is chrome bright and if you can buy your fish whole take a look at the eyes, they should be clear, not opaque. This post is in no way a Chum Salmon bashing session but unless you know what it is and a what stage of its life it was in I would steer clear of it as there are much better options out there!!! Having said all this Chum (Keta) does have it's place during the holidays and that place is your in-laws!!!!!
    In case you are a visual learner heres a picture of this delicious little devil [​IMG] Joj28HyTab6gYVqRWw&um=1&tbnid=V-G63EqU7nRI3M:&tbnh=90&tbnw=120&ei=mkdjR55ykaZ6uKOx TA&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dchum%2Bsalmon%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%2 6hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial%26sa%3DN
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmm well, I happen to LIKE my in-laws, but thanks... worst I might serve is on the salty side ;{)
  3. Sorry if this came across as an in-law bash, I assure you it is nothing more than a little helpful (I hope) advise. Disregard the in-law comment, Avoid the Chum!
  4. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Grin.. no biggie. In-law jokes are a pretty time honored thing... up there with blonde and lawyer jokes heh!
  5. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I agree, to a large extent, with Northwesterner.

    Chum are commercially caught in great numbers, in Canada. They may be caught commercially in Washington State too. Salmonclubber could probably answer that. Regardles, comercially caught Chum are almost always professionally processed, canned, labled and marketed as such. These comercially prepared fish can be trusted. So even in the mid-west, if you see Chum in the grocery store, it is safe.

    Sport fishing, I have caught literally hundreds of them in the Charlotte Straits, at the north end of Vancouver Island. Even chrome and still in Salt Chuck, I find them very inferior to the other species.

    The good news is that Chum(Dog) are not a big item in the United States. I have caught them off the mouth of the Columbia and even in the Columbia River, but it is infrequent. Tillamook Bay gets a fairly large run of these critters, on some years. They actually run up and spawn in the Miami, Wilson and Kiltches Rivers(3 of 5 rivers that feed the bay) on some years. (Maybe the other two rivers as well, but I have never caught one in the Trask or Tillamook Rivers). Here they are just hours out of salt water and fiesty as heck. I have used light tackle or fly rod on these rivers and caught up to 30 a day. When doing this I have been in catch and release mode, just having a fun fall day. Once again, timing is everything.

    Unless you, a friend or a relative caught one and then misjudged it's condition or mishandled it during your personal preparation, you will have no health problems.

    Having said all this, I no longer eat them. Other than a mount or photo Op, I try to stay clear of them.

  6. salmonclubber

    salmonclubber Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yes skip they do fish chum salmon commercially in washington and keta is the new catch phrase it is a marketing ploy to sell this product
  7. homebrew & bbq

    homebrew & bbq Smoking Fanatic

    Since it seems we have some pretty knowledgeable folks here...

    I live in Nebraska, and in spite of our extensive coastline [​IMG] fresh fish are unheard of around here. Just what SHOULD I be looking for when I buy a salmon filet? (whole fish are pretty rare, too, at least around here)
  8. salmonclubber

    salmonclubber Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    a salmon fillet should be nice and bright in color it should not have any brownish colors to it if it smells bad dont buy it a fillet should be moist and not dry like nw said earlier chinook coho sockeye steelhead are good for the smoker pink salmon are ok they are one step above the chum salmon
  9. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks Huey. I know you would have a handle on it.

    Get your Elk yet?

  10. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Once again, Huey is right on the mark. If you can buy fresh Salmon, that is what to look for and the way to do it. In your situation, however, you will probably have to rely on frozen.

    If that is the case, I would find a specialty fish market. If none in your area, then befriend the meat or fish manager at a Costco, Wal-Mart or other big chain that you do have. Discussing your needs and concerns with them personally, gets them to take a little "Ownership" in the outcome. They won't be making this big profit on just your purchase, but they are smart enough to see they can win or loose a lot of good will and reputation if they give you bad stuff. Once they have come through for you, go back and compliment them. Maybe even take them in a little taste of your handiwork. You will cultivate a trustworthy, reliable source this way. Sneeky little devils, aren't we? [​IMG]

    This is dangerous talk around here, being that I live in Chinook(KING) territory, but my personal favorite is Sockeye.

    Anyway, good luck.

    Any other questions or anything I can do to help, just e-mail or PM.

  11. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I appreciate all of the good advice on this thread. I'm like Homebrew...I do not have access to good fresh salmon in my area.
    Thanks for all of the tips folks!! Now I know what to look for.[​IMG]
  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    After having caught silver salmon on my trips to Oregon, I am amazed at the stuff they call fresh in Florida. Nowhere near the color of a really fresh salmon [​IMG]
  13. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member


    Thanks for the earlier PM.

    Hope you get a chance to come back to Oregon. For a photo shoot and some Salmon. We can give it a shot here and then maybe run north to Forks and see Huey(Salmonclubber). If you can ever arrange that, we will get you into some beautiful fish and you will learn how he got his nickname. [​IMG]

  14. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I checked into the salman at the grocery store yesterday. One said farm raised and the other said Atlantic wild caught.

    Which one should I go with? Or should I skip them both? lol
  15. salmonclubber

    salmonclubber Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    i would go with the atlantic just cause it says wild salmon farm raised salmon are raised to be grown very fast and put on the market in a very short time and at a big profit go with the wild salmon it will be a better product
  16. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank you Salmonclubber, I will do that.[​IMG]
  17. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Huey is right on. What I would like to add is: wild salmon(of any specie) roam and range around and although they can be in schools, these schools are fairly loose knit. These free ranging Salmon are not forced to stay next to each other or stay in one particular confined area. Farm raised fish(of any specie) are trapped together in very close proximity, due to the fact that they are confined to pens or nets. They tend to introduce parasites and disease to each other and polute their local stretch of water. There are even cases where wild fish get infected, just by swimming in the same channel and fijord as the pens. So yes, there are lots of pen raised fish on the market and it is at lower cost. But it can be risky from a health standpoint. Wild fish are always healthier and of better quality.

  18. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank you for the additional info Pescadero.[​IMG]

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