Smoked Salmon (dry brine) Rookie Mistake! (Q-View)

Discussion in 'Fish' started by rainyprincess, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    Picked up a few fillets from the grocery store, trimmed the skin, rinsed, patted dry and laid down in a dry cure of 2C brown sugar, 1/2C salt, 1T cracked pepper overnight for about 18Hrs. Rookie mistake was cutting them into serving sizes BEFORE the cure. Turned out way too salty. Second rookie mistake was using the cold smoker on my MES because it just laid down way too much smoke. Smoked it at 200 with apple chips for 90 minutes. They were cooked fine and would have been okay had I cut them after the cure, not before. Next time I'm just going to use the regular MES tube chip tray for less smoke and cut them after the cure.

    Kosher salt, brown sugar and fresh cracked pepper.

    Laid them down in a bed of the cure and covered the tops. Fridge for 18Hrs.

    Look at all the liquid the cure sucked out of the fish.

    Rinsed them in cold water, patted dry, sprayed smoker rack with Pam and laid them out for 90 minutes on the counter for pellicle to form.

    Finished product. Flavor was strong. Would have been better broken up in a salad, but we ate them as an entre and it was just too much. Next time I will leave them whole in the cure, cut them prior to smoking and put less smoke on them.
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey RP, yeah ya may wanna try the whole fillets or trim to sections.... however I get where ya was coming from on that.... Don't know til ya try though ! I do my salmon in the dry brine, section off bout 3 cuts off a fillet & fridge for the night.... Won't totally bore ya here but here's a link to the last smoked salmon I done if at all interested.....

    Turned out good, hope this helps !

  3. It looks delicious! I want to eat that right now, with my coffee, at 3:40 a.m.!!! The screen will have to do. Great job! Cheers! - Leah
  4. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    I think your problem was 18hrs. in the cure was way too long for those sized pieces. 6 to 8 hrs and it would have been fine, more sweet then salty!
  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi RP

    Yes, as had been said above, the curing time is your problem.I smoke a lot of salmon and for fillets that size you should cover them in the dry brine for no more than 2 hours - 3 hours if you are using coarse salt.

    Several members have uploaded Q-View for salmon fillet smoking and you can fine one of mine here - Smoked Fish Fillets

    There are many variations on the cure however the ones I have found most successful for salmon are 50:50 sugar:salt. Pepper is good as a flavouing however fennel seeds or chopped dill are good as well.

    There is no a problem curing them whole or cut into serving sizes, in fact unless you are going to smoke them as whole fillets you get a more even cure if they are cut first.

    You can then either cold smoke them overnight before hot smoking (this gives a much deeper smoke flavour) or you can simply hot smoke them. 

    I hope this helps
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  6. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A soak in fresh water after curing helps reduce the saltiness too.
  7. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Use TQ not just regular salt and rinse after curing. 
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Rinsing thoroughly under cold running water after curing is essential. Make sure you also rinse the little folds and crevices in the fish flesh.
  9. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes to all the above.  Looks great.   I just did a post on some Salmon filets I did yesterday.  1/4 ratio of non iodized salt / brown sugar is my standard. Rinse well after brining.  I always brine the filets for 7 hours and then smoke for 3+ hours starting at 130*, then bumping up to 145* then 155* until I reach an IT of 140*.

    What type of Salmon is that?  Atlantic?  Am I correct that you trimmed off the skin? 
  10. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    Hey man, sorry for the delayed response. Crazy week. Thanks for the advice. I noticed on your post that you didn't remove the skin. What are the pros/cons of that? I'm guessing it doesn't dry out as badly? Less smoke? Looks like the bottom doesn't color up as much? Not sure, just guessing.

  11. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    Hey, thanks! My first smoke with salmon and I figured out real quick that eating it right out of the smoker hot gives a pretty strong flavor. Probably would have overpowered your coffee. Left it in the fridge for a couple days and it mellowed out a little though. Granted, I messed it up a bit and put too strong of a flavor on it from the start, but everybody still thought it was delicious.

    So you're a surfer in New Hampshire? That's a thing out here? I'm an Indiana boy that picked up surfing in California (barely) living in Boston. Wouldn't have occurred to me to bring my board out.

  12. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    Yeah, I kind of thought about that afterwards. I saw a YouTube (chef tips) where the guy said he brined for 8 hours and I was tired and wanted to sleep so I did it over night. As I said, rookie mistake - ha! Live and learn I guess though. It was still pretty darn good. Just strong.
  13. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    Wade! Dude! Yes, your comments help a lot. So, I've got some questions. White sugar on salmon? Everything I read had people using brown sugar (maybe that was just for hot smoking though). Did you try both and just preferred the flavor of white? Also, as for the cold smoke, what are the pros/cons compared to hot smoke? It looks like you still have to cook it when you want to eat it, right? You didn't cut the skin off, why? For the drip issue you mentioned or other reasons? When you brined, did you leave it on the counter or in the fridge? Does it matter?

    Superb post. Very informative. Thanks!

  14. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    So I know that Tender Quick is used for curing meat like bacon, but what are the benefits of using it on salmon? I was doing a hot smoke. I thought it was generally for when you are smoking at lower temps? If there are any posts you can easily refer me too that would be great too. Thanks!

  15. rainyprincess

    rainyprincess Fire Starter

    Yes, it's farmed Atlantic salmon and I did trim the skin prior. Do you usually trim the skin, or no? Why do you change the temp over the course of the smoke? And also why not smoke at a higher temp so it doesn't take as long? Does it keep it from drying out as much?

  16. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have typically kept the skin on but have recently dabbled with skinned filets, with  great results.  Low and slow in temp cooking.  Too high and it'll be too dry.
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I do a mix of skin on and skin off. There is not a lot of difference in flavour however the skin off keep their shape better as the skin on ones have a tendency to curl a little.

Share This Page