Originally Posted by SMOKINGEAGLE
I bought 6lbs of salmon fillets. Skin was removed and its the whole fillet not cut up.
My questions are as followed.
1. Do I leave the fillets whole or cut into smaller pieces?
2. Should i put some tin foil under them to keep from drying out?
3. What temp. should i be smoking at?
4. How long should it take to smoke?
Thanks for any input and information given, this is the first time attempting to smoke salmon.
1. If the fillets have large thickness variations from end to end, I would cut off the thinner section so you can remove it from the smoker when it's ready, otherwise, it will be overcooked before the rest is done.
2. I would use a water pan in your smoker, either vertical or horizontal. If horizontal, place the water pan near the side fire box and the fish towards the opposite end of the cooking grates.
3. If an average thickness is an inch or more, 225* should do fine. I have dropped back to around 200* for really thin, small pieces of fish. I have found that too low of chamber temps can at times cause the fish to have a drier interior once it's fully cooked.
4. Depends on thickness, however, here's a USDA internal temp chart you can reference for safe internal cooking temps...always cook to temp, not by time...right side of this page is where you'll find fish/seafood:
Are you going to brine the salmon prior to smoking? Depending on what you want, a brine can impart additional flavors over and above a dry rub (if you are using one) or just a few sprinkled spices/herbs, and can help to retain moisture during cooking. An overnight brine for smaller pieces and 12-18 hour brine for larger pieces can make a big difference.
I've never smoked salmon yet, myself, but, with fish, it seems that a little extra prep can go a long way towards a very good finished product.