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Smoking Salmon Whole or Filet

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I will have a chance next week to hit the fish markets in Galveston. I would like to smoke a, or Salmon, is it best to smoke the whole fish or do filets.

post #2 of 17

You will probably get a better deal on salmon on your way back from Galveston if you stop at one of the larger markets near downtown Houston.

post #3 of 17

I have only ever smoked salmon fillets. I personally wouldn't have any interest in smoking the fish whole but that's just me.

post #4 of 17

I agree, smoke the filet.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok men do I leave the skin on or off of the filets for the smoke.

post #6 of 17
post #7 of 17

I always smoke my filets with the skin on.  I also prefer filets.  That way were not forced to eat the whole fish at once and can store other filets for another time.

post #8 of 17

Great info from folks already... One more thing... I remove all the bones first... even the pin bones that radiate from the back bone outward toward the side on the fish....

makes for a more pleasing bite of fish if they are out.... easier to slice also... Use needle nose pliers or hemostats if you have them.... After brining or dry curing you can smooth out the meat by gently wiping the meat with your hand to hide the tears in the meat from removing the bones... 

Take pics of the entire process... great learning tutorial for others here... Good luck and good smokin' ... Dave

post #9 of 17

there are no Salmon in Galveston unless there shipped in from the west coast

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

very true. but there are as fresh as we can get.

post #11 of 17

I also agree with removing all of the bones but that is because I hate picking through bones. I buy my fillets with all the bones removed. I have smoked them with skin on and skin off and I like them both ways. At first I liked them better with skin on but that was because my brine had too much salt in it so the skin was help the salt from penetrating on both sides and cut back on the salt flavor but once I tweaked my recipe I can smoke them with skin on or off. The stuff I have buying at Sam's lately doesn't have skin on it but if all they had was skin on I would use that and leave the skin on it. Some of my mothers Russian friends love eating the salmon skin so that was another reason that they preferred the skin on version.

post #12 of 17

I go with fillets and I have done it both ways...

post #13 of 17

I vote for the filet method.  I have never tried to smoke the whole fish so I may be biased.   I do cold smoke and leave the skin on because it helps to keep it from falling apart since I do the whole filet.  Hot smoke will cook the fish and give good taste but a different texture but my family and I prefer the cold smoke method.  I dry rub with a 50/50 mixture of kosher salt and brown sugar and let is cure overnight or 12 hrs. or so.  Rinse, dry and smoke for however long I feel like it.   Usually 4 - 8hrs.  For smoke I like oak but since I have it I used mixed hardwood with good results.   Of course hickory, apple ( and other fruit woods) are great.  Use what you got.  I do the whole filet for myself but a friend had it all cut up and packaged with skin removed and that smoked nicely too so I really think it won't matter.  Iit's what you have and what you like to do.


Go for it.  It's easy.   GOOD LUCK

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

I can't say thanks enough for all the support here. Friggen awesome forum. Best part is looks like we have several good ideas, so we get to try it out several times (e'uw beeeat). It will be the week after next before we get to try it out. I will post pics and let you know how we do. Again thanks to all and have a great weekend. "UP IN SMOKE" from Texas

post #15 of 17

I fish Michigan all summer and end up with quite a bit of salmon in the freezer.  Seems like I can pull the pin bones out of the filets 100 times easier when the fish is freshly thawed (still somewhat frozen) than when toally thaw.  When totally thawed it seems like the bones don't pull out at easy.



post #16 of 17

With only two in our house we do filets. I like skin side down on the grate.


For a party buffet, I can picture a whole smoked salmon including head and tail.  Carefully refrigerated over night.  Placed on the buffet table on a bed of crushed ice and a fork for the guests to pull of chunks for their plate.


Good luck and good smoking.

post #17 of 17
Just fillets with skin on or off will both yield good results for you
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