My first run at salmon tasted OK, but I kind of dried it out. Salmon Jerky is fine, but I like it a little moister, so here is a run down of my second try:
I got skinless fillets of farmed Atlantic Salmon at Costco.
My brine consisted of:
4 cups Apple Juice
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 T of my own rub
After dissolving everything I put the fillets in the brine, and put an ice filled ziplock on top to hold them down. I brined them for 3 hours only.
After rinsing, I dried them well using paper towels and...wait for it... a ShamWow! ( I know, I know, but you realize their made in Germany, and they really know how to make good stuff right?) Well, I've got to tell you, they really do work for this as the pellicle form very quickly. It only took a couple of hours on a rack in the fridge and they were ready to go.
I then popped them into my Master Forge propane, which I modified following Allexx's pointers to use a 6" deep x10" x 12" stainless Steel restaurant 1/2 pan as the smoker box. Man you can pack a lot of big chunks in there. I used a 1" hole saw to on the lid to make vent holes.
I decided on Cherry wood and put my internal probe to 135F and had my ambient smoker temp running between 100 and 140. I also filled my water pan with Apple juice. it hit internal temp after 3 hours. I pulled it after burning the hell out of my fingers trying to rob a flake off of a runty piece to make sure it was cooked... Boy was it ever! maybe it was just home grown pride, but that was some o the best salmon I ever ate. Moist, great flake, you could taste the subtle apple flavoring and the smoke was light but delicious. This farm raised stuff was fine, but i can hardly wait for Copper River Sockeye season next year!
I was eager to share with friends and family by taking some with me, kryovaced on an airplane trip... Many Thanks to AlBlancher for waving me off the Bacteria Express. I took his advice, and kept this batch at home under refrigeration and freezer, All was consumed safely and happily. I also smoked some Steelhead with similar results.
The next batch I made using this brine, which I was able to safely ship:
4 Cups Apple Juice
1 Cup Tenderquick
1/4 cup brown sugar
Just as good, and lot more peace of mind for sharing. I also extended my brining time to 6 hours. I'm trying to get my smoker to go really low so I can try lox. I may have to wait for a colder day to get that to work.
Here also is a recipe that I use for nice Salmon Spread:
1 Cup cream cheese
2T chopped fresh Dill
2T chopped chives or scallions
2T chopped capers
1T fresh lemon juice
Scant Mauldon Salt
Scant fresh ground black pepper
(note: I never measure anything while I'm making a dish like this, so these are approximations. spice to your own taste)
Whip these together, then flake off salmon to taste and add to the mix, spread on crackers, lavosh, or bagel thins, and start making another batch while your guests devour the first ( I had to make three batches the first time out). Pictured with it is a sprig of purple basil from our garden, which also lent a nice flavor note.
Thanks again for all the help you guys are willing to give. Hope you like this if you try it!