In my Roll Call posting, I requested suggestions on a better way to use wood pellets in my electric Brinkmann Gourmet (red bullet). A number of the members suggested that I use the cold smoker frame from A-MAZE-N to hold wood pellets so this is my first try at doing that. Actually I'm using one similar to the A-Maze-N that my son fabricated for me.
I have tried smoking salmon a couple of times before with less than stellar results, but this was the best batch yet...nice and moist and just the right amount of seasoning and smoke taste.
I would love to be able to make the traditional beautiful kind of salmon like AHAKOHDA just made and posted pictures of, but I'm just thrilled to be able to make some that tastes great on Ritz crackers. This batch fills that requirement quite nicely and here's how I did it.
2 # of salmon filets (I buy the 1# bags in Aldi's - $3.49 a pound)
1 cup of soy sauce (if using lower sodium type add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt)
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 - 2 T of orange juice
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tsp of minced ginger
Liquid for water bowl:
2 quarts of hot water
1 large lemon sliced and squeezed
1/2 of onion cut into wedges
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
Wood pellets in cold smoker container:
1 cup of Bear Mountain brand Cascade Alder pellets placed on the bottom rack like you're using the Brinkmann as a grill versus a smoker.
NOTE: (I used 1 1/2 cups this time and it was too much...they caused a fire when I opened the lid to remove the salmon when it was done. I also am thinking that I might need to have the pellet container sitting on top of a metal pan of some kind next time to keep the heat down some so that maybe the pellets won't catch fire again.)
Mix marinade ingredients together well and pour over salmon filets. Use either a glass or plastic container to hold the salmon. I let the salmon sit in the marinade in the refrig for almost 2 hours. Then I drained the salmon pieces in a colander and discarded the marinade mixture. After the salmon had drained for a couple of minutes, I sat a a wire cookie rack over some paper towels and then laid the pieces of salmon on the rack. I let the salmon air dry on the counter while I got the smoker components ready, put the smoker together and pre-heated the smoker.
I put heavy-duty foil over the rack, sprayed the foil with cooking spray and poked holes all over the foil. Assemble the smoker components and plug it in. Cover and let it heat up for 10-15 minutes or until you can see just a little smoke coming out. Spread the salmon pieces out on the foil-covered rack so there is room between pieces. Put the lid on the smoker and set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes.
At the end of 30 minutes, the smoke was really pouring out..that was my first clue that I'd used too many pellets. The salmon was nicely done with the thinner edges just starting to brown a bit. I unplugged the smoker, removed the salmon and then took the rack out of the smoker. By the time I did that and walked inside to put the salmon on the counter, enough air had gotten inside of the smoker to cause the pellets to flare up. The liquid in the bowl was really boiling and the flames were licking about 1" above the edge of the bowl so there was nothing I could do but just watch and wait for the flames to die down. Thankfully the flames burned out in about 2-3 minutes. I'm waiting for everything to cool down enough so I can empty the bowl and scrub it out. It's going to be a mess to get all of the soot off of it.
I think that I can do 4# of filets by just doubling the amounts of the marinade and the liquid in the water bowl, but I still think that 1 cup of pellets will be enough. I think that I'll still have enough smoking time left to be able to do 2 batches of 2#s each. I'll just need to be ready to move fast on taking out the first batch and putting the second one in quickly enough so I can get the lid back on before enough air gets down to the pellets to make them flame up.
All things considered, I'm really pleased with the overall results of using the cold smoker container for the pellets.
Dee in FL