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woods for smoking salmon?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I tried my first smoked salmon a couple of weeks ago and didn't like it much.  I did brine it and then did a wet marinade, and then add some light spices, but it just didn't seem to have the same rich flavor as when I do a cedar plank salmon. 


I cooked them to 140 along side some ribs and chicken and used mesquite and apple wood.


It had good flavor, but not as much rich buttery taste as when I use the same brine, but then grill it over a hot flame on a cedar plank. 


I'm wondering if it would have been better if I did them by themselves and smoked them with cedar instead of apple, mesquite?? 


Does anyone smoke salmon with cedar at all?

post #2 of 18

Hello! Using cedar to smoke with is a huge NO...check out this: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/50439/woods-for-smoking

Yes I know cedar planks are used for grilling salmon, but I've never done it, so I can't say it's what made the difference.


You didn't mention what temp you were smoking the salmon at...could it have been too high for too long? Here's some I did and have to say it was the best I've had - http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/119107/yoshidas-and-ginger-smoked-salmon


Maybe someone else will have more experience and will have better answers.


I like alder on salmon.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

I cooked it at around 220 until the internal temp was 140. 


Cedar planks are perfectly fine to cook and smoke with.  I think the biggest misconception of them being poisonous spans from guys cooking with TREATED wood.  Untreated Cedar planks are sold in just about every BBQ store and are perfectly fine.  Although they do contain a high amount of tannic acid which makes the wood very strong and in parts a dark smoke it's not harmful if you consume food cooked over the wood or smoked with it.  If it was in fact poisonous do you really think the FDA would allow them to be sold to cook food with?

post #4 of 18

i havnt done much salmon, but do alot of trout.

we like alder on the trout and sometimes add just a touch of hickory.

i would think mesquite might be a little "bitter" on fish.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

I thought that would have been the problem, but now thinking back I only used a small amount and it was pretty close to the lit coals so I honestly think it was already burnt as I put on the salmon 3 hours after the other 2 meats. 


It didn't taste bad, but didn't have that zip and richness I find when I cedar plank the salmon using the same brine and marinade.  I also didn't care for the texture much either, but in the future I may pull the fish at 130 and do a quick grill over hot coals to crisp it up a bit. 

post #6 of 18

Alder is a very traditional wood for salmon, but I have had great success with cherry as well. Most of the fruit woods go well with most fishes. Just keep the smoke light, fish can get overpowered very fast by the smokey flavor.

post #7 of 18

I typically do 1 pan of alder followed by 1 pan of Apple.   Alder with Cherry might be a great combo.

post #8 of 18

I've been messing around with equal parts hickory and apple. I definitely like strong smoke. I'm even considering just a heavy Hickory to see what that turns out like. I've used alder 2 other times.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

hickory wow.  I don't like a heavy flavor on salmon, but never thought of putting hickory in then pan.  I may have to try that next time, because apple is just too mild for my taste.

post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by LGHT View Post

hickory wow.  I don't like a heavy flavor on salmon, but never thought of putting hickory in then pan.  I may have to try that next time, because apple is just too mild for my taste.

Apple is light. I wonder what the strongest fuit wood is, cherry?


If you like it smokey, hickory works. Keep the TBS flowing and it'll rock!

post #11 of 18

I've been using cherry and I'm a huge fan. Subtle and not overwhelming. The past two times I've used pecan and I'm very happy.

post #12 of 18
+1 on the alder except I use pellets from Todd for the AMNPS.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

cherry and pecan?  I've never used either on anything can you describe the flavor profile.  I'm hoping to find something a bit on the sweet that is somewhat strong. 


Alder is just too passive.

post #14 of 18

LGHT, you won't get the deep smoke flavor from pecan or cherry as you would hickory or even mesquite but personally I think I get plenty of smoke flavor from the cherry. I use the AMZNS from Todd with the dust. You could always light both ends or I've even used the dust in the actual MES 40 pan along with the AMZNS together to really blast some smoke flavor. The cherry gives nice subtle hint of smoke & sweet, which is what I like. I've been rubbing a little pure maple syrup on my fillets after the pellicle is formed and that helps crust it up real nice during the smoke process.

post #15 of 18

I have used all hickory when smoking full, head on salmon as well as filets.  Family and friends keep asking for more

post #16 of 18

For me, Mesquite imparts a very strong almost acrid smoke flavor in a closed smoker.  Especially on fish. I use it more in an open broiler when cooking a duck or roast on the spit. I use fruit woods, apple, cherry, citrus etc. and tune the heat in the smoke generator down to make a lighter smoke.



post #17 of 18
Recently used a mix of Alder/Maple/Apple that turned out great. I've used Hickory before but found it overwhelmed the salmon. I like a mild to medium smoke on fish.
post #18 of 18
I don't use mesquite in the smoker. Too strong and acrid for me. I use the fruit woods on fish. Cherry, Apple, citrus etc. light flavor. Also tone the temp of the smoke generator down for a lighter smoke. Just my dos centavos.
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