Being a huge fan of smoked salmon, and living in the Pacific Northwest, I'm very interested in trying out your method. One question... You say forming the pellicle is the most important step. How long do you let the salmon go during this step and how do you recognize when it's ready?
I've been letting it sit, uncovered, in the fridge overnight for this step but have no idea how to determine if the results are adequate.
Sitting in the frig will not allow the pellicle to form... It has to have air, and lots of it. If it is humid it may require heated air to form the pellicle properly. Also it needs to cover all surfaces. A shot of PAM on the smoker racks and put the fish on them to allow the pellicle to form in place is a good way to do things.
I spent the weekend at the Alaska Fly Fishers' Annual Kenai River Clean-up. Yesterday I caught a beautiful chrome bright silver (coho) salmon and grilled it at the barbecue with the usual hamburgers and brats... Dotted the fillets with butter and small lemon sections and gave it a little salt and pepper. Wrapped in foil and grilled a bit off the main heat. It was very good despite (because of ) such simple preparation.