I'm still a novice smoker, but was eager to try something new besides the usual baby back ribs. I've been wanting to try my hand at smoked salmon for a while. I think I do a good job at grilling salmon, but certainly wanted to start smoking as well. After much research here on smokingmeatforums.com, I decided to try the AKhap method.
(It's also a good read. Ignore the ramblings on the later pages, just stick to the method as outlined by AKhap on the first page)
I started the morning with making the brine:
I had 4 fillets of salmon, cutting them each into thirds, for 12 pieces around 1/2 pound each; and brined them for the exact 90 minutes.
Now, to form the pellicle. I had no experience and didn't know what I was doing, but while researching knew that this was a critical step. So, I just followed directions and prayed for the best. I had the fan on the pieces for 3 hours. It's hard to tell in the photo closeup, but I believe the pellicle was as well formed as I was going to get it.
I was using cherry wood chunks:
It is always a battle over temperature control in my particular smoker, so I spend the afternoon constantly tinkering to keep it under control. About 4+ hours later, I had an internal temp of 140*F, and declared victory. If I'm to be 100% honest, 3 of the pieces had a couple small white dots on them, but the remainder stayed "well sealed". I think that's still fairly good (batting .750) on my first trial. The victory was confirmed by my dinner quests who said this was the best smoked salmon they had ever tasted.
The family, my guest, and I were extremely pleased with the results, and I can't wait to do it again. I'm really loving this smoking thing!! :-)