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Pellicle Very tough. Skin seperates not at all. - Page 2

post #21 of 31


What species of Salmon have you been working with?  Local caught?  Store bought?.   Looking at the last few pics,  I am use to the inside color of the finished product being more similar to the outside pellicle color.  Your inside is so much lighter in color.


Have you ever tried the simple dry brine method using just Salt, water, garlic, etc.   That's how I do all my Salmon (filets, nuggets & jerky) except for lox,  and I have never had a pellicle issue.    As I said in my first reply, I question if you are running your smoker too hot for fish.


Just reading Bear's newest reply about  electric vs charcoal smokers might have answered my concerns for I use an electric for my fish.  Never used a charcoal unit so it sounds like smoking fish in it might be a whole different world.




Edited by cmayna - 11/21/13 at 7:22am
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 

These were King salmons, fresh caught by my son.  Cleaned and frozen same day as caught.


I've not used dry brines yet.  So that will be on my agenda for next year.

post #23 of 31

What I don't know is if you have to do a special brine and dry time when you use a charcoal smoker.  With my two Big Chief's doing some Salmon filets, I dry brine for 7+ hours room air dry with fan for 2-3 hours and then smoke taking temp steps over a 3-4 hour period of 125* then 145* then 165ish.  Sometimes I might have to hit 180 but not too often.  I pull the fish when the it reaches 135+.


Next time I thaw one of my smoked filet's I'll post a cross sectional pic. I get nothing but unreal great reviews amongst the party boat goes I go fishing with.


Yes, next season when you come home with your own monster fish, plan to  do some experimenting using my method as well as some others.




post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'm convinced that the large inside air space is what the problem is.  It robs all moisture, and is difficult to control heat well with small amounts of product.  My two water pans kind of proved that yesterday for me.


I've smoked salmon before using a kettle type griller and it turn out fantastic.  Not too dry, nor too moist and only a thin pellicle.  I believe it was because of the smaller space keep more moisture in, and heat easier to control.  I love my char griller for meat, but it really sucks at doing fish.  LOL


I may have to go back to my kettle for smoking fish in small batches.

post #25 of 31
Originally Posted by fpmich View Post

LOL. yes I've had baked salmon, but I don't WANT baked salmon.  I want SMOKED salmon for snacking.


I quit ordering salmon in restaurants years ago.  They seem to cook on the rare side, and for some reason, unless it's over cooked, whether baked, broiled, or grilled, it upsets my stomach.  Don't know why.  Now, if it's been baked and held at holding temps for some time, it don't bother me at all.  Smoked salmon has never once bother me, unless I make a pig of myself with it, then it's just a fast trip to the B R in the morning.  LOL



If you want SMOKED salmon then why not simply cold smoke it before you bake it. Use your preferred brine mix and recipe up to the point it goes in the smoker but then COLD smoke it for several hours (I cold smoke mine overnight ~15 hours) before then baking it to your desired colour. This became my standard way of preparing salmon many years ago and even though I like to try different methods from time to time it has always produced me the best results.


If you leave it cold smoking for longer (24 to 48 hours +) then you will end up with traditional smoked salmon.

post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thanks Wade,


That's funny.  I just talked with my wife tonight.  Said maybe I would buy one of Todd's inventions ANPS (something like) and just use barely enough charcoal along with it, o keep it between 50* & 80* to cold smoke it.  I've had cold smoked salmon and love it.  But I'm not sure if it keeps less or longer in the fridge, than hot smoked.  I posted a question on that but no opinions so far from anyone.


When you say you bake it to color preferred.  What temp do you use for that?  Oven or smoker used?

Yup, I was just thinking of either doing cold all the way, or, like you said.  Any info you can give me will be appreciated.

post #27 of 31

The AMNPS pellet smoker is perfect for cold smoking as it provides plenty of smoke in one charge that will last overnight. You should not need any charcoal at this stage unless your outside temperatures are falling very low (which is sounds as if they may be from your post). Keeping the smoking chamber at 42F-50F (6C-10C) is ideal.


Cooking and drying are two of the oldest ways of preserving food. The cooking heat denatures protein and kills most of the bacteria and the drying removes moisture from the fish which inhibits bacterial growth. When you are brining the fish you are predominantly removing moisture from it. The smoke used during the cold smoking is mainly for flavour has very little preserving effect (other than inhibiting the growth of some surface bacteria) - however it is the air flow over the fish during the cold smoking process which removes more moisture that is actually doing the preserving. Fully cold smoked salmon (with 18%-20% of the original moisture removed) will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks 


I have posted a link below to a thread that shows the method I use. Skip over the first stages that show the brining if you want to continue to you your current method. Once it has been cold smoked overnight it will keep in the fridge for a week or so however I usually vac pack them at this stage and freeze them. After that you have a choice and can prepare them in different ways giving variety. 

  • Simply baking in an oven at 360F (180C) for 12 minutes from fresh keeps it slightly pink (the way I like it) but brush with oil and bake for 15 minutes and it will go a deep golden colour and will probably be cooked enough for you.
  • The same as above but put it in a hot smoker instead of the oven. To be honest as the smoke flavour is already there right through the fillet the smoker at this stage adds very little and so and so I rarely bother.
  • I usually vac pac mine in sous vide pouches and so they can be taken straight from the freezer and boiled in the bag (~17 minutes from frozen). This steams the smoked fillets in their own juices and if you add some grated ginger or a slice of lemon in the bag before you vac pack it adds a whole new dimension.
  • Lightly fry for a couple of minutes each side in butter
  • Added to white fish as part of a Fishermans Pie


One smoking session can produces sufficient variety so you can eat it over several successive days without feeling that you are eating the same thing each time.


I hope this helps give you some ideas


post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thanks Wade for further info.  I appreciate it very much!



WOW!  you've got a lot of info packed into that thread.  Haven't absorbed it all yet, as I  just read it.

You just may regret replying to this thread Wade.  Next year when the season comes again, I'll be bugging you for tips.  LOL

post #29 of 31

Any time. Both Bear and I are passionate about Salmon and we are happy to help whenever we can.

post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Wade View Post

You should not need any charcoal at this stage unless your outside temperatures are falling very low (which is sounds as if they may be from your post). Keeping the smoking chamber at 42F-50F (6C-10C) is ideal.

Dropping temps?  Yes you could say that.  :biggrin: Got down to 6* F tonight.  I think I'll wait for next spring and fall for further salmon smoking.

Too bad.   I was finally getting good advice and I ran out of fish and reasonable temps outside.


I do have to brave the temp's though.  Got some meat ready to be made into jerky, and got a hunk of eye of round for dried beef using Pops brine.  Plus I want to double a smoked bacon, ham & hocks yet,  that I got with 1/2 of pig from my step daughter, and it would be nice to smoke up a couple more slabs of ribs for use in the winter too.


Oh yeah, and then some..... etc, etc.


Now, just where just in the heck did I store the thermal undies ?

post #31 of 31
Thread Starter 

Success at last!


I think my problems with pellicle was too high of temps too quick, while smoking last year.

I started this batch at 72* Ambient temp inside smoker,  with only smoke generator going, and then gradually adding heat over time.

I only reached 200* area the last 20 or 30 minutes, and would have preferred it to only reach 180*.  I pulled fish out at 142* IT.


Right off the smoker it was good, but pellicle seemed hard and tough as ever, and skin still wouldn't peel off without taking meat with it.


Cooled a couple of hours on racks at room temp and placed into zip bag.  Left zip bag open in fridge.  A little condensation had formed.


Day 2. Same results as to pellicle and skin.  Sealed zip bag up.



Day 3.  Wonderful!  Pellicle broke very easily  (It looks in photo, thicker than it actually was for some reason.)   It was very thin.


and the skin came off completely meat free!


PS:  Don't be too quick to toss the skin in the trash.

Just fry it on medium heat, pressing with a fork.  Flip it over when it releases from pan, and press with fork or spatula again.  And guess what?

You have salmon skin chips 1000 times better than potato chips.  LOL


Now mind you, this is my first success with the pellicle thing, but I hope to duplicate again very soon.


I'm only posting in this year old thread, so that maybe someone searching for same problem, can see the results of lower temp build up., as well as a three day rest in zip bag.

Edited by fpmich - 10/31/14 at 3:19am
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