I smoked salmon today. It turned out alright, and I chalk that 'only alright' up to my inexperience, and the not-awesome quality of the salmon I used.
The Salmon: Skinless frozen fillets from WalMart. Pretty cheap, and only about 3/4 inch thick at the thickest points. This was 1 lb.
The Brine: AKhap's brine, found on this forum, here: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/127170/hot-smoking-salmon-throwing-down-the-gauntlet. I used 1/4 of a gallon of water, and the corresponding amount of brown sugar, and non-iodized salt, boiled it, then cooled it. I brined the fillets for exactly 90 minutes.
After their 90 minutes in the brine, I rinsed them with cool water, patted them dry, then put the box fan on them for almost 3 hours. I am not sure what, exactly, the pellicle should look like, but I figured this was it. It was shiny and semi-smooth, and felt dryish, but still moist underneath.
Here's one of the fillets with the pellicle.
I put them in the smoker (preheated) at 140°F with hickory chips. I smoked them until they were 140°F internal temperature. This took only about 2.5 hours, I am guessing because of the thinness of the fillets. Below, finished.
The pellicle was pretty chewy (almost tough), but the flavor was amazing. I may try lower temperature for longer next time. Or - does anyone have any suggestions on how to NOT get a tough pellicle? Maybe less fan time? Below is the inside of it. Seriously delicious!
I smoked it with the vent on top about half-way open, and didn't put water in the water pan. Am I making any huge mistakes here?
As always, thanks for any suggestions or guidance!