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salmon brine HELP!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

ok guys I need some help.


First attempt at smoking salmon and after searching these forums and some youtube videos I decided on a dry cure of 4 cups brown sugar (dark brown) and 1 cup kosher salt (diamond crystal fine).

I rinsed and patted the fillets dry then put in a tupperware type container. 

I layered the mixture on te bottom of the container and placed fish in layers covering each piece/layer with the cure mixture.

Each piece was COMPLETELY COVERED and the container was sealed and refrigerated overnight.


I expected the mixture to turn to liquid and the fillets to be firm and cured.

Instead the mixture turned to a thick gu VERY LITTLE LIQUID. see photo.


What went wrong?  Not enough salt? Dark Brown sugar to thick?  Temp of fridge too cold?


I currently have the fillets in a simple wet brine trying to save the batch.


post #2 of 6
I'm not sure anything was wrong with what you had. If the fridge was too cold that can happen, but it doesn't mean it wasn't good. I usually end up with more of a thick slurry than liquid after a 8 hour smoke. I would've rinsed and set up to air dry and then smoked.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Just a little concerned that the top layer of fish was not covered but anything when I pulled them out of the fridge.

post #4 of 6

My first thoughts are that, per the size of the container, you didn't have enough fish.  If you can't find a smaller container, I would consider using a large ziplok bag with the air purged.   I look at it as a ratio of fish vs dry brine.   Is that two pieces of fish or is there another piece underneath?   When I do salmon, I will typically stir the batch 2-3 times over the brine time,  making sure the fish stays covered.


So next time with a small batch, less brine, smaller container such as a ziplok.  Every 2-3 hours, flip the bag.  If you are using a container carefully lift the pieces allowing the brine to  seep down between the pieces.


I really don't think you need to have that fish in a wet brine, especially if dry brined over night.  But that's just me.



post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 


I think you're right on wit the fact that there was too much brine mix and not enough fish.  Each container had two layers of fish. 2 pieces on bottom and 2 on top. 

The fish only has so much liquid to 'give up'.


Thanks for the info. We'll see how the pelicle forms and the overall smoke comes out!

post #6 of 6

Hey smokingdeer! I actually just posted an article on how to properly wet brine salmon fillet's for cold smoke. if you want here's a link:


If you have any questions be sure to ask! I'd love to help with a wet brine. Love it :)

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