We got some nice wild sockeye salmon steaks for less than my weight in gold. The problem with salmon steaks are the two belly edge pieces always over cook and are a pain to eat as there is so little meat and so many bones. I saw a method on America's Test Kitchen show where the prepared the salmon in a way that would get around this. I had to give it a try in the smoker.
I had three steaks. I started by pushing a very sharp knife in at the large vertebra bone and then carefully cutting under the bones to the end of the belly pieces.
When I had done both belly pieces, I cut the bone strips out with kitchen shears.
Then I carefully slid the knife between the skin and meat on one of the belly pieces and ran the knife along the skin and removed it.
I curled the skinned belly piece up against the large piece of salmon.
I wrapped the unskinned belly piece over the skinned to make a disc shape.
I tied some butcher string around each steak to keep their shape.
Smokin Al had sung the praises of putting butter on salmon while it smokes. I am always willing to steal borrow good ideas from experts like Al. However, if you are putting butter on your salmon, why not make it a compound butter?
I mixed 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of garlic powder, 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground pepper and 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) dry mustard into 25 ml (2 tablespoon) cold butter.
I formed the butter into 3 discs and put them in the fridge to chill while I fired up the pellet grill to 350 F.
I rubbed the salmon steaks with olive oil.
I put the salmon in the smoker and a disc of butter on each steak.
I smoked the salmon for about 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 135 F. I know you're supposed to cook salmon to 125 F so there is some translucence in the middle. We like 135 F get over it.
I took the steaks out and used a pair of needle nose pliers I had washed well to grip the large vertebra bone. I wiggled it a bit and pulled the bone out. This takes a lot of the central bones out of the steak.
Cut the string and remove. Serve.
The finished product.
We served them with a Summer Potatoes (I will post these next) and coleslaw.
First, the cutting technique made it so the salmon was perfectly cooked all the way through. Also, there were practically no bones. It is a great way to cook and serve a steak.
Second, Al was right (as usual) about the butter on the salmon. It gave it great moisture and made a wonderful sauce on top of the salmon. The garlic, pepper and mustard are a seasoning I use often on salmon and went even better when melted in with the butter.
This is my new go to method for salmon steaks.