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Traditional salmon smoking in Alaska

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello from Alaska,
My wife and I have been drying and smoking salmon here in bush Alaska for the last 24 years. We have a 8' x 16' fish drying rack and a 7' x 11' plywood smoke house. We usually dry and smoke about 50 King salmon per season and this season we are smoking Silver salmon fillets. Talk about tasty smoked salmon, they are great eating. We are considering trying some experimentation with brining recipes on the next batch.
Looking forward to reading and learning more about smoking meat, fish and poultry, well in our case ducks, geese and ptarmigan. This fall we are hoping to try our hand at smoking some caribou and/or moose meat. Thanks

Family Activity
Our home is in a Yup'ik Eskimo village located on the coast of Kuskokwim Bay Southwest, Alaska. My son and I usually catch the King salmon in our 50 fathom gillnet, we fish out of an aluminum skiff powered by a Yamaha outboard motor. While we are watching the net, we usually clean the salmon so by the time we are done with fishing for the day the salmon are firm and clean, when my wife and three daughters fillet them out it makes the filleting so much the easier. Thanks

Cutting strips and chopping wood
After some of the salmon are cut into fillets they are hung on the drying rack. My wife and daughters usually cut 1/2 of the salmon this way, the rest of the salmon fillets are cut into strips, they are then brined in a salt water solution for about 10 minutes. After the brining is complete the strips are hung on the drying rack with the fillets.
While the salmon are air drying, my son and I run our skiff upriver about 16 miles to an area that we usually get green cotton wood trees from, some folks in our village use green alder, my family has used green cotton wood for as long as I can remember. We usually cut down about ten 6 inch diameter trees, usually about 16 ft. long. After getting them home I cut them into 6 inch long pieces and then split them in half and sometimes into quarters.
Depending on weather conditions the salmon may dry on the drying rack from 10 days to 2 weeks, after drying they are hung in the smokehouse and smoked for up to 7 days, this smoking period also depends on the weather conditions. Will write more later and post some photos once I find them and learn how to use my new photo software on my computer. Thanks
post #2 of 4
Greetings from Madrid , Spain I was in ALaska last year and i made nice money. Now few of my friends went again , but they are not very hapy with their earnings. Thay say that the salmon they catch is not like the last year. Do you know why is that ?
post #3 of 4
Welcome to the SMF, and thanks for the 411. Sounds like you've got a pretty regular routine for smoking salmon. Good luck with the imaging software, I know we'll see some pics real soon.
post #4 of 4
I am looking forward to some pictures also, That sounds like a great place to liveicon_razz.gif
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