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First Salmon w/Q-View

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Today I finally got around to trying a salmon filet on my drum smoker. I bought a 5.5-pound salmon filet from Costco (unfortunately it was farmed raised, not wild caught). After reading many threads on salmon on this forum, I threw together a basic brine using brown sugar, Kosher salt, fresh minced garlic and onion, and coarsely ground black pepper.

I brined the filet for about 4 hours, rinsed it in cold water, and then blotted it dry with paper towels. Then, I let it sit out on a drying rack for about two hours to let it "pellicle-ize." I seasoned the salmon with a store-bought "seafood rub," and it was off to the smoker.

This was my first smoke with real lump charcoal (BGE from BBQs Galore). I used alder to provide the smoke flavor.

Since I wanted to keep the temperatures between 190-210 degrees, I started off with only about a third of a starter chimney's worth of coals. This worked well, as the smoker temperature locked in at 195-200 right away. I was able to control the temperature in my desired range throughout the 3-hour smoke, except for a momentary spike to 230 when I removed the lid to flip and spritz at about the 1:15 mark.

The finished product was pretty good; the thinner parts were a little on the dry side, but the thicker parts were very moist. The smoke flavor was very pronounced, to the point where I think I would back off on the amount of alder wood used for the next salmon filet I smoke. It also seemed a little salty, so I think I might reduce the salt in the brine next time and/or use a salt-free dry rub.

Overall, not a bad result for a first attempt, but I think I can do a little better next time.

Now for the Q-view (sorry - not the best quality photos - had to pull 'em off my camcorder as stills since my daughter "borrowed" our digital camera):

Filet scored and ready to brine:
Attachment 20394

Brined and seasoned & ready to smoke:
Attachment 20395

After 1:15 at 190-200 degrees:
Attachment 20396

Finshed product:
Attachment 20397

Internal view:
Attachment 20398
post #2 of 5
Congrats on your first smoked salmon, your taste buds will never be the same. The longer it sits in the brine, the saltier it becomes. Alder wood is a favorite wood used for salmon, right on.
post #3 of 5
Nice first run! Wish mine was that good heh! One thing- you must not ELIMINATE the salt I'd have to say. Especially cool/cold smoking.
post #4 of 5
the brine (sounds more like a dry cure to me anyway) was NOT why the salmon tasted salty.
THAT was why it tasted salty.
Never use store rubs they are pretty much always mostly salt. Why make your own quality cure and then use a store rub ?

It's all a learning curev hopefully you've learned that salmion is good on the smoker and you always make your own rubs :-)

Check out my rub recipe over in the rub recipe section - no good for ribs, but it works great with fish :-)
post #5 of 5
4 hours in a brine will prolly not induce enuff salt to the meat in that length of time to make it that salty. addding the rub on top of the brine could have been overkill if the rub had salt in it. but most rubs have salt in them even homade rubs. i think the key is let your brine (brine equals water+salt+other ingreds for flavor, ie garlic,bayleafs,peppercorns. etc) do the flavoring as far as the salt is concerned. how long do you leave in brine??? depends on how thick fish pieces are, how salty do you prefer-ones perspective of too salty may be just right for another. after a few batches you will have made adjustments to get it where you like it as far as salt goes. start out with small batches, just a couple pieces. after the brine is time for adding other ingredients except for more salt. i like brown sugar, salmon,lake trout, whitefish all seem to benifit from a sprinkling of the stuff after the pellicle is formed. i included this brine recipie in another post but it works well for me.

Grandpas fish brine

10 qts water
2 3/4 cups pickling salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbls garlic salt

mix all ingreds in water till dissolved, put fish in a crock, or glass bowl and make enough brine to cover fish. large fish soak 24 to 48 hours. small pieces 12 to 24 hours. rinse well with fresh water and dry with towel. place on racks with fan blowing on it and allow pellicle to form. 2-3 hours.
i like to rub a little brown sugar on meat side of fish. i generally do fillets,halves with spine on oneside, or chunks butterflied. smoke until thickest parts just begin to flake and all will be done.

generally smoke at lower temps til color where i want it, and then bump heat to 250ish til just starts to flake.
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