Fancy Schmancy Salmon

Discussion in 'Fish' started by disco, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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.

    The Verdict

    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.

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That looks Awesome, Disco!![​IMG]----[​IMG]

    I could easily help you devour that stuff.[​IMG]

    And I love Butter on a lot of things, especially Fish & Popcorn!!![​IMG]

  3. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's why I don't like fish it's too much work! Yours looks great!:biggrin:
  4. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You are too kind, Bear. I stole  borrowed two ideas to do this. However, I humbly accept the point with thanks.
    It only took a couple of minutes. About the same length of time to trim a rack of ribs! Give it a try!

  5. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Beautiful meal Disco.
  6. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Adam!
  7. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Schmanchy indeed Disco. That's a creative technique.

    I was asking not long ago about a great salmon recipe (not smoked, but grilled/baked/fried/poached.).

    The butter disc idea (herb butter) will probably make such dish great.

    I don't buy salmon steaks often but those "reconstructed" steaks look great.
  8. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, atomic. They really are superior to regular salmon steaks. I thought about using a tarragon/dill butter but stuck with a familiar spice blend to check out the method over the spice blend.

  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Disco you never cease to amaze us! Points!
  10. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Har, Case! Thanks for the points but She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn't use the word amaze.
  11. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great job Disco!

    The whole meal looks delicious!


  12. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Al. Your salmon was a major inspiration.
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice lookin' plate. I am not a huge fan of salmon, usually only eaten Raw on Sushi, but sure have cooked a ton. The Bone in most meat adds to the flavor but not sure you gained a lot leaving the Spine. I have done this technique in a restaurant and just removed all the bones. No fussing around later with pliers. Your thought was correct. Fresh, Lemon, Tarragon, Dill, Chives and/or Thyme, are all great additions to the butter. Keep up the good work...JJ
  14. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Jimmy. I will try taking the bones out first but I am a little concerned with how well it will hold together.

  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Spine is the Easy part. You did well with the Ribs and Skin. You game Up the ribs from the belly. Start at the spine and work Down, both sides, along the rib cage. Now, whether you want to fuss with tweezers and the 1-2 Pin Bones, is up to you. The skin and string holds it together. You will be fine...JJ
  16. Man that looks good, been on a Salmon kick lately  Very Tasty looking  [​IMG]

    Those Salmon are hard to catch around East Texas  [​IMG]

  17. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Disco,  Very yummy looking.

    I did a similar recipe a couple years ago but with some filets.  Of course now I can't find the recipe.  Go figure!   Maybe when I go fishing this weekend, I'll process the fish into some steaks.  I like the tainted butter idea.  Awesome pics.   Points!   Oh and what temp was your smoker running at to reach an IT of 135 in 20 minutes?  Use Alder?
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  18. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Disco Looks good but I like my Salmon cold smoked

  19. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Har, that would require a long line alright! Thanks for the point, Gary.
    I used apple wood and smoked at 375 F. I also cooked it over the heat plate so there was some direct heat. Thanks for the points and kind words.
    I like that cold smoked salmon too, Richie but hot smoked makes a nice quick meal! Thanks for looking in.
  20. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awesome Disco ! I'll have to try this the next time we have salmon ! Thumbs Up

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