Smoked Salmon Experiments

Discussion in 'Fish' started by disco, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The cost of wild salmon is very high these days. So, when the local supermarket had a sale on frozen pink salmon fillets for less than a king's ransom, I bought some and made smoked salmon.

    I only started smoking a year and a half ago so I have been following recipes pretty closely. For this project, I started to do what I love, experiment. First, I cut the fillets to a size I would normally pull out for one serving. I didn't take the skin off. I have read pro and con for this. All batches until now, I took the skin off so I decided to try skin  on. For the first package of salmon, I decided to go for a maple glazed salmon. I made a brine of:

    3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
    1/4 cup molasses
    6 tablespoons salt
    1 teaspoon dried ginger
    3 dried bay leaf 
    1 teaspoon allspice

    I heated it until the sugar and salt dissolved completely and let it cool. I put the salmon in a nonmetallic baking dish and covered with the brine.

    For the second batch, I went more savoury. I made a brine of:

    1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    6 tablespoons salt
    2 teaspoon piri piri spice mix
    3 dried bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne

    I heated it until the sugar and salt dissolved completely and let it cool. I put the salmon in a nonmetallic baking dish and covered with the brine.

    Both batches were put in the fridge for 24 hours and turned occasionally.


    After 24 hours, the salmon fillets are taken out of the brine and rinsed thoroughly. Dry them with a paper towel and put them on a rack over a tray and in the fridge overnight. Take them out and dry with a paper towel again. Let them sit on the counter for an hour. The idea here is to get the surface of the salmon as dry as possible.

    I put them in a smoker set at 140 F over apple wood smoke. After an hour, I brushed the savoury fillets with 1 tablespoon of honey. If you microwave it for 15 seconds, the honey is easier to paint on. I brushed maple syrup on the maple glazed fillet.

    After another hour, I turned the heat up in the smoker to 150 F. I did nothing more to the savoury but I added another layer of maple syrup to the maple glazed fillets.

    For each of the next two hours, I increased the heat to 160 F and then 170 F with a maple syrup brushed on the maple glazed each time.

    I let the salmon smoke at 170 F until the internal temperature was 145. This means you can take the thinner pieces off first but don’t worry if they go higher, This is the drier version of smoked salmon.

    Pull them out and let them cool on a rack.



    I like my salmon firm for appetizers and snacks. These are just right. The savoury salmon took on a nice touch of the garlic and has a nice firm chewy texture. The maple glazed salmon has a nice gloss and a sweet taste. It also has the drier firmer texture I prefer.

    I thought both were a little salty and will cut back 1/3 on the salt next time. However, I should warn you, I have cut back on my salt intake over the last year and find I am much more sensitive to salt. She Who Must Be Obeyed thinks the salt level is fine.

    I will also remove the skin the next time. It is just a bit easier to eat without having to futz with the skin.

    Overall, I am very happy with the results on both versions. I will make them again with these tweaks.

    Disco
     
  2. Disco this is so fabulous!!!

    And I love the one with the skin ON the best, (as I love the skin of every fish even more than the fish itself although I love that of course too) but BOTH versions sound wonderful and it's fantastic to hear about the process!!!

    How beautiful!!!!!

    Great job!

    I also like the deep color and texture you describe!!!

    This is such a treat!!!!!

    Cheers! - Leah
     
  3. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good.
     
  4. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Leah. I know what you mean about the skin but many people won't touch it. I mostly use the smoked salmon for entertaining so, it is a pain to take off after you smoke it. If you take the thin tail bits that have smoked hard with the skin on, they are better than candy!

    Disco
     
  5. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks! Tastes good too!

    Disco
     
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Disco..... Looks good to me..... should I check the mail ????....:biggrin:......

    Removing the skin will cause the loss of all those wonderful oils full of omega's..... Just so you know....
     
  7. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Dave. You mean you haven't got it yet? I'd check the mailman's breath for salmon if I was you. I didn't know that about the skin. Thanks.
     
  8. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks awesome, nice job ! Thumbs Up WHB
     
  9. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Brew. I will be enjoying it for awhile.

    Disco
     
  10. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks very good. I wouldn't have thought of maple on salmon. Now that I see it I think I would like it. Thanks for posting!
     
  11. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, Todd. I didn't invent it, I've seen several recipes that call for it. It is just the first time I've tried it. I have used honey for years. I am wavering as to which I like better.

    Disco
     
  12. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excellent step by step Disco. Nicely done. B
     
  13. Looks great Disco, gonna have to try a batch. It hurts me to see the prices in the supermarkets as I worked a salmon boat for a few summers on the West Coast. We were getting about 20-30cents/lb for the pinks. I don't imagine it is much higher now.
     
  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks tasty Disco. You did good leaving the skin on. Pinks (Chum) salmon can be a bit mushy so keeping the skin on will help keep it together better. The only way I really care to eat pink salmon is smoked, too mushy for me otherwise.
     
  15. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks. I do like smoked salmon.
    I know. Not that long ago, salmon was a regular meal for us. Now it is a treat.
    These were particularly poor. They looked like the fillets were cut with a chainsaw. However, smoking makes anything taste better. 

    Disco
     
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey man nice looking fish, I am starting to get aggravated cause I don't seem to see any ones post anymore. I had to chase this one down looking at your profiles and recent posts!

    I keep wondering why I don't see folks, I guess I am just not looking in the right places. That or they are doing Honey-Do's.

    Nice looking fish
     
  17. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I know. Checking the new listings is the only way to keep up. I just haven't been able to do that recently.

    Thanks for the compliment on the fish. One of these days, I will get a nice piece of salmon instead of these scraggly pink salmon fillets.

    Disco
     
  18. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     Tsk. Toughen up, move to California, and  catch fresh Pacific King Salmon.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't know if I could handle one of those.

    Disco
     
  20. wongmania

    wongmania Newbie

    Hi, so I'm new to this smoking business, so I'm experimenting around. but I have a few questions about your methods.
    I haven't check my temperatures but I'm smoking usually for only 20min max. So I'm curious to What a a 2 hour smoke turns out like? Is it very dry?
    Also, I noticed for your cures you don't use a lot of salt. Can you technically go salt free? I'm just wondering how it all works. I'm wanting to get herbs into my salmon but ATM the flavours just aren't sticking, and the longer I leave it to soak the saltier it gets...
     

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