Trying salmon first time, good eats?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by b-deep, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. b-deep

    b-deep Newbie

    I was going to smoke some salmon and use Alton Brown's good eats recipe:,00.html

    BUT, it looks like it cures/brines longer than most on here and has more salt.

    Has anyone tried his method? Is it too much?

    I'm just looking for a simple recipe or two for a beginner that will wow people.

  2. First thing to remember is you are going to end up with Smoked Salmon, not Lox. If you are looking for that result it is a lot more work, something I've never attempted.

    If you want smoked salmon, it's very good and my father can't get enough of it when I bring him some, then I say go for it. I'll post my recipe for the brine and technique when I get back to the house today.

    Good luck with it.

  3. waysideranch

    waysideranch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds great if you have that kind of time. I just put melted butter and then spice it and smoke it. It tastes great. Never any leftovers here. Good luck. This is the beauty of smoking. You play around with different methods, rubs/spices and woods to create what makes you happy. Good luck.
  4. b-deep

    b-deep Newbie

    since i have never had lox, i guess smoked salmon is ok!

    I was just concerned after browsing here that the Good Eats method could be too salty or too long of cure/brine.

    I am planning on doing this tomorrow, so I can spend the full time he recommends if the result will be good. If there is an easier or better way though I am open to anything.

    I look forward to your recipe though.

    Also, I don't have the whole fillets, i have it cut into chunks. I assume that won't matter?
  5. cconk454

    cconk454 Fire Starter

    The brine I typically use is 4 cups of water, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup of salt. Incorporate ingredients well and let brine for at least 6 and as much as 12 hours. Take fillets out of the brine wash off in cold water, pat them dry and place them on a rack to dry. At this point you need to let them sit for a while until they develop a glaze on the top. You can help this process along by placing a fan directly on them. When this glaze occurs, you can then put whatever rub you want on them and smoke away
  6. pitbull

    pitbull Fire Starter

    Here is my Salmon brine.
    2 Gallons of Water,
    2 C Kosher or Non-Iodized Salt
    1 C Dark Brown Sugar
    4 T Granulated or Minced Garlic
    2 T black pepper

    I use the first gallon of water and put in large pot on stove to disolve the sugar and salt.
    Let it cool add second gallon, then the garlic and pepper.
    Put Salmon in brine, cover container and let sit in fridge overnight.
    Remove slamon, pat dry with a towell and pout in a 200 degree smoker till its done.

    Mine always turns out great! Just remember if you use more water or less water, you need to reduce your salt / sugar accordingly..

  7. b-deep

    b-deep Newbie

    do most people brine with water instead of just curing with a dry mixture?
  8. b-deep

    b-deep Newbie

    ok, I am doing about half of the salmon I have the Alton Brown way, and the other half I will do from the best recipe I find on here.
  9. bigbear

    bigbear Smoke Blower

    Are you are looking for a good, fresh grilled salmon meal or want true smoked salmon that you can eat now or vacupac for later. Fresh salmon doesn't need brining. Smoked salmon does.

    I always brine in water, old school I guess. Salmon has a high fat content and needs the brine. If you are using chunks of salmon be careful with the salt. Too long in the brine will kill salmon. Know what your brine concentration is; measure both your water and your salt!!

    If you have the time or inclination, you might try your chunks at different times in the brine and see what you like best. Salmon is one of the absolute best and most rewarding foods you can smoke.

    Good luck and Happy Smokin'
  10. b-deep

    b-deep Newbie

    Good point

    I was thinking of using pitbull's recipe, should I brine it less then overnight?

    the chunks I saved for brining are good size chunks
  11. bigbear

    bigbear Smoke Blower

    Personally, I'd brine about 4-6 hrs., depending on your brine concentration. Pitbull's recipe is right on the money. Try it that way this time and see if you like the outcome and then adjust accorrdingly.

    I have found that for eating right off the smoker a less salty taste is better (and a less hard smoke). For canning or packing a full salt brine is better.

    In the Northwest, we eat a lot of alder smoked salmon (a traditional NW Indian method) which seems to be less salty and more delicate because alder is a wonderful, light, smoke wood.

    All this being said, it's hard to screw up salmon unless you go way overboard on seasoning. Salmon is a very forgiving smoke food.

    You've got me thinking that I have some Alaskan King salmon in the freezer that sure would taste good this weekend!!

    Let us know how it turns out and how long you brined.

    Happy smokin'
  12. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I usually just spray my salmon down with lemon juice, rub with brown sugar and spices. smoke for 2 hrs at 225° with some cherry and alder wood. Comes out great every time. [​IMG]
  13. I prefer the dry brines myself, just brown sugar, kosher salt, maybe some garlic and spices (search here or Google for specific recipes), and leaving it overnight in the fridge is usually plenty of time. As the brine draws moisture from your fillets it'll turn kind of pasty. Rinse well and let sit until it glazes over before smoking.
  14. Here's the brine I use, 4-6 hours in brine, then let dry 1 hour or so (till it gets glossy/shiny) and on the grill around 225 til it gets to 145.

    2 Quarts hot water
    1 C Kosher Salt
    1 C Honey
    1 C Real Maple Syrup
    1/2 C Fresh Lemon Juice
    2 Clove Garlic
    1 T allspice
    1 T black pepper
    Mix, bring to a boil and then let rest at room temp till cool.

    Good luck with it.
  15. b-deep

    b-deep Newbie

    wood choices are:
    (those are what i have on hand)

    i was going to go hickory and cherry. Thoughts?
  16. cwb124

    cwb124 Newbie

    I made some smoked salmon the other day using a commercial brine and had odd results. When it was done, it tasted like kielbasa right off the smoker. I wrapped in plastic for 24 hours and it tasted awesome then. 48 hours later it was even better. Strange.
  17. Big Bear hit it on the head.

    I'm in Seattle, he's in Oregon, my Brother-in-law in Alaska, so what I find compared to how we like to do it in the Pacific Northwest (light salt brine, and short brine period) is soooooo many people "Muck it up" with tons of garlic and onion powder, and soak things really lose the light texture of the salmon flavor and turn it into a too salty rock hard salmon slab. To each their own, but in Seattle and Alaska we live on salmon!

    So I go very light, maybe 1 cup of salt, 2 cup of brown sugar, 2-3 gallons water, thats it folks! Maybe a 1 hour brine max, more often 30-40 minutes is all. Fresh fish takes up the brine very fast. Don't go overboard! I've ruined too many batches of fish brining overnight with too much salt/spices when I was a noobie salmon smoker. You can always add flavor later, but you can't take it away.

    Pat it dry, let it skin over with a film, then low and slow smoke for 4-6 hours, don't over do the wood chips either, nice light and delicate. ALDER WOOD or Apple, pecan. Anything like Hickory or Mesquitte is too harsh an acrid smoke INHO.

    Sometimes some fresh ground pepper sprinkled on towards the end of the smoke.

    See photos of my last trip to Ketchikan. 8 Silver Salmon caught yeilded about 60 pounds of fillets. God gave me a wife that can fillet and not be Conan the sword weilder like me. Light quick brine, light smoke, then we even put in Kerr Mason canning jars for about 30-40 minutes through a pressure cooker to flash cook and can them. I've had 4-5 year old jars that are still excellent and moist, no vacuum packing or freezer burn to worry about.

    So your method may vary, but that's how we do it on a large scale in a 60 pound batch of fillets [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  18. I'd stick with the apple. Hickory and Mesquite are too heavy. Cherry may work, though I have never used it to smoke.
  19. Dave,

    We would like to try that salmon you mentioned. Could you share the rub recipe you use.

  20. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hi Bill...I don't really use any set measurements, but here is how it goes [​IMG]. Spray down with lemon juice and then rub in a good amount of brown sugar. Then I season with lemon pepper, a little chili powder, garlic and herb seasoning (Ms Dash), basil, top it off with some dried minced onion bits and a good spray of Pam [​IMG].

    Sometimes I spray with Pam each 30 min or so, helps to kinda crust it a little. Sometimes I mop it with lemon juice, keeps it a little wetter, but more lemon flavor.

    I'll be doing some tomorrow and I'll be sure to post a q-view thread [​IMG].

    Oh...noticed this was your first post, stop over to roll call and do an introduction, so people can get to say hello...welcome to SMF [​IMG].

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