Alaska: The Last Frontier

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by woodcutter, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I watched Alaska: The last Frontier the other week when the Kiltcher family was Salmon fishing and smoking salmon. Atz Lee was smoking in a homemade tepee smoker and using green Alder. They peeled the bark off and tossed it on top coals from spruce. The other family members did the same in other smokers.

    I was wondering if anyone has any experience with green Alder and Spruce. It is new to me.

    Great show!
  2. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been watching the show too.....I would love to make the trip one day to see what it's really like....I'm looking for some Alder to try now......ShoneyBoy
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had some "tar-heel" friends on the upper Skagit River, and that is the way they smoked their fish....  It was good fish....  They originated in North Carolina and had many recipes for "home made" good things.... 
  4. 1beezer

    1beezer Smoke Blower

    Alder is a wood that works well with fish. It's mild. When they said green they meant not dry but I'm sure you realize that. You'd probably get the same effect by soaking Alder chips but most people don't soak their chips. We don't use spruce or pine here in the lower 48 because it burns hotter and doesn't give a good flavor. In Alaska they are frugal and use whatever is available for free. We have better options.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  5. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks! I've been reading a little about Alder and realized what we have in Wisconsin areTag Alders. They grow in the swamp in clumps about 10' high. Just looking for something different.
  6. Well being from Alaska and a Alaskan Indian i can tell you that the Alder wood that Atz Lee used is the same my Grandparents and my great Grandparents used for as long as my Tribe can remember.

    What was not shown is how long or the great detail that goes into smoking the fish , I remember my grandma and grandpa smoking salmon for 4 to six days but that also depends on how full the smoke house is. and if the fish is used to feed the sled dogs or if it was for human consumption.

    Alder wood is used to smoke fish and also to make "dried" fish , it gives the fish a great and wonderfull taste.

    you can get Alder wood chips from BassPro , i use it for Salmon but can never get the fish like my grandparents did .

    As is with all Arts, smoked fish is a lost art in Alaska and the "fish" you can buy is not even close to the real smoked fish that you can get from one of the elders in Sitka or from one of the surrounding communities but you have to get it from one of the few elders that are willing to sell it.
  7. I love alder on my smoked salmon.
  8. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Is Alder a swamp tree that grows in clumps? What we have here grows about 12' high and all the shoots seem to grow out or away from the root system. Near the bottom they curve away from the clump and for the most part are straight and reach for the sky after that.
  9. here is a pic

  10. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks you. That is not what we have here. I was looking for a picture and could only find leaf and cone pictures.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  12. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a bag of alder chips I scored from Lowes, but haven't used it yet. I knew it was rare to find in stores so I grabbed it without thinking twice. Below is Wikipedia's description and pics.

    As for the "Green" wood part, I never smoked with unseasoned wood, but there's a very popular BBQ joint about 35 miles NW of Detroit here that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and they are the only BBQ place in the whole metro area that uses the green wood method. So there must be something to it b/c their chicken quarters are the best I've had around here.
  13. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you Dave, I just removed my FireFox addons because it installed a "Similar" feature where every picture had a pop up that said Similar? It then would try to find similar items that I could purchase. It was annoying. I rebooted now and all is well.
  14. bigdaddyt

    bigdaddyt Newbie

     I've used green alder for years. Have to be pretty thorough removing the bark. Grows well near my house so I dont have to travel far to get some. If I want a little extra flavor I add some apple tree chips. I started adding a cup of sarachi to my brine as well. It really gives it a nice aftertaste without being spicy.
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's really strange, I just put that one on my streaming list this morning, on NetFlix!!!

    Sounds like that was a good move.

    Thanks Todd,

  16. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I still watch the new episodes. They have some interesting ideas some times. I hope you enjoy it!

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