Dry Brine for Salmon

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jul 4, 2006
None Of Your Business
Rather than using a "traditional" brine I tried this on 5 lbs of Sockeye last weekend. I gotta say I think I prefer this dry brine. Here are the basics:
  • 4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup non-iodized salt (pickling or kosher salt)
  • 10-15 cloves garlic
  1. Cover the fillets liberally with the dry brine mixture and stack them in the bottom of a non-metallic pan.
  2. Once all the fish is brined, cover the container and put it in the fridge for about six hours.
  3. After six hours, take the pieces out and rinse them gently in cold water.
  4. Lay pieces on a rack to dry at room temperature. Use the rack from your smoker because it's convenient. You need to let the fish dry at least a couple of hours. or up to four to six hours, depending upon the thickness of the fillets. What you're trying to do is dry the fish out and form the pellicle on the surface of the flesh.
  5. Preheat your smoker, I like to do mine between 200-225. I used a combination of hickory and cherry wood for this smoke and was very pleased with the result, but your choice.
  6. Arrange racks in smoker with the thicker pieces lower down and the thinner tail pieces on top.
  7. Smoke the salmon until internal temp is between 145-165 depending on taste. Personally I like sushi but my family prefers the fish to be well done, so I smoked mine for about 4 hours.
  8. The best way to preserve this fish is to vacuum pack it and freeze it
Thanks rwm. This is more of a dry cure -brines contain a liquid (usually water) that everything else is added to.

I'll have to add this to my list of things to try. I love the amount of garlic that's in the recipe-are the cloves left whole or are they minced?
Dionysus, did you make this recipe up or did you find it somewhere?

I have done some reading on the net and came up w/2cups brwn sugar, 3/4 cup kosher salt, and 7(lucky number) cloves of garlic. I pressed my garlic, first time, and it also was similar to a paste. I didn't plan on dry'n it after the cure, but planned on a 4-6 hr cure. Then rinse well, pat dry, and smoke w/apple or pecan, or both.

Interesting that what I am doing, today, is so similar. Yours is much more planned than mine, but I think it is interesting.

Great minds think alike? If you want to be in the same mind set with me, your in for a long and tough life. I hope to die young, in my 90's anyway.
i have use a rub like this b4.... i just added onion powder and lemon pepper...

i use the same thing for most of the fish i smoke..even smoked smelts this way
BigAL, As much as I would like to, I can't take credit for this, just can't remember where I found it. Being on the west coast we get ALOT of salmon here. I'm always looking for new ways to brine/cure it before I smoke it. As I said I think I like this one the best, it's simple and relatively easy. I have also tried "putzing" (a Canadian term) with it as well, tried adding some Maple syrup to the mix. Made it a little sticky and definitly sweeter, but the fish was sure good ....
Well, I thought it was good, guy working for me thought it was really good. wife & kids didn't care for it at all, 8yr old girl spit it back out(picky eater). We like crappie in flour and deep fat fried, family favorite.

It was good, never had any other salmon so can't really compare.

As far as the family goes, I could have smoked a dog turd. Next on the list is Gypc sammies.

I could have used less salt, or not cured it as long.

Thanks for the reply Dionysus.
If you really like garlic ...take a bunch of cloves and just roll some of the skins off and throw them on the smoker next time you smoke. After a few hours you'll have some smoked garlic paste. Just pinch the cloves between your thumb and forfinger and pinch out the paste and spread it on some bread with a bit of olive oil ... makes the best garlic bread ever!

Rub some of that paste on your meat before your rub and you'll think you in heaven!
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