First time smoking big King salmon

Discussion in 'Fish' started by yjay, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    This was my first season taking my own boat to the Columbia river Hanford Reach area to fish for kings. We did pretty well. Limited out the first time trying, and went several more times, all with similar results. I had a really good mentor. So, I fortunately have a pretty good amount of fillets that I intend to smoke. My mentor as well as my fishing partner both dry brine and smoke their kings, and it's really good, so I want to try my hand at it this weekend. I want to ask the experts the in's and out's of how to do it safely. I have a Masterbuilt elite sportsman electric smoker.

    I always do my kokanee in a wet brine, but I want to try something different. I've only done the little silvers which are between 1 and 2 lbs, so these will be a whole new ballgame at 15 to 25lbs. Thanks for any advice in advance.

     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will be watching this, even though I don't get whole Salmon . . .[​IMG]

    Show the "Whole" process ..[​IMG]

    Have a great Thanksgiving, and as always . . .
     
  3. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    yjay,

    I do a fair amount of king during our season.  I typically do a dry brine of 4/1  (dk brown sugar / non iodized salt) ratio + lots of fresh garlic.  If filets, I'll brine for around 7 hours, rinse and room dry for 2-3 hours.   Smoke using Alder / Apple pellets starting at 135* for an hour, bump to 150* for another hour, then 160ish* for another hour until I reach an IT of 140.
     
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mmmmmm.... nothing beats those glow in the dark Hanford Salmon! [​IMG] (and there easy to see a night!)

    Just kidding! Nice fish, those should be really good!
     
  5. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    All I want to know is, who is the masked man holding those fish?   LOL!
     
  6. I love fishing Kings on the Big C but have never got up to Hanford. I spend about a month or six weeks around mouth of D.

    Nice fish there. I do a liquid brine so can't help you with the dry brine. Hope they turn out great for you. I think I need to get some out for Thanksgiving!
     
  7. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Thank you sir. Does that brine make it sweet? I'm not wanting it to be very sweet really.
     
  8. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    I know a lot of people think the Hanford fish are so far upriver that they are soft and pale, but it isn't the case really. Many of the ones late in the season are pale of course, but the September/early October fish are bright pink flesh and look like the ones I've caught in the salt, just not chrome on the outside. I'll take a pic of the fillets. Plus they tend to be on the large side.
     
  9. I'm in! I love it when a Chinook jumps on my line. Hanford would be okay![​IMG]
     
  10. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

     
  11. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Cmayna, how much dry brine do you cover the fish with?  I assume you put some brine in the bottom of the pan, place fillets, cover fillets, and stack subsequent fillets on top? My plan is to cut fillets into snack size pieces with skin on, say 2" wide.
     
  12. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Assuming we are talking filets,  yes 1/4-1/2" on the bottom of the pan, lay 1st row, skin side down and maybe 1/4" gap between each piece.  Cover this first layer  with again 1/4-1/2" with more brine. Lay 2nd layer of filets down onto brine meat side down.  Going with 2" wide pieces is great snack size.  If the filets are really long, you might consider cutting them in half.

    Craig
     
  13. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Thank you. Will do. Fish is defrosting in the fridge as we speak for smoking tomorrow.
     
  14. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    A question I just thought of while putting my fish in the dry brine right now, do you put it in the fridge to brine or leave it on the counter?
     
  15. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    fridge it.   How long are you brining it?
     
  16. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    7 hours like you said I suppose.
     
  17. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I was just curious about how long you decided to brine.  No matter how long, fridge it.   Keep in mind,  7 hours for filet's is my own preference.  Others go shorter or longer.  It's all a personal choice.  Be sure to take pics.

    BTW, not knowing your location, what time are you planning to smoke and for how long.  Unless you are on the west coast,  Alaska or Hawaii, might you be smoking in the dark?  Have lots of fresh flashlight batteries set aside [​IMG]
     
  18. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Eastern Washington. I will be in the dark for sure. Porch light-check, Flashlight-check, Ninkasi Total domination IPA-check.

    I know it's how everyone does it, but drying after the brine for so long at room temp seems weird.
     
  19. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would do at least 2 hours under a fan
     
  20. yjay

    yjay Fire Starter

    Could I pull them from the brine, rinse and place in the fridge, and smoke tomorrow morning? Just wondering.
     

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