First try at Salmon

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happy2meatu

Fire Starter
Original poster
Sep 16, 2010
43
25
Salem, Oregon
First try smoking some salmon, Sockeye from Safeway for $8.99/lb. Brined overnight with approx 1 quart water, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup salt. Air dried for pellicle for about 4 hours. Smoked at approx 140 deg for about 2 hours. Perfect. Really pleased. Will definitely be doing it again sometime. Flavor was just right. Pics might show noticeable difference in 2 pieces, that is teriyaki glaze.
 

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I've rewrote this a few times and thought about not posting at all but I decided to. 140°F for 2 hours? That seems OK to everyone? 140 is hottest the fish could be, add in a touch of evaporative cooling and it's below that. It can't hit pasteurization temps on the surface let alone the inside. In the given time frame bacteria may not be an issue but parasites certainly could be. I don't want to be the a-hole food police but this just struck me a bit odd. Or maybe I'm totally wrong on the whole thing.
 
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I've rewrote this a few times and thought about not posting at all but I decided to. 140°F for 2 hours? That seems OK to everyone? 140 is hottest the fish could be, add in a touch of evaporative cooling and it's below that. It can't hit pasteurization temps on the surface let alone the inside. In the given time frame bacteria may not be an issue but parasites certainly could be. I don't want to be the a-hole food police but this just struck me a bit odd. Or maybe I'm totally wrong on the whole thing.

I'm interested in what everybody might advise on here. With 8 hours in a salty brine and the fact that sushi seems all the rage right now LOL (not to me, but some people), it would seem fine to me to get internal temp of 140. It was flaking and done.

This article was one that I was loosely following when doing my salmon: https://honest-food.net/how-to-smoke-salmon-recipe/
 
I'm no sushi eater. I've smoked some salmon and while your color looks nice...... I too would need the fish to be cooked a bit more. I also like the albumin (white discharge) to be brushed gently off with pure maple syrup.

Here's what I do.....
3 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Rosemary garlic
1 tbsp onion powder or chips
1 cup kosher salt
Squirt of maple syrup

For salmon.........
Mix well all ingredients above for the brine. (20 filets or 2 full smoker full loads, takes 3x the brine amounts above.) Add filets with skin on, to brine. Refrigerate for 12-18 hrs, stirring a couple times to keep even mix.
---Pull filets out and rinse thoroughly. Lay them on a kitchen towel, skin down and use another towel to pat dry the meat side. Lay filets out on a drying rack, preferably under a ceiling fan & in a cool place, for 1 1/2 hrs to form a glaze like pellicle on fish. It will be sticky to the touch. This seals in the moisture and allows the smoke to stick to the filet too.
---Start smoker by setting temp to 150 degrees. Add a handful of Apple wood chips. Fill the water pan in your smoker to 3/4 full of water
---Once you have smoke rolling, drop the temp to 120 degrees. Sometimes leaving door open works faster to drop temp. Smoke for two hours. Skin side down.
---Add a handful of wood chips every 30 minutes for the full 4 hr smoke. You may have to kick the temp up to 150 for a couple minutes each time, after you add wood, to get smoke ......then drop back to 120 degrees when you have smoke again.
---Brush on gently 100% pure maple syrup onto each filet after each hour. There will be a white albumin secretion that forms from heating the meat. A little is ok and will be brushed away with the maple syrup each hour. Too much albumin means you screwed up and heated the fish too fast and the filets will be dry.
---After 2 hrs at 120 degrees, kick heat up to 140 for an hour.
---Final hour at 175 degrees for an internal meat temp of 140 degrees.
Let cool on cooling racks at room temp for two hours , then seal and refrigerate or freeze.
 
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Nice work! It looks great to me!

The presence of Albumin indicates to me you got it pretty hot. And Probably hot enough.
My thoughts are that at 140, maybe your thermometer is off, and you actually hit higher temperatures than you thought.
And that after you let it set, it might have drifted up before cooling down began.
A lot of people think their thermometer is Gospel, they aren't.
If you are happy you got it done, and it tastes good and you don't get ill from, then you done fine.
I'm not one to freak out or be paranoid about my cookin. As long as it gets past my nose, past my taste test, and I don't throw it up, then by golly those acids in my stomach are going to kill anything else that might be left.
I like to cold smoke my Salmon. Then, it gets poached before I eat it anyway by boiling in the bag it is frozen in.

As far as methods, I like Old Fashioned and simple. I always go back to Herb Good and his advice. I've also done Bear's Step-By-Step and it was great too.
 
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Nice work! It looks great to me!

The presence of Albumin indicates to me you got it pretty hot. And Probably hot enough.
My thoughts are that at 140, maybe your thermometer is off, and you actually hit higher temperatures than you thought.
And that after you let it set, it might have drifted up before cooling down began.
A lot of people think their thermometer is Gospel, they aren't.
If you are happy you got it done, and it tastes good and you don't get ill from, then you done fine.
I'm not one to freak out or be paranoid about my cookin. As long as it gets past my nose, past my taste test, and I don't throw it up, then by golly those acids in my stomach are going to kill anything else that might be left.
I like to cold smoke my Salmon. Then, it gets poached before I eat it anyway by boiling in the bag it is frozen in.

As far as methods, I like Old Fashioned and simple. I always go back to Herb Good and his advice. I've also done Bear's Step-By-Step and it was great too.

I put my thermometer in the thickest part of the thickest fillet. I smoked it with the intention of keeping temp at 140, but I do remember my temps ranging from about 130-165. Again, if you know how to cook fish and salmon especially, how to look for the flaky texture, that means its done.
 
I put my thermometer in the thickest part of the thickest fillet. I smoked it with the intention of keeping temp at 140, but I do remember my temps ranging from about 130-165. Again, if you know how to cook fish and salmon especially, how to look for the flaky texture, that means its done.

Well, there you go, the plot thickens.
So you most likely did go high enough to quell any doubting Thomas's. :emoji_wink:

I like to do what is called "Dry Brineing".
I cup of Salt (Kosher, Non-Iodized), 1 cup of Brown sugar. Real simple.
It doesn't stay dry for very long because it draws moisture out of the fish, and the solution brine's everywhere.
You can do it in a big Ziploc bag, or I use a Marinading container the wife said I could use. I can just turn it over and wiggle the salmon filet's around in it to get everybody pickled.
 
I put my thermometer in the thickest part of the thickest fillet. I smoked it with the intention of keeping temp at 140, but I do remember my temps ranging from about 130-165. Again, if you know how to cook fish and salmon especially, how to look for the flaky texture, that means its done.

Sounds good, I was just a bit perplexed originally but if it worked it worked. Enjoy!
 
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MY SMOKED SALMON (wet/hot method)
I'm sorry but this is a little long winded because I takes me 3 days to put it all together, not counting the time it takes to thaw the salmon. Now I'm a little Old-School. I've used one of those old round Brinkmen charcoal water smoker for years, you know the ones you could buy at Walmart for $59.95 years ago. So you can modify your smoking method any way you want. But this works for me. I'll double bag and freezer chunks for snacks, dip and cracker spread. You might notice I don't use much salt but I do load up on the suger, sweet tooth. This recipe also works great on grilled fish or mopped on any meat.
Ingredients.
SKINLESS salmon with rib AND pinbones removed.
1 large mixing bowl.
a 4 bottles of generic A-1 steak sause
b 4 bottles of water, rinsing out steak sause bottles.
c 1 cup canning salt
d 1 cup brown sugar
e 1 cup white sugar
f 1 table spoon garlic powder
g 1 table spoon onion powder
h 1 table spoon black pepper
Day #1. Mix (a-h) in a sealable container and chill over night.
Day #2. Place about 10-12 chunks or 1 fillet of salmon in 1 gallon freezer bag. Add 2-3 laddles of marinade/brine just enough to cover fish. Squish out all the air and seal. Place in large bowl, you will be rolling the bags in the frig about every 4-6 hours over night. Cut and water soak about 6@ softball size chunks of your favorite smoking wood, I like hard maple, you want the smoke not the heat on top of the coals.
Day #3 Drain BUT save brine because you'll be using about 1/2 gallon and extra water in the water pan. Rack salmon and let sit for 2-3 hours for glaze over.
I'm sure everyones got it under control from here, wether your using charcoal, electric, COS smoker, upright or pellet pooper, hot or cold smoked. Everybody does it differant!!!!
Martin
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