Qview: Salmon smoked with citrus wood chips.

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jun 20, 2010
Columbia, MD
I bought a load of salmon from our grocer yesterday.  On sale at $6.99 per pound, called Scottish salmon.  Got 6 3/4 pounds of it.  I've had it before and think that it is a bit nicer than the typical Atlantic farmed salmon.  It seems to be a bit darker in color.

I've brined salmon in the past, but this time decided to do it as it comes out of the package.  I cut it into pieces so that there would be more surface for the smoke to touch.  Tried to make them 6-8 ounces each, but some thicker parts got up to 10 ounces and some tail pieces were only 4 ounces.

After cutting, I put it on cookie racks on top of a large aluminum pan to air dry.  Set up fan to help.  Took about 2 1/2 hours.

This time I decided to try some citrus wood chips that had been gifted to me by a friend a while back.  He picked them up at an estate sale, or at Big Lots, for $1 for a two pound box.  I tried to see if they were available for sale anyplace today, but did not get an exact match.  Box says "Florida Gardens (R)", "Citrus Wood Chips".  Side of the box had Pioneer packaging, INC, Winter Haven, Florida, Chicopee, Massachusetts.  The fact that the state names are spelled out might indicate the age of the package:-}}  A web search did turn up Pioneer Packaging, INC in Chicopee, Mass. as a maker of custom packages.

At about 1430, I went out to preheat my MES30.  Turned it on, and the controller blinked at me (whatcha mean heat -- I'm too cold!) and gave me the EAAF error message.  Quick run back to the forum explained that this is happening with some of the newer models when it is cold outside.  It was high of about 36F today.  My model is old, but I recently got a new controller.  The fix has to do with getting the thermostat in the box up above freezing.  I tried the "hot paper towel" trick, but no joy.  So then I took a spaghetti pot full of boiling water and set it on a rack.  That produced a lot of steam and quickly raised the internal temperature up to 140F.  Reset the controller, and it started up just fine.

As the smoker was going, it did have trouble getting up to the requested 250F.  Never got above 220F when I went out to look.  I had an external temperature probe that I put into the salmon.  It has worked well for me before, but this time it was reading higher than seemed reasonable.  I think that the salmon was thin enough that the probe was measuring the internal box heat tempered only a little bit.  At various stages, I took a piece of salmon out and checked with an analog poke in thermometer we have -- it gave reasonable readings.

This salmon took longer than the last batch I did -- 3 1/2 hours versus 2 1/2 hours.  The cold temperature, and lower box temperature certainly must have had impact on that.

Weight starting was 6 3/4 pounds.  After it was done, weight was just over 5 pounds.  Some of the weight loss was skin that stuck to the aluminum foil and got pulled off, a little bit *might* have disappeared as cook's treat -- and the rest was oil that cooked out.

We tasted some of it.  Even though it was darker than previous batches, it tasted quite good -- mild smoke flavor and not overpowering.

Enough talk -- here come the pictures.  First is the salmon laid out for air drying.


Next is the box of wood chips.  The chips were a nice uniform size, small, and quite white compared to other wood chips I have used.


Here is the boiling water heating up the box.


This is showing the steam coming out of the box -- that is just steam, not thick white smoke.  For much of the smoke, it looked similar.  The couple of times I opened the box, I could see steam rising off of the water tray.  This has not happened before during warm day smoking.


Here is the box all loaded up and ready to go.


All done, and laid out on the rack to cool.


Most of it vacuum sealed for the freezer.  One portion kept out for dinner tomorrow.

That salmon looks great! nice step by step pictures. I just did some salmon the other day with peach wood for the first time, normally i use alder but the peach was very nice.How was the citrus wood? how did it taste?..Nice job!!!--les
That is some nice looking salmon you have there Dale...
that is some nice looking fish you have there great job.. If using a food saver how long will it stay good in freezer?
It hasn't lasted long enough to go bad on me before:-}}  It will last at least six months, maybe more.
How was the citrus wood? how did it taste?..Nice job!!!--les
The citrus wood seemed to burn up nicely.  I think it gave a mild flavor -- which is what we tend to like.

The fish ended up being a bit over done though.  I had problem with the probe thermometer reading very high.  It was claiming that the fish was at 180F after only an hour.  I pulled some out and stuck another instant read analog in -- it said 110F.   I am suspecting that the probe was reading close to box temperature due to the fish not being as thick as butts or the like.  I've had similar problem getting a good reading in ribs also.
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