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Smoked salmon -- a lesson learned, plus Qview.

Discussion in 'Fish' started by dale5351, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    About a week ago, we decided to smoke some salmon.  Went to our local grocery and bought two packages, each 2+ pounds.

    One of them was marked 50% off because it had an expiration day of that day.

    Got them home, opened them up and prepared for an overnight brining in a mild salt/brown sugar solution.  The 50% piece seemed to have a bit of an off odor.  Each package was put into a separate Tupperware containers for the overnight brine.

    Next morning I took them out of and spread them out on a tray for airing.  The salmon from the 50% package had a stronger odor, so I put them into the garage until wife got up.  She has a more sensitive nose (my sense of smell is challenged).  The 50% lot immediately went into a sealed baggie and into the garbage can.  We went to the store and replaced with new fresh salmon.

    The lesson is -- a 50% off deal on fish is not worth taking.  We'd done that on beef before, and the meat was still fine.  But three+ day old fish is NOT fine!

    Anyhow, here are some pictures.  We ended up with part of the salmon being brined overnight and part not being brined.  Both tasted good.

    The pork steaks you see in one of the pictures were dinner a night later.  My first time for doing pork chops or steaks and they turned out good.  They also had spent the night in a brine solution in the frig.

    We used pecan chips in the smoker, and had the thermostat set at 250. 

    Here is the original layout -- bad fish was on the left.


    And this picture shows a fan helping to dry out and get the pellicle established.  Note that the bad fish has been replaced by two nice one pound hunks.


    Into the MES, along with a pair of pork steaks, ready to go.


    All done.  Had one piece for dinner.


    The rest is vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.  Did some dinner for two sized packages and some smaller 4 ounce packages that will find their way into a smoked salmon dip.

  2. reichl

    reichl Meat Mopper

    That looks great!  How do you reheat the salmon once you pull it out of the freezer?
  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks Great Dale!!!

  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Smoked salmon is one of my favorite things to make.
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Man that looks awesome there Dale. My wife loves that stuff but only eats it in New York city when we go in the beginning of Dec.
  6. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    We take it out the night before and let it defrost in the frig and/or sink (metal sink helps transfer heat -- but only do that for a short time).

    If it is a meal portion, we'll heat it on moderate power in the microwave -- but any method should work (if you want it warm/hot).

    For using in our smoked salmon pate, use it defrosted but not heated.


    Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.05
          Title: Smoked Salmon Pate
     Categories: Easy, Tested, Xmas
          Yield: 1 Sm bowl
          1 c  Crumbled smoked salmon
        1/4 ts Lemon juice
          1 tb Finely chopped onion
          4 oz Cream cheese - softened
        1/8 c  Mayonnaise
          6 ds Dill weed
      Sprinkle crumbled salmon with lemon juice.  Add onion and cream
      cheese. Mix together with a fork, then combine with the mayonnaise.
      Sprinkle with the dill weed and stir to incorporate into mixture.
      Serve on crackers.
      Can easily double or triple recipe for party.
      TESTED:  Very nice - good smoked  salmon flavor, spread nicely.
      Variation of recipe from:
      Best of the Best Alaska coobook
  7. athabaskar

    athabaskar Smoking Fanatic

    I'm not a big fan of using the microwave to reheat fish. It always seems to further cook the fish. Those vacuum bags can be tossed into some boiling water for a couple of minutes and when you open them the salmon will be exactly like it was when you sealed them.

    Great recipe for the dip!
  8. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    That is why I said use moderate setting on microwave.  On high, it would cook outside before inside gets warm -- but on low to moderate it heats it more gently.

    Thanks.   I quoted the original source -- a book we picked up on a trip to Alaska a while back.  Of course, my wife will tinker with recipes to get them just the way she likes them, and what I posted is the result.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  9. papagreer

    papagreer Meat Mopper

    Hey Dale, nice looking fish! How long did the salmon smoke for? 
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  10. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    It was on the smoker for about 2 1/2 hours.  I was having trouble with the controller -- kept shutting down.  So it might have not been full smoke for all that time.
  11. Dale,

    How did you prepare your pork chops? Which brine solution did you use?
  12. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks good from my house Dale!

  13. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I used a brine of 2 quart water, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup kosher salt for the fish.  Had a little left over and tossed a handful of "pickling spice" in for the pork brine.  Pickling spice is a McCormick product that we buy in bulk 12 ounce containers from Sysco or BJs.  Ingredient list is cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chillies, cloves, black pepper, mace, cardamom, and sulfiting agents.
  14. I do about 20-25 salmon each year and have never tried the aluminum foil deal.  How did you think this worked and is there anyone else who's tried it?  To me the worst part of this always has been taking the salmon off the smoker as the skin wants to stick to the smoker no matter what.  This seems like a great solution to me.  Would you do it again?
  15. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I've used aluminum foil several times and like the result -- so will continue using foil.  As you said, the skin tends to stick to the grill -- even if I spray the grill with PAM.  This is true both in the smoker and when I grill salmon on my Weber.

    We don't tend to like the skin anyhow, but without the foil, we end up losing bits of fish.  With the foil, the skin often sticks to the foil (good for us), but separates from the fish without a problem.

    Only caution is to make sure you allow smoke to get around the sides of the foil.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not saying anyone else is wrong, but I remove the skin & never use foil.

    I do both of these things for the same reason---"I am a smoke hound".

    Skin blocks smoke & I don't eat the skin. Foil blocks smoke.

    I just like my stuff smokier than most. I remove the rind from a Pork Belly too---Same reason.

  17. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    How do you remove the skin.  I thought of doing that, but it did not seem to pull off easily -- so I decided to just wait until cooked.  Then if peeled off easily.
  18. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I've seen somebody on here do it with his hands, but I just use my fillet knife.

    Just get it started with the skin down at whichever end you feel comfortable with. Then I like to just move the blade in a jigsaw motion, while pulling the skin toward the knife.

    Works for me.

    The fillets we get are really big, so I like to split them in half lengthwise first--makes it easier all around. See "Smoked Salmon" in my signature, and you can see what I mean.

  19. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    Sounds great to me - I'm a bit of a smoke hound too.... BUT...  how on earth do you get the meat off the rack when it's done without it going to pieces?

    That's my single biggest problem with fish on a grate of any sort (bake, broil, smoke) so I've always left the skin on if I do the filleting, and if someone else cleans the fish and takes the skin off, I've always used foil.

    Any tips on how to cook fish on a grate/rack without skin or foil, and not have it fall apart would be greatly appreciated - more smoke is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    The only things I do are:

    #1   I spray the racks real good with a non-stick spray, like Pam, before putting the pieces on.

    #2   I smoke my Salmon harder than most people, because mine is for snacking, and not for Dinner, so they don't fall apart very easy.

    #3   Many pieces still stick, so I use an old metal spatula I stole from Mrs Bear, to slide under the pieces that are stuck too good.