Smoked Salmon

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
OTBS Member
Nov 21, 2006
My freinds seem to like this recipe the best out of the many I have tried.
I prep the fish by taking the fillets and deboning them and cutting them in sizes that would be easy to handle with a LARGE spatula .I like to do them with the skin on.

1 gal.water
1 cup kosher or pickling salt
1cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
I mix this all up in a old cooler that I have then either toss in some fresh Rosemary or a couple tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
I then add the fillets of salmon and or trout.I will usually then cover the mixture with a 20# bag of ice and spread over the top.If you have enuff room in the fridge to keep it cool the ice thing isnt needed,but the size batches I usually do we dont have room to put in the fridge.

I have had good luck with 18 hours as a rule of thumb for the soak but I adjust for the thickness of the fillets.After brining I give them a good rinse and let them sit on the grates to dry while I am prepping the smoker.I put the skin side down.I like to get the smoke going and back the heat down(I have a gas smoker)before I put the fish in.When its hot in the summer I leave the door open to let more heat out.My best luck seems to be keeping the heat in the 175 area.Usually will use 2-3 pans of chips.Now with the smoker I have it takes too much heat to get the smoke going for the next pan of chips so I take and get them started on my turkey fryer burner.I have made extra pans for chips to do this.
After the fillets are done I like to take a large spatula and slide it between the fish and the skin then flip over
the fish and scrape off the dark stuff(mudline)off of the skinside of the fillet.Then you can flip it back over to cool and store however you see best.Around here it goes in ziplock bags for distribution and consumption.I hope to get a new vacumn sealer this year then I will try to freeze some but with out vacumn sealing freezing just doesnt work well(soggy poor taste etc).
When I can find it here in Wi. alder is my prefered wood but cherry is next on the list.
This has also worked well for catfish that I do for a buddy.
Coz, with the exception of the soy sauce & rosemary, that's my basic go-to brine. For butts, I leave it alone and for poultry I'll add rosemary and thyme. For salmon I'll add some dill. Can't go wrong with a good basic brine.

You definitely need to get you a vacuum sealer. I've had pulled pork butt sealed and frozen in the freezer for 6 months (got buried in the freezer) and it tasted great when I reheated it. Plus mine has the seperate "Seal" feature which makes it great for resealing the mylar bags that snack foods come in.
Coz, Dutch is absolutely right, a vacuum sealer is a must. Personally I like the Foodsaver brand, relatively cheap and lots of features. I can seal and keep my smoked salmon for months in the freezer.
Also, being on the west coast I do LOTS of salmon and have great success with a dry cure rather than a brine. I have posted this before but if you are interested, here are the basics:

4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup non-iodized salt (canning & pickling or kosher salt)
10-15 cloves of garlic (finely minced)

Rub the fillets with the cure and place in a non-metallic container for about 6 hours. This will turn into a real gooey mess after a while. Give the fish a gentle rinse and then into the smoker just as you would the brined fillets.
I may try the dry brine one more time but I havent had much luck with it in the past.I am sposed to go Brown trout fishing Saturday with a freind and if we get a few I am going to fire up on Sunday.I had a vacumn sealer but for some reason it didnt seal up and stay sealed well.It was a foodsaver and I use the foodsaver bags also.I think I just need to get a new one.
Some small brown trout from this past weekend,caught saturday smoked sunday



I've hadthat problem w/ mine too. I found that it was usually caused by moisture getting in the way of the seal. I started putting 1/2 of a paper towel in the bag between the fish and the seal, I also make sure to drain the fillets well before packing. Another suggestion I took heed of was to freeze it before vacuum packing it.

I've also had the same problem when packing greasy or fatty foods (heaven forbid should we eat things like that!). The fat or grease would keep it from sealing. I read the directions(I know men aren't supposed to do that) and it said to wipe the bag w/ a paper towel to remove the grease. Sometimes it's just easier to wrap it w/ plastic wrap before I slide it into the bag. That way no grease gets on the sealing surface.

BTW, great looking trout. I didn't know they had Brownies up there. Where do you go to catch them? The only fishing I've ever done on the great lakes was trolling for Coho out of Milwaukee. I think some of the fish we caught were mutant due to pollution. They had two mouths, one right below the other. Some of the guys had their fish packed and shipped home. I was real high on the concept of eating them.

Good Wishes, and Good filleting,
The Wi side of lake Michigan has an excellent brown trout population.Once the lake starts cooling down they congregate near power plants warmer river and creeks etc.We fished just south of Milwaukee near the Oak Creek power plant.There are a few diehards down there that really bust their butts to keep the launch open all winter.In Feb.and March if you have thee stones to endure it,can be the fastest and most furious fishing of the year.I dont have the right kind of boat for fishing in the winter anymore but thank the good lord for friends.I will try to find a pic of my old boat with some fish.Ok this pisc was in Jan.05.Me with a 16#+Brown



If ya like the look of those fillets after smokin check the salmon fit for a queen pics in grilling with smoke is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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