Time to smoke some salmon.

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 29, 2010
Myrtle Point, OR
It is time I gave my new MES the proper Alaskan break in.......smoked salmon.

Here is what I did this time around.

1 cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves crushed

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper

3 tablespoons black pepper

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons garlic powder

8 cups water.

Mix the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (I use Tupperware) and set aside while you prepare the fish.


These are red salmon (aka Sockeye) caught from the Kasilof river last summer.  Notice that I left the belly on the fillet. Many guys do not use the salmon bellies, but let me tell you.....IT IS THE BEST PART OF THE FISH!  Do not let me catch you throwing out salmon bellies!  I have four fillets total.  I also save the collars for grilling, but that is another post coming this summer.

I cut off the belly (it is the bottom part of the fillet on the bottom), and then cut the rest of the fish into 1/2 inch strips. I do not cut the belly any smaller, just leave it whole as it is not very thick.  This belly is full of fat and will make melt in your mouth salmon jerky.  Think I gained 3 pounds just typing that out.  Yes, it is that good.


All sliced up and into the brine.  Notice the whole belly on the right side.  Yes I leave the little fin on the belly.  Why?  Because my momma did it that way and it gives you something to hold onto while enjoying a little slice of salmon heaven. 


I then take a heavy plate and weigh down the fish to keep it under the brine.  Cover and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours.  Give it a stir about half way through to ensure the spices get mixed into the fish well.

I will continue tomorrow with the drying and smoking phase.  Stay tuned.
Last edited:
Awesome start!!!

C'mon Bilder, don't let us hanging here---That's just teasing!  

This is gonna be a good one---Smoked Salmon from Alaska!

Ok, time for the drying and smoking phase.

After the fish has had a nice swim in the brine, you remove it, pat dry and lay out on racks in cool dry air for an hour or two to let the pellicle form.  The pellicle is a thin, tacky, skin like membrane that forms over the surface of the fish.  The pellicle serves multiple functions: it provides a surface for the smoke flavor to adhere, it helps seal in the remaining moisture through the smoking process, and it keeps the fats in the fish from rising to the surface and spoiling. 

Here are the salmon and some hooligan (smelt) layed out and are going into the fridge to dry and let the pellicle form.


After an hour or so, it is time to get them into the smoker.  I usually smoke with alder when doing fish, but I just discovered that I am out and will be using cherry in the AMNS instead. 


Salmon and hoolies all happy in the smoker.  It is currently zero degrees outside, so I am interested to see how well these smoke up in the cold temps we have.  With my old smoker there was no way I could smoke in freezing temps.  The white stuff at the bottom of that photo is ice.

I smoke at the following temps:

120 for 2-4 hours

140 for 2-4 hours

170 for 2-4 hours

I will post photos of the finished product once the smoker works it's magic.
Well here is a shot of the fish after a few hours in the smoker:


Had some trouble with my AMNS going out.  Fish drippings kept finding their way onto the dust.  Had to fashion a tin foil shield to keep that from happening. 

Here is the end result:


Nice and tasty according to my kids.  Notice all the oil on the belly strip at the top of the photo.  After I post this that baby is mine!

Cherry worked pretty well for this smoke.  Would not be my first choice as I am partial to alder smoke with fish, but it turned out really well.  The hooligan came out really well too.  Will make another post about them. 
Beautiful Salmon, Bilder!!!

Another guy who likes to make Salmon candy (it actually looks just like mine---Your smoker times & temps are about the same as I use).

Any pics of the finished Smelt ?

We used to catch Smelt through the ice here in PA---Might have been a different breed?

Great Post!

I knew there was a reason I ordered some Alder when I ordered my AMNS from Scott!  This looks like one of about a dozen ways I want to smoke some salmon.

Thanks for posting.

Good luck and good smoking!
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