Hot Smoked Salmon



August 27, 2000 We have a couple of recipes for hot smoking salmon.  We did a bit of a hybrid, as we were running out of time (story of all of our lives).  The Whitehead's had given us a side of salmon on Saturday.  They were dropping by for a late lunch on the Sunday.  We decided to hot smoke the larger portion of the salmon, and cold smoke the remainder.  Because of our time constraints, I mixed up a prepackaged Trout and Salmon Brine from Luhr-Jenson Smokehouse.  

We left the fish, covered in brine, for approximately 9 hours.  The fish was removed, rinsed lightly, and placed back in the refrigerator, uncovered overnight.

Bill did the cold smoked salmon until 9:30.  At that time he took out the cold smoking plate and put the salmon on the top shelf.  We had also done up a couple of pieces of Cod  a different way, and those were put on the top shelf as well.

180 degrees F.  At 11:30 Bill moved the fish down to the lowest shelf, so that he could put a large container of Smoked Beans on the middle shelf.  The fish tends to 'leak', and we didn't want the fish oil to get into the Beans.  The salmon was at an internal temperature of 167 degrees F.

It was removed at 1:30.  Taste was very good, but the salmon had dried out.  Next time around, I think I will lower the temperature and smoke longer.

In the picture above, you can see the amount of smoke coming out of the smoker when I opened it up to check how things were going.  I've put a digital remote temperature probe into the salmon, and I have the thermometer from my Grill stuck in the top of the vent stack.  This thermometer allows some of the moisture to escape, keeps in a good chunk of the smoke, and tells me the internal temperature of the oven. 

On top of the Smoker you can see the thermostat that you use to dial in the temperature of the oven.  Inside, I've lined the bottom of the unit and the top of the smoke box with aluminum foil.

The Smoker becomes slightly warm to the touch, but it is well insulated.  Juices and moisture drip out through the bottom of the unit into an aluminum pan.

Hot smoked salmon is at the back, in front of the white wine.

Smoked Salmon continues to be one of our favourite smoked items.  We've continued working on finding different/better recipes and ways of smoking.

We've really enjoyed smoking salmon as a dinner entree.  It isn't smoked until it is dry, just for flavour and until it is cooked.  We did the recipe below, overnight in the brine, until about noon the next day.  Took it out of the brine and let it sit, drying, in the fridge until 3:00 p.m.

At 3:00, I put it in the smoker at 180 degrees F. for three hours.  Mesquite was the wood that we used.  It turned out excellent!

Smoked Salmon

 When I am real lazy, I use a premixed brine called "Scott's Seasoned Brine Mix".  It is packed by Sikes Enterprises, P. O. Box 1208, Klamath Falls, OR 97601.  They will sell it by the case, and costs about $2.50 a packet individually.

 When I am not feeling so lazy, here is the brine that I make and use.

  • 1 cup kosher or pickling salt.

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup or brown sugar ( I prefer cane syrup or dark corn syrup.. same amount).

  • 1 teaspoon garlic.

  • 2 Bay leaves crushed fine.

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper.

  • 2 to 3 quarts water.

 Regardless of the brine, mix all ingredients in cold water until dissolved. place first layer of salmon in the brine skin side down, next layer skin side up, rotating so skin is to skin and flesh is to flesh. Weigh the fish down so that it stay submerged.  Some folks use a plate or three, I use a gallon zip lock filled with water, or two if it's a lot of fish.

 Allow to soak overnight ( eight hours ), remove from brine and place on racks to dry. At this time I may add a 50/50 solution of honey/water and then add a thick sprinkling of black pepper, or I may just add the pepper, or I may add garlic, or even garlic... depends on what you want this batch to taste like or what you intend for it. While this is occurring, start the smoker and preheat to around 165 to 170 degrees.

The fish is ready for the smoker when the pellicle forms.  This is a small "crust" or bead formation resulting from the fish oil, the salt and the sugar...

Place the fish in the smoker on racks, and smoke until the meat is flaky. If you wait until the edges of the thinnest pieces start to have a "jerky" type of appearance and slightly curl up and are dark brown, the thickest parts will be flaky.

 I have personally found that heavily smoked salmon is the best.

If you have a dehydrator, this is excellent taken straight to it, and allowing it to dry into jerky.









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