Author Topic: Salmon questions?  (Read 504 times)

dcbt

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Salmon questions?
« on: August 08, 2017, 10:36:49 AM »
Howdy, just received the new smoker last weekend and seasoned it.   I'm eager to give it a whirl this weekend, and my wife is pushing for salmon, which will be a first for me.  I've read up on the brine and pellicle, but as far as actually smoking it what is the best method? 

Skin side up or down? 
Straight on the grates (or aluminum foil on the grates?), or is the seafood rack better, or a cedar plank, or something else entirely?
Should I rub the surface chosen above with oil to prevent sticking, or without?

Thanks in advance.   It's great to have such a knowledgeable community right at my finger tips!
Bryce in DFW, TX
SI #1

SconnieQ

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 11:34:07 PM »
Here's my recipe for hot-smoked salmon. I use Frog Mats, or Q Matz. You can buy by the foot and trim to fit.

http://www.amazenproducts.com/category_s/46.htm

You just lay them on top of your normal grates. Non-stick, easy to clean (dishwasher-safe), less expensive and easier to clean than the seafood racks. Essential if you are smoking fish in my opinion. You can lightly oil the mats, but do not oil the fish. You want to keep the sticky pellicle on the fish. If you are smoking with skin, I would smoke skin-side-down.

Salmon - Hot Smoked

Basic Salmon Cure:
1 part Salt
4 parts Brown Sugar
(you can add other flavorings to the cure if you like, like garlic powder, onion powder, dill, other herbs, etc.)

Make enough cure to thickly pack around salmon.

Cut Salmon filet into pieces approximately 3-4 inches wide. Skin-on and skin-off both work and are good. I prefer skin-off, because I get more surface area for the pellicle. A lot of people prefer skin-on.

Heavily pack the cure all around the salmon (about 1/4 to 3/8 inch of cure on all sides of filets) in a glass or food-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and cure for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. There will be a lot of liquid in the dish after curing. Thoroughly rinse cure off of salmon. Blot with paper towels. Dry on rack for about 3 hours to form a pellicle (the surface with be slightly sticky). If drying for more than 3 hours, then dry for 4-8 hours on a rack in the refrigerator.

Set smoker to 170 degrees. Smoke until Salmon internal temp is 135 degrees. Many recipes say internal temp should be 145, but I think the salmon gets too firm/dry. Cherry, Maple or Pecan wood is good. I usually use 2-3 oz chips or thin shards.
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
SI Model #1 with "Libby the dog" poultry skin eating accessory
Weber Smokey Mountain (are we still friends?), Weber Kettle Grill (stop complaining WSM, I still have a chance)
Anova WiFi Precision Cooker (sous vide)

dcbt

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 07:30:53 AM »
Thanks for the info Kari.
Bryce in DFW, TX
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EFGM

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 07:57:58 AM »
Kari, so am I understanding correctly that other than the cure which is to be washed off, there is no other seasoning you put on? I have always taken the quick way, smoked them with indirect heat on PG with oil and tatonka dust, (no cure). Everyone raves about them but I've always felt there was a better way and now you have got me over the hill so to speak. I think I'm going to give your method a try.
Thanks
Doug
Carrollton, Tx
A Briskitarian with Briskititus
#4D: ST1500CXLD modified: PG1000: TAPPECUE:
A “Briskitarian” is one of two types of people. Either one who smokes his or her “Hunk of Goodness” until it probes like Butter or one who enjoys his or her “Goodness” smoked until it probes like Butter.

SuperDave

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 08:36:13 AM »
I sprinkle mine with rub before they go in the smoker and 15 minutes before finish paint on a slathered glaze of brown sugar and honey or brown sugar and maple syrup. 

Model 4, Harrisville, Utah

SconnieQ

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 11:44:18 AM »
Kari, so am I understanding correctly that other than the cure which is to be washed off, there is no other seasoning you put on? I have always taken the quick way, smoked them with indirect heat on PG with oil and tatonka dust, (no cure). Everyone raves about them but I've always felt there was a better way and now you have got me over the hill so to speak. I think I'm going to give your method a try.
Thanks

Most of the time I don't put any other seasoning on, because I like the pure salmon flavor with the salt and the slight sweetness that the brown sugar gives. That's my personal preference though. Sometimes I will add garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper directly to the cure. And sometimes I sprinkle seasoning (without salt) on after the cure. There is plenty of salt from the curing process. The salmon soaks up the salt like a sponge. You will think that the salmon will be dry, because so much water comes out during the cure, but water is not what makes the salmon moist, fat does. You can add other seasonings to the cure, or if you would like, add other seasonings (like black pepper, Tatonka Dust, etc) right after the rinse (before the drying process) so it will stick to the pellicle. The pellicle is kind of a thin firm crust that is slightly tacky to the touch. It helps keep the fat and moisture inside the salmon, and smoke sticks to the pellicle. Do not add oil. You can also brush with Maple Syrup (+ black pepper if you would like) after smoking. I always used to smoke my salmon without the cure too, and they were way better than what you can buy, and people also raved about it. One day I decided to do it both ways in a side-by-side comparison, with and without curing, hoping that I would like it just as well without the extra step of curing. And to my surprise, I much preferred the cured salmon. It was so much more moist, succulent and flavorful. It just had an extra depth of flavor compared to the non-cured version. It's pretty easy to do a side-by-side on your next smoke. You might decide differently, and you like the non-cured one just as much. If you can get a temperature probe in a thicker piece, that is most helpful. The only time my salmon didn't come out good is when I smoked beyond 135 (someone called on the phone, I got distracted, and they went to 155 :(), and they were more firm, and had too much smoke. They don't take very long. So go by temperature if you can.
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
SI Model #1 with "Libby the dog" poultry skin eating accessory
Weber Smokey Mountain (are we still friends?), Weber Kettle Grill (stop complaining WSM, I still have a chance)
Anova WiFi Precision Cooker (sous vide)

Walt

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 12:29:45 PM »
All good info. I also do mine very similar. 135 is the key for moist flakey fish. The defined process above is spot on for great results. Generally, this takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to smoke.
Walt from South East Louisiana
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JustChillin

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 12:45:22 PM »
I pretty much smoke salmon similar to Kari and Walt. I do usually use the salt & brown sugar cure but I cure it for on 5-7 hours (trying to reduce the salty taste). I have added a maple syrup glaze at the end before but it is not needed. I like to keep it simple and enjoy the  simple smokey flavor of salmon.
My tools currently include the SI #2 with an Auber, Grill Dome, Solaire 27", Holland Grill (Companion) & Weber (Smokey Joe). The Companion & SJ are primarily used for tailgating. David from Roswell,GA -Happy smoking!

LarryD

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 02:08:05 PM »
While virtually every recipe/instruction I've seen for the SI says not to pre-heat, I have a friend that has what is probably an original model #1 who gave me the following instructions when I made salmon for New Year's and it came out excellent!

* Put in a couple ounces of soaked chip or block fruit wood
* Turn the smoker on and let it get up to temp and smoking
* Put the salmon on the top rack for 35-40 minutes

Take care to not overcook... even 5 minutes over can dry it out.  The instructions were for ~ 3 pounds of salmon.  Thinner pieces and/or individual slabs need less time.

I did wash/dry my salmon first, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then seasoned.  I tend to season with salt, garlic, and onion on almost everything and no sugar because I'm diabetic.  It was excellent!

I have a special rack purchased from SI that is for fish that I used.  (http://www.smokin-it.com/product-p/cssr2.htm)  I just put the salmon directly on the rack.  My salmon did not have any skin.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 02:09:39 PM by LarryD »
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polarlys

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 06:15:26 PM »
I have never hot smoked salmon.   Sounds interesting and I will give it a go.   I do a cold smoke and I get a texture very like Lox.  It's a firm raw texture that allows me to get very thin slices.   Goes great with scramble eggs ( in place of bacon) or with cream cheese & bagels. 
For me the colder the better.   I have been generating my smoke externally and smoked my fish for 4-8 hrs on a cold day.   I have a SI model 3d on order and will try hot smoking and see how I like it just for a change.

ThanX,
Roger from NJ
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SconnieQ

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 06:25:43 PM »
I have never hot smoked salmon.   Sounds interesting and I will give it a go.   I do a cold smoke and I get a texture very like Lox.  It's a firm raw texture that allows me to get very thin slices.   Goes great with scramble eggs ( in place of bacon) or with cream cheese & bagels. 
For me the colder the better.   I have been generating my smoke externally and smoked my fish for 4-8 hrs on a cold day.   I have a SI model 3d on order and will try hot smoking and see how I like it just for a change.

ThanX,

I also do cold smoked salmon (lox). Pretty different process. Longer cure, sometimes with pink curing salt, and different smoking process (cold smoke plate, ice, lower temp, longer smoke). I think I've posted my process. Also, lox is a very different end product. Lox texture should be similar to raw salmon, hot-smoked obviously similar to cooked. Lox is my favorite, but several friends are freaked out by the texture, so hot-smoked fits the bill for them... and me, because I like the variety.
Kari from Madison WI "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality"
SI Model #1 with "Libby the dog" poultry skin eating accessory
Weber Smokey Mountain (are we still friends?), Weber Kettle Grill (stop complaining WSM, I still have a chance)
Anova WiFi Precision Cooker (sous vide)

volscrazy65

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Re: Salmon questions?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2017, 07:02:07 PM »
Thanks for the info Kari.

I've smoked salmon three times so far and used Kari's recipe each time.  It has came out amazing every time and don't see myself changing a thing.  Give it a try you won't be sorry.
John
Flintstone, GA
SI 3D
Weber Q 3200