This smoked salmon candy also called “indian candy” was, at one time, a staple food while traveling away from home where cooking was difficult or near impossible.
The texture ranges from moist and tender to slightly dry and chewy depending on how long you cook it and you will just have to decide exactly how you like it best.
Update: When I first produced this recipe a few years ago, I had reports that it was too salty for some. I have completely reworked this recipe to ensure that the process is straight forward and much easier to follow. I have also modified the recipe to NOT use extra salt. It uses only my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) for the dry brining/marinating process as it contains very minimal salt.
If you find that it needs more salt for your taste, feel free to amend the ingredients to include kosher salt but I urge you to be careful as it can get overly salty really fast. Also keep good notes on how much you add so you can adjust as necessary.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Brine Time: 12 hours or overnight
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Smoker Temp: 120/160°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 145°F
- Recommended Wood: Apple or Alder
If you have access to fresh, wild salmon then I highly recommend that you use that. You can also use store-bought but you can't expect the same quality and flavor as fresh, wild-caught salmon. I've had both and you can tell the difference. My point is to use the best thing you can get your hands on within your budget and means.
The first thing I do with salmon is to give it a good rinse with cold water and then pat it dry with a paper towel.
Lay it on the cutting board skin side down.
You can cut this as wide as you want and to any size that you want. I chose to go with about 1 inch slices right down the fish.
Some folks skin the fish before they slice it but I have found that it is easier to remove the skin from smaller pieces.
Use a sharp knife and with the fish laying skin side down, glide the blade between the meat and the skin to separate the two.
My method is to get it started on the thick end then when I have enough to get ahold of, I hold it with the thumb of my left hand (I am right handed) while I glide the blade, angled slightly downward, away from me.
Removing the skin will cause stray scales to end up on the meat of the fish and I like to give it another rinse under cold water to remove anything unwanted.
As you rinse them, pile them on a paper towel to drain.
Now we are ready to dry brine the fish with my original rub (purchase recipe here).
What is dry brining?
In it's most basic terms, dry brining is the act of sprinkling salt (kosher salt is best) on meat. Water from the meat is attracted to the salt and is brought to the surface to meet the salt. The water mixes with the salt and is then reabsorbed back into the meat.
Even though my rub is very low in salt, it is enough to do the job on this fish. The salt in the rub pulls the moisture to the surface where it mixes with the rub and then that flavorful slurry is reabsorbed back into the meat. It's like injecting flavor into the meat except a whole lot better!
To start, I pour enough of the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to create a layer on the bottom of the brining bowl. For this 3 pound salmon, I used a bowl that was about 5″ x 8″ and about 5″ deep with a lid.
Add the salmon pieces by laying them gently on top of the layer of rub.
Add another layer of rub.
With every layer, add more rub.
Place a lid on the container and place the fish in the fridge overnight or for 8-12 hours while it brines.
After about 4 hours, you will notice that liquid slurry in the bottom of the bowl, and you may want to stir the fish around a little to make sure it is well coated.
Here is the fish after 12 hours in the fridge..
The fish is very firm and smells wonderful.
Rinse the fish under cold water and try to get off as much of the rub as possible. The flavors have already done their job and what is left is not needed. Besides, it's important that the fish is very dry when the smoking begins and we'll add more rub and some maple syrup to the fish toward the end of the process.
Lay the rinsed fish onto a rack for the drying process. I use a second rack over the top so I don't have to worry about anything falling onto the fish in the fridge.
These days, Bradley racks, like the ones I used below, are hard to find online unless you own a Bradley smoker.. I recommend this pan and rack instead if you're looking for something like this to use.
Just a tip: Use wire bread ties to connect the two racks together.
Some folks dry the fish on the counter but I am a safety nut and I prefer to dry it in the fridge.
Why dry the fish?
Salmon have a white protein called albumin and this stuff will ooze out of the fish as it cooks. The albumin also serves to keep the fish more moist while it cooks.
By allowing the fish to dry, it forms a skin called a pellicle which helps to prevent the white albumin from cooking out.
I recommend drying for 2-4 hours if possible. The fish will become tacky and get a translucent look as it dries.
After drying the fish and allowing the pellicle to form they are ready to smoke.
This is a great task to get done while the fish are in the last hour or so of drying.
Winter is a great time to smoke fish since it is normally smoked at lower temperatures anyway and if your smoker has a hard time maintaining normal smoking temperatures of 225°F, well then, you are in luck because you only need about 120-160°F to get the job done on this smoked salmon candy.
Start the smoker out at about 120°F and once it is holding steady, the fish are ready to smoke.
Place the salmon candy into the smoker. If you are using the Bradley racks then just lay it on the grate or you can lay the fish directly on the smoker grate. You might consider brushing a little olive oil onto the bottom of the fish pieces just before placing them on the grate to prevent any sticking.
I recommend using apple or alder wood and keep the smoke going the entire time.
Depending on how thick your pieces are cut and how dry you want the smoked salmon candy to be will determine the length of time that it spends in the smoker so you will have to do a little bit of testing after 3-4 hours of time. I always tell folks to make extra and to test a piece every 30 minutes until it gets to where you like it.
Write down how long it took and you'll know next time what to expect.
My fish was about 1 inch thick and I like it pretty dry but not so dry that it becomes chewy. I maintained the following temperatures in my smoker and it took 6 hours to become smoked salmon candy perfection:
2 hours at 120°F
2 hours at 140°F
2 hours at 160°F
If your smoker will not cook lower than 160 or 180 then just set it on the lowest setting knowing that it will get done sooner than mine did.. probably at least an hour or two sooner.
This important step is what helps to make the smoked salmon candy sweet and gives it that nice sweet and spicy layer on the outside.
Mix the 2 ingredients together well and brush onto the salmon every hour starting at the 1 hour mark. Depending on how much salmon you make and how generous you are with it, you may need to make another batch.
What a great snack this is!
***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!
If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.
Read these recent testimonies:
I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff! -Susan T.
Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point! -Charles W.
Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! -Peter S.
Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! -Michelle M.
I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while. -Darwyn B.
You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, “Can the recipes really be that good?”
No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:
- You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
- The recipes are absolutely amazing!
- Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter
Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.
With more than 900 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.
It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.
If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..
The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.
Thank you in advance for using our special link: http://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon
Smoked Salmon Candy
- 2-3 lb filet of salmon
- Jeff's original rub
- Real Maple syrup
Slice into Pieces and Remove Skin
- Rinse salmon with cold water
- On a cutting board, slice across the fish into 1 inch wide pieces
- Remove skin using a sharp knife
- Rinse fish under cold water to remove scales
Dry Brine/Marinate the Salmon
- Place a layer of rub into a plastic or glass bowl.
- Place the fish onto the rub.
- Sprinkle a layer of rub onto the top of the fish pieces.
- If you need to double-stack the fish, place another layer of rub then more fish.
- Finish this layer with a layer of rub on top.
- Place a lid on the container and place in the fridge for 8-12 hours or overnight.
- Rinse the rub from the fish using cold water and lay on paper towel to drain.
Dry the Salmon
- Place the salmon on a Bradley rack or similar with at least ½ inch between pieces.
- Place rack in fridge for 3-4 hours to allow the fish to dry and form a pellicle.
Smoking the Salmon
- Setup smoker for cooking at about 120°F
- Place salmon pieces directly on smoker grate for 2 hours.
- Increase heat to 140°F
- Continue to cook salmon for 2 hours
- Increase heat to 160°F
- Continue to cook salmon until it has reached the desired dryness/texture
Glazing the Salmon
- Mix together ¾ cup of maple syrup with 2 TBS of Jeff's rub to create a glaze.
- Brush the glaze on the salmon pieces every hour while they are in the smoker