I decided to precook the bacon so that it would end up a little crispy. I had really thick peppered bacon and it required about 20 minutes at 375°F in the oven but if your bacon is thinner, it will require much less time.
To ensure that the bacon did not roll up, I laid the bacon into a flat cookie sheet then laid another cookie sheet on top of that to hold the bacon flat while it cooked.
If you have a bacon press and want to do it differently, that will work.
Make sure it is still somewhat flexible and not crispy when it's finished regardless of what type of bacon you use.
Lay the salmon filet on your cutting board.
Pull out any pin bones that you find using a clean pair of needle nosed pliers or tweezers.
To find the pin bones, simply run your fingers along the fish and you'll feel the little bones sticking up just above the flesh. They are usually located right along the side of the thickest part of the fish.
Cut the fish into strips width wise. Use a piece of bacon to measure how wide it needs to be.
Once the strips are cut, use a sharp knife to remove the skin from each piece.
Roll (2) pieces in a plate of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to coat.
I used (2) uncoated pieces to show you how to roll them into a round filet
Lay the pieces on top of each other as shown. Thick part on top of the thin part of the fish.
Roll it together to form a circle.
While holding it, wrap a piece of bacon around it and secure with a toothpick or a piece of butchers twine.
I used some really nice bacon that was sent to me by Bear Creek Smokehouse in Marshall, TX and due to the size, I used two pieces of bacon instead of only one.
Secure the bacon with a toothpick or two if you can
Some butchers twine also works well for this process.
I made (4) filets with the 2 lb salmon filet and had a piece at the small end left over.
I laid them in a rack to make it easy to move them from the cutting board to the smoker and then back when they were finished cooking.
We often cook salmon in the smoker at very low temperatures but these are hot smoked at 225- 240°F. Set up your electric, charcoal, gas or wood smoker for about an hours worth of cooking and a nice fruit wood or something that is not too strong such as alder, cherry, apple, pecan, etc.
Place the salmon filets on the smoker grate and let them smoke cook at 225-240°F with indirect heat for about 45-60 minutes or until they reach about 130°F in the center.
As I mentioned above, the USDA recommends 145°F finish temperature for fish however this results in salmon that is extremely dry and inedible. Make sure your salmon comes from a reliable source and try cooking it to only 125-130°F and you will see what most chefs recommend a much lower finish temperature.
A great tool for checking the temperature on these is the ThermoPop digital pocket thermometer which reads in 3-4 seconds (that's fast)!
Just as soon as the salmon is finished cooking, serve them immediately for best results.
- The advantage to cooking salmon in this way, unlike just cooking it as is, is that it is the same thickness all the way across and can be served perfectly done.
- To get even more flavor, brine the salmon for a couple of hours in 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 cup of kosher salt and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Rinse well then let it air dry in the fridge before cutting the fish and creating the round filets.