Good afternoon and welcome to the May edition of the Smoking-Meat.com monthly newsletter. I am your host, Jeff Phillips, and I have lots of great information for you in this edition featuring the mysterious but amazingly easy instructions for smoking salmon in your backyard..
Now let's get straight to it!
You Can Smoke Salmon Like the Pros(in your backyard)
My wife purchased a frozen salmon filet the other day and wanted to know if I would smoke it… well to be honest I consider myself a lean, mean smoking machine but salmon has never been my forte… I have read a lot of articles and seen and tasted a lot of good smoked salmon but never really got into it myself.
Willing to be the good husband and unwilling to admit that I could not do it I made up my mind to smoke the salmon or bust!
The filet she had purchased had the skin on one side so in preparation for brining and smoking the fish I went ahead and cut the salmon into sections about 2 inches wide down the length of the salmon but I did not cut through the skin on the bottom… I left it intact.
I then made a brine mixture from 1 quart of water, 1 cup kosher salt and 1 cup of dark brown sugar and laid the salmon in the brine flesh side down overnight which ended up being about 8 hours.
The next morning I got up at the crack of dawn and removed the salmon from the brine hoping that I had left it in the correct amount of time. As some of you know, you can ruin a good piece of meat by over brining so I was a little concerned.
I rinsed the brine from the fish and laid it on some paper to dry and form the shiny pellicle which would protect the meat during the smoking process as I had read in many articles, books and magazines.
After about an hour or so I sprinkled the flesh of the salmon with course ground black pepper and place it in the fridge just to keep it cool until the smoker got ready.
I got the smoker going and this was a little different than normal in that I needed to maintain a 160 to 180 degree fire in order to smoke cook the fish without rendering the fat from the fish which would serve to keep it moist and juicy.
At about 150 degrees I placed the salmon on the smoker grate with oak/cherry smoke billowing from the stack and sat down to wait. I stayed right with the smoker the entire time to ensure an even temp and to make sure I pulled the fish out at exactly 140 degrees.
Two and a half hours later the temp rolled over to 140 and I immediately pulled the salmon filet out and took it in the house where my wife had plates already laid out and waiting with long sprigs of tender asparagus and large battered rounds of fried squash.
That was one tasty meal…
Being the critic that I am… I decided that next time I would use a little lighter smoke and perhaps add a little spiciness to the black pepper rub but other that that it was pretty darn near perfect for my taste and my family raved.
Regardless of who you are… if the family likes it then that is what is important!