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Thread: Smoking Salmon

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    Post Smoking Salmon

    Was looking for some advice on salmon smoking just learning how to do it was wondering what kind of chips are the best and what the normal temperature and for how long you smoke it for

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjb1987 View Post
    Was looking for some advice on salmon smoking just learning how to do it was wondering what kind of chips are the best and what the normal temperature and for how long you smoke it for
    First try the search feature on here lots of previous threads on this.
    Do you prefer hot or cold smoked salmon? What kind of smoker do you have?
    I smoke mine for ~12 hours in my big chief with the insulation blanket around it using Hickory chips.
    Everybody has a different receipe and different tastes. Many people smoke with Alder my wifes mom smokes hers with Birch in a homemade cold smoker.My wifes boss uses Cottonwood and Birch in his cold smoker.
    Find someone to let you try their smoked salmon then if you like it get the receipe. Or buy a book and find a receipe you like and give it a try.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjb1987 View Post
    Was looking for some advice on salmon smoking just learning how to do it was wondering what kind of chips are the best and what the normal temperature and for how long you smoke it for

    Fish is "cooked" at 140-degrees. How "smoked" it is is determined by the amount of smoke on it during the time it takes to get cooked and beyond.


    Once the fish is cooked, assuming you're hot-smoking your fish, one continues smoking/cooking until the fish reaches the desired dryness and smoke flavor.


    I normally put three to four pans of smoke on my fish at 140 or a little below . . takes about four hours or so . . from there I usually raise the heat to about 160 and continue heating until the fish have a deep, chestnut glaze.


    Smoking fish is something of an art form.

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    NO KIDDING...some look like poached salmon but some are glazed like rock candy. Just finished my first batch ever, it is in the edible to delightful range, and I used alder wood chips.

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    Question

    What do you mean by "some look like poached salmon"?

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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    This is my goto reciepe for smoking salmon. I routinely add additional ingredients to the brine but the basics stay the same.

    Excellent BRADLEY Smoked Alaskan Salmon, Kummok


    The following brine recipe is included to get you started, but you are encouraged to experiment with your own salt/sugar, maple, honey, peppers, and seasonings to develop your own.

    Excellent BRADLEY Smoked Alaskan Salmon, Kummok
    (A Spin-off from Bob Kitchen’s Incredible Recipe)

    1 gallon cold water
    1 quart teriyaki OR soy sauce
    1 cup pickling salt
    2 lbs. brown sugar
    2 Tbsp. garlic powder
    3 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

    Mix all ingredients in a non-metal container. Make sure that the salt and sugar is completely dissolved.

    Step 1: PREPARE FISH
    Filet salmon with skin on. Carefully check each filet and REMOVE ALL BONES (Very important for excellence!). A small pair of clean needle nose pliers works well in removing any remaining bones that are stuck in the flesh.

    Step 2: UNIFORM STRIPS
    Cut meat into uniform strips, 3/8" to 1/2" wide and 3"-6" long, OR as long as your smoker racks can handle. The key here is to get uniform thickness cuts for uniform brining and smoking. The length is important only as far as your own packaging preferences. The strips will have a tendency to fall or sag through the larger grid racks, therefore it is best to use the Teflon coated jerky racks, a small grid (1/2") teflon coated rack.

    Step 3: BRINING
    After preparing the brine, add salmon. Place a weighted stainless steel, wooden grate, or large plate over the top of the fish to hold it under the brine. Always keep the brine and fish cool. If you do not have enough refrigerator space, use an Igloo type ice chest with about a gallon of ice thrown in, and monitor the temperature to ensure that is stays below 40°F. Soak salmon in brine recipe for 12 hours, stirring the fish a few times during the brining process.

    Step 4: GLAZING
    Place fish in a single layer on Teflon coated jerky racks (coated with a non-stick cooking spray), or drying racks and ensure that the pieces DON’T touch each other. Air dry in the refrigerator until a hard pellicle forms. Fish will have a tough shiny coat and will be slightly tacky to the touch. Turn the fish over 2-3 times during the Glazing process to ensure more complete glazing. It is during the glazing process that you can sprinkle on certain spices (e.g. cayenne pepper) and/or visual enhancers (e.g. parsley flakes). (Winter time tip! Dry 12-36 hours in a cold place such as an unheated garage, but DON’T allow to freeze).

    Step 5: SMOKING
    Smoke using the following Bradley Smoking guideline: (alder, cherry, or apple bisquettes).
    100°-120°F for 1-2 hours, then increase to
    140° for 2-4 hours, then increase to
    175° for 1-2 hours to finish

    Use the longer times given for thicker/higher oil content fish. As a general rule, the higher temp you use or the longer you hot smoke, the more the meat cooks the oils out, HOWEVER, the meat becomes dryer/tougher in the process.

    NOTE: I've "accidentally" left meat (silver salmon) at the 140-150°F range for up to 8 hours and it still turned out great. I personally believe that you'd have to try REAL hard to make a batch of smoked salmon unpalatable by over smoking/cooking. If you get white “boogers” on the meat, you’re cooking too high/too fast.

    (Others that have used this recipe have applied smoke from 1.5-5 hours, depending on personal preferences. Most smokers are using 1.5-2 hours of smoke)

    TIPS:
    "To skin or not to skin?!?!" “I honestly think that this is a matter of personal preference for most of the salmon. I find that it does seem to help hold the meat together when processing, especially when using the small uniform size strips I smoke, but I don't think it's REALLY necessary........EXCEPT with Kings!! In their case, I believe that the skin helps retain the oils that make the meat so moist and permeates the smoke flavor better when packaged.”

    Storage- Can leftovers can be frozen? “Freeze it and it just gets better. I actually prefer the salmon AFTER it's been frozen several months than I do fresh out of the smoker....the smoke flavor just seems to permeate the meat along with the oils and make it more moist than when it's fresh outta the Bradley.”

    Why not smoke the full filet? ”When smoking large fillets, which I hardly ever do except for special gift packages, having the skin off makes for a better presentation and is easier to serve for guests to eat. I don't smoke whole fillets that often because it takes a special "small" size fish ("Jack salmon") and I don't catch those as often, (And if you believe THAT....!!)” (Also refer to Step #2)

    How much salmon will this recipe brine? “I still don't use scales to weigh anything so my best guess is about 8-10 Bradley racks of strips per gallon. It's easy and quick to mix up so I put the fish strips in the Igloo first, and then mix brine until it's all covered. Then I put a weighted grid on top of the meat to keep it all under the brine, mixing it up every so often.”

    Do you smoke at the above temps/times sequentially in that order, or are those 3 choices for different outcomes? “Yes, they are meant to be used sequentially in the order printed. I use a version of these temp/times, adjusting each as I remember to check the gauge/clock E.G., if I see the temp is rising slower than I want, I go longer, if rising too fast - less time. I also vary these temp/times according to the fish.....e.g. silvers are shorter cause they tend to be less oily, where kings , (my personal favorite), go longer and slightly hotter. I don't think I've EVER hit each and every temp time EXACTLY as Bradley gives, but I aim for them with each batch....they're a good guideline. If you tend to be OCD about smoking, they are a pretty reliable objective to use until you get your own rythym....”

    Should you rinse the salmon before air drying? “I don't....but then again, I've never seen the "chunks" mentioned. I really mix up the ingredients to dissolve better before putting in the fish....maybe that's it.”
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

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    Awesome thanks for the advice really appreciate it ill let ya know how it goes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayling Slayer View Post
    How much salmon will this recipe brine? “I still don't use scales to weigh anything so my best guess is about 8-10 Bradley racks of strips per gallon.
    Never used a "Bradley rack so don't have a clue to their size. Using your best guestimate how many fish do you think this brine is good for.....say large Kenai reds...???
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  9. #9

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    Poached salmon look was at the half way point, they were just pinkish that later turned orange. That deep copper and glaze happened on the later pieces that I let air dry longer then the first batch. The air drying must be a key step.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuskovich View Post
    Poached salmon look was at the half way point, they were just pinkish that later turned orange. That deep copper and glaze happened on the later pieces that I let air dry longer then the first batch. The air drying must be a key step.

    It is indeed . . the air-drying allows the formation of the pellicle, a sort of glaze that more or less seals the fish. Too little air-drying or too much heat too quickly usually results in the fish oozing protein in the form of a white substance. Doesn't hurt the fish, just doesn't look nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayling Slayer View Post
    This is my goto reciepe for smoking salmon. I routinely add additional ingredients to the brine but the basics stay the same.

    Excellent BRADLEY Smoked Alaskan Salmon, Kummok


    The following brine recipe is included to get you started, but you are encouraged to experiment with your own salt/sugar, maple, honey, peppers, and seasonings to develop your own.

    Excellent BRADLEY Smoked Alaskan Salmon, Kummok
    (A Spin-off from Bob Kitchen’s Incredible Recipe)

    1 gallon cold water
    1 quart teriyaki OR soy sauce
    1 cup pickling salt
    2 lbs. brown sugar
    2 Tbsp. garlic powder
    3 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

    Mix all ingredients in a non-metal container. Make sure that the salt and sugar is completely dissolved.

    Step 1: PREPARE FISH
    Filet salmon with skin on. Carefully check each filet and REMOVE ALL BONES (Very important for excellence!). A small pair of clean needle nose pliers works well in removing any remaining bones that are stuck in the flesh.

    Step 2: UNIFORM STRIPS
    Cut meat into uniform strips, 3/8" to 1/2" wide and 3"-6" long, OR as long as your smoker racks can handle. The key here is to get uniform thickness cuts for uniform brining and smoking. The length is important only as far as your own packaging preferences. The strips will have a tendency to fall or sag through the larger grid racks, therefore it is best to use the Teflon coated jerky racks, a small grid (1/2") teflon coated rack.

    Step 3: BRINING
    After preparing the brine, add salmon. Place a weighted stainless steel, wooden grate, or large plate over the top of the fish to hold it under the brine. Always keep the brine and fish cool. If you do not have enough refrigerator space, use an Igloo type ice chest with about a gallon of ice thrown in, and monitor the temperature to ensure that is stays below 40°F. Soak salmon in brine recipe for 12 hours, stirring the fish a few times during the brining process.

    Step 4: GLAZING
    Place fish in a single layer on Teflon coated jerky racks (coated with a non-stick cooking spray), or drying racks and ensure that the pieces DON’T touch each other. Air dry in the refrigerator until a hard pellicle forms. Fish will have a tough shiny coat and will be slightly tacky to the touch. Turn the fish over 2-3 times during the Glazing process to ensure more complete glazing. It is during the glazing process that you can sprinkle on certain spices (e.g. cayenne pepper) and/or visual enhancers (e.g. parsley flakes). (Winter time tip! Dry 12-36 hours in a cold place such as an unheated garage, but DON’T allow to freeze).

    Step 5: SMOKING
    Smoke using the following Bradley Smoking guideline: (alder, cherry, or apple bisquettes).
    100°-120°F for 1-2 hours, then increase to
    140° for 2-4 hours, then increase to
    175° for 1-2 hours to finish

    Use the longer times given for thicker/higher oil content fish. As a general rule, the higher temp you use or the longer you hot smoke, the more the meat cooks the oils out, HOWEVER, the meat becomes dryer/tougher in the process.

    NOTE: I've "accidentally" left meat (silver salmon) at the 140-150°F range for up to 8 hours and it still turned out great. I personally believe that you'd have to try REAL hard to make a batch of smoked salmon unpalatable by over smoking/cooking. If you get white “boogers” on the meat, you’re cooking too high/too fast.

    (Others that have used this recipe have applied smoke from 1.5-5 hours, depending on personal preferences. Most smokers are using 1.5-2 hours of smoke)

    TIPS:
    "To skin or not to skin?!?!" “I honestly think that this is a matter of personal preference for most of the salmon. I find that it does seem to help hold the meat together when processing, especially when using the small uniform size strips I smoke, but I don't think it's REALLY necessary........EXCEPT with Kings!! In their case, I believe that the skin helps retain the oils that make the meat so moist and permeates the smoke flavor better when packaged.”

    Storage- Can leftovers can be frozen? “Freeze it and it just gets better. I actually prefer the salmon AFTER it's been frozen several months than I do fresh out of the smoker....the smoke flavor just seems to permeate the meat along with the oils and make it more moist than when it's fresh outta the Bradley.”

    Why not smoke the full filet? ”When smoking large fillets, which I hardly ever do except for special gift packages, having the skin off makes for a better presentation and is easier to serve for guests to eat. I don't smoke whole fillets that often because it takes a special "small" size fish ("Jack salmon") and I don't catch those as often, (And if you believe THAT....!!)” (Also refer to Step #2)

    How much salmon will this recipe brine? “I still don't use scales to weigh anything so my best guess is about 8-10 Bradley racks of strips per gallon. It's easy and quick to mix up so I put the fish strips in the Igloo first, and then mix brine until it's all covered. Then I put a weighted grid on top of the meat to keep it all under the brine, mixing it up every so often.”

    Do you smoke at the above temps/times sequentially in that order, or are those 3 choices for different outcomes? “Yes, they are meant to be used sequentially in the order printed. I use a version of these temp/times, adjusting each as I remember to check the gauge/clock E.G., if I see the temp is rising slower than I want, I go longer, if rising too fast - less time. I also vary these temp/times according to the fish.....e.g. silvers are shorter cause they tend to be less oily, where kings , (my personal favorite), go longer and slightly hotter. I don't think I've EVER hit each and every temp time EXACTLY as Bradley gives, but I aim for them with each batch....they're a good guideline. If you tend to be OCD about smoking, they are a pretty reliable objective to use until you get your own rythym....”

    Should you rinse the salmon before air drying? “I don't....but then again, I've never seen the "chunks" mentioned. I really mix up the ingredients to dissolve better before putting in the fish....maybe that's it.”
    Would never smoke salmon at a temperature above 105. Higher temps cook the fat out of the meat causing it to be dry tough and flavorless. Just my two cents.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    What are ya...a fisherman...or a catcherman?

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    Awesome tutorial Greyling Slayer. You say you usually freeze your smoked salmon. I was wondering if vacuum packing them and storing them in our pantry would be a safe thing to do. How about canning them in a pressure cooker? We have nine deer and a bear tag this fall and only one chest freezer and it's half full with salmon right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longbow6360 View Post
    Awesome tutorial Greyling Slayer. You say you usually freeze your smoked salmon. I was wondering if vacuum packing them and storing them in our pantry would be a safe thing to do. How about canning them in a pressure cooker? We have nine deer and a bear tag this fall and only one chest freezer and it's half full with salmon right now.
    Longbow
    It's safe to smoke, vacuum pack, and freeze salmon, Those tourist pkgs of smoked salmon you see on the shelves in stores have Nitrates in them to preserve them. so the only safe thing to process salmon at home is to either freeze the pkgs of smoked salmon, or can the salmon. If you can the salmon in 1/2 lb flats, keep in mind that canning intensifies the smoke flavor, so you don't want to hard smoke that salmon.. actually, personal experience has been there's nothing wrong with canning hard smoked salmon, it just takes an extra brew or two to consume, as opposed to lightly smoked .... As I see it, canned Smoked Salmon has a much longer shelf life than frozen, Frozen is much less work involved, but after a couple yrs lost in the bottom of a freeze it tends to loose a little flavor.

    A few years ago I picked up a booklet put out by the University Extension Office.. That was a very good outline on how to preserve your fish. I would imagine they have some more up-to-date material available today. Regards

  14. #14

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    We smoke-can most of our salmon. Saves freezer space and makes quick access for a quick lunch or snack easy. When the kids want a snack, they just grab a jar.
    "Happiness is a warm gun - bang bang, shoot shoot!"
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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akfisherman View Post
    Would never smoke salmon at a temperature above 105. Higher temps cook the fat out of the meat causing it to be dry tough and flavorless. Just my two cents.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I cold smoked 30 bellies and tails from my Chitina trip and I'm now a believer. It takes longer at 100 degrees, but it is worth the wait!
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

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