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Thread: Smoking Salmon question...

  1. #1
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Question Smoking Salmon question...

    I am relatively new to smoking fish so please take it easy on me in your responses. How long can you leave your fresh reds in a brine? I was planning on leaving it in the brine for about 10 hrs, then smoking for 10...but I will have to leave in the middle of the smoke session...so I am wondering how long I can leave it in the brine?

    Thanks!
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    AKArcher

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    Default Smok'in

    AKArcher,

    10 hours in the brine is no problem. I try to stick to 8 hrs in the brine, 8 hours drying, and 6-8hrs smoking. If you have to keep it longer in the brine just add more ice and remember as the ice melts it will dilute the brine so add more juice/sauce.

    I dry mine in the garage on two sawhorses with 10 ft metal rails and then line up the oven racks with a small fan blowing over the whole thing. I wrap plastic around both rails and let is sag in-between to catch all the droppings so clean up is easier. Don't go past 8 hours and check on it occassionally because the fish can get too dried out. Remember to spray the racks with Pam or something similar so the fish comes off easier.

    I have a tall homemade smoker so I have to rotate the racks from top to bottom for even smoking.

    I don't know how you're going to cut out during the smoking phase, I have to change my wood chips about every 45 minutes.

    This is the way I do it but If you talk to 10 different people you'll get 10 different ways to smoke salmon.

    Hope some of this helps.

    Jack

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    Default

    I cut and clean the pieces, lay them in a big flat lasagna pan, sprinkle with salt, like a liberal salting at the dinner table, cover with brown sugar, add another layer, and repeat. Cover with plastic wrap, into the fridge, and it can stay for 12 to 24 hours without making any noticable difference. It's easier and it tastes better than any wet brine I ever used. The pan will be full of liquid after 12 hours anyway. I dry it in a food dehydrator until tacky and brush some REAL maple strup on it, and dry it again until the syrup is tacky. Honey works, too. I smoke for about 4 hours and cook it off for about another 4 hours. I'll cook it less if I intend to can it. If I do can it, I throw some jalepeno slices into each jar.

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Default Thanks...

    ...for all of the responses...and recipes!
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    Dittos on dry brining, my results have been much more consistant since switching from wet brine. I've also frozen brined fillets and smoked them later, and they come out fine.

    One does need to warn their spouse before hand, as the brined fillets may end up as a rather salty main course. They can be soaked in clean water long enough to make them suitable for dinner, but you have to think that one out before plopping it in the oven.

  6. #6
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    Smile Freezing...I may use that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H
    Dittos on dry brining, my results have been much more consistant since switching from wet brine. I've also frozen brined fillets and smoked them later, and they come out fine.
    Paul,

    Did you brine and rinse them and then put them in the freezer for a few days/weeks, or did you vacu-seal them and let them set for a few months? I would like to do a brine of about 20 fish and get the mess out of the way, and then only smoke 5 fish at a time, mainly do to my small smoker. Also, what do you do to the filets once you thaw them out.

    Thanks!
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    I picked up a 50# sausage tote from a butcher supply place in Anchorage, perfect size for fillets. I dry brined about a dozen fillets, let them set at room temp for 2 hours, then lightly rinsed them off under the tap to remove the grains of salt/sugar.

    After that I put some on the smoker to form a pellicle, then smoked, the others I just bagged and froze. A month or so later, I thawed them in the fridge over night, cut them into strips and put them on the smoker for the same process.

  8. #8
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default And then...

    there's the old fashioned way (for lots of fish)! This produces the real Alaskan "squaw candy" which us old sourdoughs prefer.
    Gut, head and split your reds on either side of the skeleton, except leave the fish together at the tail by cutting through the backbone. Now either make strips of the slabs or leave them together and make relief cuts on the flesh side almost through to the skin in order to facilitate drying. Mix up in a 5 gallon bucket a cup of brown sugar, and enough rock salt to float a small potato. Soak the fish for 1 hour. Let dry over any kind of rack with either the wind or a large fan to dry it out and form a glaze. Your fish should be dark red when dry- usually about 2 days.
    Smoke them with a cold smoke of alder (barked) or cottonwood for about another 2 days.
    This fish will keep for weeks and even months, even without freezing! But it is best to package up and freeze what you don't want to use in the next week or so.
    Yes, I too plug in the Little Cheif and do the dry brining, etc. for my ice fishing catches. I refer to it as "yuppy smoked fish" compared to the real thing.

  9. #9

    Default salty

    Seems like whenever I brine my fish in saltwater (as opposed to the dry method), the fish come out way too salty. I do rinse them off good after brining and that doesn't help much. I'm talking about being too salty after only brining overnight. Do you have the same problem?

  10. #10

    Default

    Try using less salt, i tend to stay away from adding salt if i can help it. I like using soy sauce mixed with brown sugar, garlic, ginger, water, red sherry or wine, and crushed red peppers. I also vary the ingredients depending on how I want it to taste.

  11. #11
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    Smile Smoking fish

    I found a recipe that called for 4 cups brown sugar to 1 cup salt (pickling, not iodine salt), fresh garlic cloves diced (1-15). Score the flesh of the fish almost to the skin and apply the above mixture for 6-8 hours. Rinse gently and smoke. From what I have read most of the smoke flavor is gained in the first few hours so extended smoking time is not really necessary. I use a Big Chief and use 2-3 pans of wood chips and then allow the fish to simply dry using the heat of the smoker. I will let you know how it turns out. Sure is less costly than using a brine. Hopefully its tastes as good.

    Here is the link to the recipe.

    http://www.salmonuniversity.com/rs_htss01_index.html

  12. #12
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss Gobbler
    I found a recipe that called for 4 cups brown sugar to 1 cup salt (pickling, not iodine salt), fresh garlic cloves diced (1-15). Score the flesh of the fish almost to the skin and apply the above mixture for 6-8 hours. Rinse gently and smoke. From what I have read most of the smoke flavor is gained in the first few hours so extended smoking time is not really necessary. I use a Big Chief and use 2-3 pans of wood chips and then allow the fish to simply dry using the heat of the smoker. I will let you know how it turns out. Sure is less costly than using a brine. Hopefully its tastes as good.

    Here is the link to the recipe.

    http://www.salmonuniversity.com/rs_htss01_index.html

    This is the same recipe that I use..and everyone that has tasted the fish loves it. Once I get done with the brine and rinse it, I add black pepper to half of the batch and a cajun seasoning to the other half.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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