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Salmon, for lack of a better term, Alaskan Native style.......

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  • Salmon, for lack of a better term, Alaskan Native style.......

    I've hot smoked a ton of salmon over the years, but have always wondered about the process that I see done by natives in books and such (whole fillets sliced and hung). Is that a cold smoke? Dried? What is the process? If smoked, what is the wood type? Etc. I had a friend (haven't seen in years) from up on the Yukon river, and she always had the most delicious salmon (dried or smoked or something). If anyone has an idea about the process, or could point me in the right direction to get information, I would appreciate it. I looked at the smoked salmon sticky up top, but unless I missed it, didnít see much on the subject. I'm just looking for new ways (at least for me) to try my annual bounty of salmon. Hope someone has good info; I would love to learn more!!!
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

  • #2
    Like most smoked salmon, the details will vary from house to house out here, but usually it's a pretty short brine, and then LOTS of drying time....days usually, followed by half a day of billowing smokehouse. It helps to check the forecast or things will mold instead of dry. The smoke houses have large screened windows that drop to get air on em and bug tight for the first bit is pretty key. Some folks will essentially cold smoke em (less than 120 degrees) and freeze, others will finish in an oven. I know this is vague, but it is pretty variable as said. I'd pm SAYAK, he logged lots of time here in Bristol Bay and can fill you in with greater detail.

    I have done strips with this general method, but with fillets I usually cold smoke (kinda loxish) and freeze, not a lot of dry time.

    Compared to most methods, it takes a long time and lots of babysitting them if the weather is poor, but when done right, it is indeed mighty good.

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    • #3
      Thank you for the response!
      "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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      • #4
        How we always do ours is in a large cedar smokehouse, roughly about 20x10.&nbsp; I am probably off on these measurements since footage is rather greek to me.&nbsp; Ours is pretty airtight and well built.&nbsp; If you put in some insulation you could live in it.&nbsp; For the smoke there is a wood stove in the middle with no chimney, just a coffee can on top.&nbsp; We have narrows cedar beams across that we hang our fish across after we have filleted and made sure ALL traces of blood and belly are gone (that sours the fish quick).&nbsp; We cut out the backbone but leave the tails on the fillets and cut in 4 long strips if it is going in jars and if it is going to be squaw candy (hardsmoke) we cut them as thin as we can.&nbsp; <br><br>Our brine is roughly equal parts of salt and sugar dissolved in room temp water until a potato floats in it.&nbsp; Then we put the salmon in the brine for about 5 minutes.&nbsp; Hang the fish on the beams by the tail, skin side touching the beam.&nbsp; Leave it for 6 hours in the closed smoke house to dry a bit.&nbsp; Then start the fire with your wet wood.&nbsp; This is the fun part of babysitting.&nbsp; You have to check to make sure that the fire does not get too hot constantly.&nbsp; I like to use a blend of green cottonwood, alder and buy some mesquite or hickory chunks.&nbsp; Everytime you check the temp, 2 hours or so, you have to flip the fish at the tail so it doesn't sour.&nbsp; The advantage to having such a large smokehouse is that if the temp is too hot for awhile, it generally doesn't hurt the fish like a big chief does.&nbsp; I smoke mine for 2 days and then can it.&nbsp; Squaw candy can take up to 2 weeks for us.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>We do call this cold smoking.&nbsp; I heard when I moved up here cold smoking is what some people call adding liquid smoke to jars, hehehe.&nbsp; Not where I come from

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