Smoked Salmon

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Every now and then our local Grocery Outlet has frozen wildcaught skin-on salmon. That’s when I load my cart and tell the kids {as if they didn’t know}, “I’m smoking some salmon this weekend!” All while avoiding the rubber necks looking at me like I’ve lost my ever-loving mind. *wink*

Smoked Salmon | Enjoying this Journey...

Brine

There are two ways you could handle the brine for the salmon; wet or dry. I’ve done both with great success. However lately I’ve been using a dry brine before smoking the salmon. I’ll include both brine methods in the recipe below.

Sugar?

I use close to equal parts of sea salt and organic evaporated cane juice. For anyone shuddering about the sugar, please note that the filets are rinsed off {along with most of the salt and sugar} before smoking. If you’d rather, you could try substituting a maple sugar or leave the sugar out entirely, although I cannot guarantee the smoked salmon will taste the same.

I recommend:
Smoked Salmon
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 filets
 
Making your own smoked salmon is surprisingly easy. You just need some time... and a timer. 🙂
Ingredients
WET BRINE:
  • 2 lb {likely two filets} wildcaught salmon, skin on preferably
  • 1 qt. water
  • ½ cup sea salt
  • a slightly shy ½ cup organic evaporated cane juice {or maple sugar}
DRY BRINE
  • 2 lb {likely two filets} wildcaught salmon, skin on preferably
  • ½ cup sea salt
  • a slightly shy ½ cup organic evaporated cane juice {or maple sugar}
Instructions
WET BRINE:
  1. Fill a quart-sized mason jar halfway with slightly warm filtered water. Add salt and cane juice. Mix well until completely dissolved. Top off the jar with cold water.
  2. Lay filets in a rectangular Pyrex {13x9} and pour in brine, ensure filets are completely immersed in the brine solution. If need be, make more brine solution.
  3. Brine, depending on thickness of your filet: 1" thick, 8 to 12 hours or overnight, ½" thick about 4 hours, and super thin filets about 2 to 4 hours. Cover Pyrex dish and place in fridge. Gently stir the brine and rotate fish every so often.
DRY BRINE:
  1. In a bowl, mix together salt and cane juice thoroughly. Place salmon filets in the bottom of a rectangular Pyrex {13x9} dish.
  2. Cover generously with the salt/sugar mixture, ensuring the salmon is covered completely.
  3. Cover the Pyrex dish and place in fridge for about four hours, remove and move the filets around a little. Place the cover back on and return to the fridge overnight.
SMOKING/DRYING:
  1. Regardless off your brining method, the next steps are the same. Remove filets from their respective brine. Rinse gently, but well, in cold water and place on paper towels to pat dry.
  2. Lay filets on smoking rack for about an hour at room temperature to form the pellicle, a slightly tacky skin/layer of proteins that appears on the surface of meat that is said to allow smoke to better take hold the meat while in the smoker.
  3. Smoke according to your manufacturer's directions. I "preheat" my smoker by plugging it in, loading a tray of alder chunks about 15 minutes before I'm ready to drop the smoking rack in.
  4. I'll include total time guidelines, but keep in mind total time includes the drying time {smoker plugged in, but no longer feeding in chips to smoke} and I'll include how many panfuls of chips to load for that time.
  5. If you have thick filets, smoke for a total of 8-12 hours, using 3 pans of chips. ** So you'd load a total of three pans of chips, no more than that, and keep the smoker plugged in until fish filets are done to your liking. If you like your smoked salmon very dry, obviously let them go longer. If you like them still moist, check them closer to the 8-hour mark.
  6. If you have filets up to ½"-thick, smoke for a total of 5-8 hours, using 2 pans of chips. ** So you'd load a total of two pans of chips, no more than that, and keep the smoker plugged in until fish filets are done to your liking. If you like your smoked salmon very dry, obviously let them go longer. If you like them still moist, check them closer to the 5-hour mark.
  7. If you have super thin filets, smoke for a total of 2-4 hours, using 1 or 2 panfuls of chips. ** So you'd load a total of one or two pans of chips, no more than that, and keep the smoker plugged in until fish filets are done to your liking. If you like your smoked salmon very dry, obviously let them go longer. If you like them still moist, check them closer to the 2-hour mark.
TIPS:
  1. Always add your wood chips in the beginning, one after the other.
  2. Each pan of chips should last 20-40 minutes {depending on your smoker model}.
  3. Check your filets periodically to ensure they are done to your liking. Outside temperatures/wind may change smoking/drying time needed.
  4. Once the salmon {you could use this recipe for other fish as well} is done to your taste, cut the thickest portion in half to ensure it is pink all the way through.
 

Smoked SalmonEnjoying this Journey AIP recipes

Smoked Salmon | Enjoying this Journey...
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