Transform summer’s harvest into sumptuous smoked salmon
BY MARK BLY
By now your freezer is full of red salmon filets, and you are either chasing the salmon derby scale or getting ready for the big hunt.
As the summer wanes and the fireweed grow tall there is one more task left to be done: Smoking salmon.
Now, I know everyone says that they have the best smoked salmon recipe ever, but seriously. You take a bite of your buddy’s prized smoked treat and it ends up tasting like an over-salted piece of shoe leather. You feign a smile and take a swig of the frosty beverage in your other hand and try to wash it down. Still the taste lingers. The conversation turns and you are able to slyly pawn what’s left to your neighbor’s dog.
But now you can truly smile knowing that your smoked salmon will be the best at the table. Here at The Trailside Gourmet we like to make things as easy as possible. Not that we are smart, it is just that we like to find the most direct route to a quality product.
The top-secret Bristol Bay recipe was smuggled out of South Naknek in a old Folger’s coffee can aboard a Cessna 206 and to this day has not been revealed to anyone. So here ya go, your very own super secret smoked salmon recipe. This is the good stuff.
That being said please be aware the consuming raw or undercooked meat can cause illness and other unpleasant situations. Always wash you hands and keep you station clean. Store you salmon in the brine below 40 degrees in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
Secret Alaskan Salmon Brine
Be sure to refrigerate and cook all fish thoroughly before consumption.Everyone seems to have his or her secret brine for smoking salmon. Here is mine, and it is tried and true. Be sure and keep it a secret.
8 cups soy sauce
4 pounds brown sugar
5 Tablespoons garlic powder
3 Tablespoons seasoning salt
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
• Mix all ingredients in a large, clean, nonreactive bucket or Rubbermaid tub with lid.
• Cut fish according to your desires and specifications.
• Place fish in marinade and place in refrigerator.
• Brine for minimum of four days.
• Stir daily.
• At the end of the brine, rinse your fish and dry or smoke.
• After allowing the salmon to dry for a bit on some racks, start with the smoker at about 140 degrees until you get the fish “sealed” up.t It should look translucent and be somewhat firm to the touch.
• Now that you have locked in the goodness begin to raise the temperature to end up at 180 degrees. I used a Bradley Smoker and the cooking process takes about four hours. All smokers will vary in temperature, but a long as you don’t burn the fish you are sure to get complements every time.
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