Two years ago, after my husband and I sold our home, we wanted to spend a small budget on ourselves to buy something. For some time we had been eyeballing a big smoker in the backyard and decided to splurge a little and buy the smoker of our dreams. Since then, the smoker has replaced our barbecue in the backyard, and we cook year-round on our smoker, often several times a week.
SMOKING MEALS AT HOME
The basics from smoked chicken to ribs and even brisket were mastered. We stayed away from smoked seafood for a long time, regardless of where we live. Living in the landlocked midwest is difficult to get by with fresh, high-quality seafood. We have found that food delivery services are becoming increasingly common in our region, so we decided to look into food delivery.
You see, we both grew up by the ocean, and since we were kids, we both had eaten seafood. Unless you were to ask both of us what we miss out on living by the coast, I can tell you that we will both say “eating seafood!”
We were pleased to hear that we no longer sawfish as a distant memory. We could place an order for high-quality, wild-caught seafood online and it would still arrive frozen at our doorstep.
Locally, we can buy frozen seafood but it is never clear where the seafood comes from, and how fresh it is. I want to know if I’m getting coho or chinook salmon fillets from the freezer section of my grocery store and not generic pale-colored, thin frozen salmon.
Instead, we can now order beautiful and tasty fresh-caught and flash frozen seafood from Global Seafood that ships fast and get frozen still.
So, we have.
Now that we’ve worked out how to source seafood of high quality, we’ve decided to perfect our home salmon smoking techniques.
HOW TO SMOKE A SALMON FILLET:
Grilled salmon is great in and of itself, but it can take your home-cooked salmon to the next stage to learn how to hot smoke. Hot smoked salmon is a bit sweet, a bit smoky and a lot of delicious.
Smoking needs lower grill temperatures and the use of wood, wood chips, or sawdust that burns slowly while creating plenty of aromatic smoke when cooking your meat. The smoke penetrates your meat or fish while infusing your food with a delicious smoky taste. Smoking salmon is a tasty and special way to integrate this great, balanced food into your diet.
SMOKING SALMON RECIPE:
Since hot smoked salmon is the most common and easiest way to smoke salmon, we’ll share our recycling of hot smoked salmon with you.
The first thing you need to do is decide whether you would like to use a dry brine or a wet brine. Either one has no major benefits, but a wet brine would do better for more tender forms of meat, such as fish. Cold brining helps tougher meat cuts but some backyard smokers adhere to smoked salmon by cold brining. The decision is completely yours. We’ve tried both and think wet brining gives you a slightly better taste. A wet brine requires more room, and more time to prepare.
TO PREPARE FOR A WET BRINE, YOU WILL NEED:
Broad Sauce Pan 1/3 cup Cosher salt 1 Cup Brown sugar (preferably dark brown sugar) 1 Quarter of water 3-5 cups of ice INGREDIENTS FOR SMOKED SALMON: 5lbs of salmon (variety of choice). Rinsed and washed.
There’s something sweet, honey or real maple syrup to baste your salmon when it’s smoky. About 1/2 cup.
1 Prepare your wet brine by mixing water, salt and brown sugar together in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring frequently. Put the salt and sugar into the water just to a simmer.
2 Move the hot brine to a large bowl or glass platter and add the ice to cool the brine down.
3 Add the salmon to the brine until cooled, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Depending on the time frame for smoking you can get away with as little as 6-8 hours in the brine.
4 Extract the salmon after your brine period, and discard your brine.
5 Rinse off your salmon, and dry hold. Place the salmon on a cooling rack and allow for 2-4 hours of air dry in the refrigerator. You want your salmon outside to dry to the point that it has a slightly tacky, shiny look.
6 Get your smoker ready while the salmon is drying. Smoker begins at about 120 degrees.
7 Placing the salmon on a smoker’s rack. If you smoke fillets make sure they don’t hit each other.
8 Smoke the salmon for about two hours, at 120 degrees. After the first two hours test and baste your salmon with honey.
9 Raising the temperature to 140 degrees within the first two hours. Gradually heat up every hour or two before you get the smoker up to 175 degrees. Honey basting forever 1-2 hours. * Raising the temperature on your smoker slowly stops any of the white liquid protein from flowing out of the salmon. * *
10 You’re looking at about 5-6 hours of total smoking time. Your salmon will reach an internal temperature of between 130 and 140 degrees.
11 You will quickly enjoy some of your salmon and let the leftovers cool off.
12 Wrap your leftovers in plastic wrap after they’ve cooled. Your salmon can hold for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and can be frozen for up to one year.
Now your Alaskan is ready to serve to family and friends!